'We Want Our Land Back': Syria's Foreign Minister on the Price for Peace with Israel
Although president Clinton has made it his mission to restart peace talks between Syria and Israel, Syria's foreign minister, Farouk al-Shara, talked tough in an interview last week with NEWSWEEK's Lally Weymouth.
WEYMOUTH: How was your meeting with President Clinton?
AL-SHARA: I appreciate the strong commitment expressed by the president to help the parties find a way to resume peace negotiations.
Will the peace process speed up under Ehud Barak?
It was understood he would resume the peace talks with Syria from the point at which they were stopped in 1996, and endorse "the deposit" left with the Americans by [Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin.
What do you mean by "the deposit"?
During Rabin's term, we achieved an agreement for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan to the June 4, 1967, line. We also concluded a document on the principles of security arrangements. This is the deposit with which the Americans were entrusted.
But the deposit also included full peace and normalization between the two countries. What happened to the other aspects of the deal?
We are ready to talk about peaceful, normal relations. [But] Rabin knew that without the willingness of Israel to withdraw to the June 4, 1967, line, there would be no peace. When [Secretary of State Warren] Christopher told President Assad that Rabin had accepted withdrawal to the June 4, 1967, line, Assad asked, "Does this mean the return of the whole territory under the control of Syria on June 4, '67? …