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Israel confirms Golan Heights talks with Syria

The two countries, after an eight-year hiatus, are talking about an Israeli withdrawal in exchange for peace.

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After an eight-year hiatus, Israel and Syria have resumed negotiations about an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights in return for a normalization of ties with Syria.

After weeks of official quiet amid Syrian claims that Turkey was serving as a go between for the sides, a surprise statement from the office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert confirmed a decision to conduct indirect peace talks in a "serious and continuous way, in order to achieve the goal of comprehensive peace."

In response to the Israeli statement, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem said that Israel had already agreed to a full return of the entirety of the territory it captured during the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, the daily Haaretz reported. That includes not only the Golan's strategic plateau, but also the descending slopes that reach to the eastern shore of Israel's natural water reservoir, the Sea of Galilee.

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