10/09 Haaretz: PM tells Turkish FM that Golan will not be on agenda at summit

PM tells Turkish FM that Golan will not be on agenda at summit
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

The fate of the Golan Heights will not be raised at the Annapolis peace summit, Prime Minister Olmert said Monday during a meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, Ali Babacan.

Olmert told the visiting foreign minister that only Palestinian issues will be on the agenda at the peace summit next month.

When Babacan said Turkey believes that the summit should include Israeli-Syrian negotiations as well, Olmert said: "I am happy with Syria's invitation to the summit, but only if it wants to be involved in our negotiations with the Palestinians. It would be wrong to include other issues."

Olmert and Babacan also discussed Syrian-Iranian relations and Syria's involvement in Lebanon. "Syria is ready for dialogue and should not be isolated," the Turkish minister told Olmert. "There must be a way to negotiate with them. The only reason why Syria is allied with Iran is the international boycott that had been imposed on it. The two countries have nothing else in common," he continued.

Olmert did not accept Babacan's position and said that dialogue with Syria can only take place when it stops supporting terror. He acerbically asked the foreign minister, "If Syria's isolation is lifted, will it stop assassinating Lebanese members of parliament?"

Babacan replied that there is no evidence that Syria is behind the assassinations.

Another point of divergence in the meeting was the politicians' different approach to Hamas. The Turkish minister told Olmert that his country believes national unity should be maintained in the Palestinian Authority and that a split between Gaza and the West Bank, as well as between the different Palestinian factions, should be avoided.

Olmert replied that "national unity has universal importance, but one does not negotiate with terror organizations." Olmert also said that even Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is reluctant to negotiate with Hamas.

"Ask Abbas," Olmert said, "even he says Hamas is an enemy that has killed more Fatah men than Israel. We deem negotiation with Hamas unacceptable. We will negotiate with Hamas only when it accepts the conditions outlined by the international community, recognizes Israel and gives up terror."

Some of Olmert and Babacan's meeting took place behind closed doors, and according to a Turkish source the foreign minister may have mentioned the Israel Air Force's violation of Turkish airspace en route to the attack in Syria last month.

Babacan also asked Olmert to exert his leverage in the U.S. and especially in Congress to foil a bill to label the Armenian massacre during the First World War a genocide.

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArtVty.jhtml?sw=Armenian&itemNo=910979