Syria's Assad says Israel is 'obstacle' to peace

Updated on May 23, 2009 03:24 PM IST

Syrian President Bashar Assad says Israel poses the "greatest obstacle" to Mideast peace and warns that the failure of negotiations would give the right to resist the occupation.

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AP | By, Damascus

Syrian President Bashar Assad says Israel poses the "greatest obstacle" to Mideast peace and warns that the failure of negotiations would give the right to resist the occupation.

The Syrian leader said in Saturday's speech to the organization of Islamic countries that peace must include regaining Arab territories held by Israel.

Israel and Syria conducted indirect peace negotiations through Turkish mediators last year, but they were suspended in December with Israel's Gaza war.

Assad said recently he didn't think Israel's hard-line government was a good peace partner.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would not return the occupied Golan Heights, but was open to restarting peace talks.

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