Syria said today that it “has the will” to make peace with Israel within the framework of United Nations resolutions calling for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory, stressing that the return to it of the Golan Heights is non-negotiable.
“Syria wants ? just and comprehensive peace achieved through the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and the Arab Peace Initiative,” Foreign Minister Walid AI-Moualem told the General Assembly. “Our solemn position has been known for years. We have the will to make peace and we are the masters of our decision, which is unwavering. The
Occupied Syrian Golan is not negotiable nor is it ? bargaining chip.
“Recognition of the fact that it must be returned fully is the basis on which peace making arrangements should be made,” he said, adding that Syria is ready to resume Turkish-mediated peace negotiations from the point where they stopped with the previous Israeli Government in 2008 if it finds in Israel ? partner committed to the terms of reference and with the necessary political will.
Turning to the Israeli-Palestinian talks, he said that there is much talk about peace in Israel “yet the drums of war continue to sound,” with land appropriation for settlement building going on unabated.
“Peace negotiations, we are told, are under way on the basis of the two-state solution but relentless settlement activities are about to make this two-state solution a dead letter that stands no chance of survival,” he said.
“Israel is feverishly pursuing its Judaization plans for Jerusalem which it has long sought to depopulate of its Palestinian inhabitants. Israeli actions threaten the safety of Jerusalem’s holy sites.
“Through settlement activities, actions and declarations relevant to Jerusalem, Israel pursues ? fait accompli policy on the basis of which it imposes its will regardless of whether negotiations continue or stall. Peace can be genuine only if there is ? genuine will to make peace. This is the litmus test. Political manoeuvres during negotiations under the umbrella of ‘the desire for peace’ strain and exacerbate the situation and may make it more volatile.”
Mr. Moualem said Israel must comply with international decisions calling on it to adhere to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and submit its nuclear installations to the international safeguards regime, declaring this “of extreme significance for the security and stability of the region.”
On Iraq, he said the war-torn country’s security is contingent upon its national unity based primarily on its Arab-Islamic identity, and on the participation of all the stripes of the Iraqi people in building their present and future.
Turning to Sudan, where a referendum on possible independence for the south is scheduled for 9 January, he said Syria follows developments there “because we are dedicated to Sudan's unity, sovereignty, security and stability.”