FM Shalom: Syria’s peaceful intentions cannot be measured by reported statements against a background of international pressure, but rather by Syrian actions on the ground.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Following the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting today (7 September 2004) Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom addressed reporters and commented on recent Syrian statements regarding renewing peace negotiations:

Syria’s peaceful intentions cannot be measured by reported statements against a background of international pressure, but rather by Syrian actions on the ground.

The UN Security Council called last week on Syria to end its occupation of Lebanon and to dismantle the terrorist organizations. Yet these hostile and destabilizing policies continue.

Syria continues actively to support Palestinian terrorism against Israeli civilians. Syria provides ideological and technical support to Hamas terrorists operating in Gaza, while also persisting in its support of Hizbullah. If Syria genuinely seeks peace, it must end this support for terror.

As I have said in the past, Israel is in favor of negotiations without preconditions. We seek peace, but we will not negotiate by day while terror continues unchecked at night.