Report: Hof Visited Syria over Syrian-Israeli Peace


Frederick Hof, the assistant of U.S. Special Envoy for the Middle East George Mitchell, visited Damascus lately and discussed with Syrian officials the Syrian-Israeli peace track, An-Nahar reported Wednesday.

Israel's defense minister said Monday that his country would be ready to talk peace with Syria if Damascus was serious about doing so — a sharp departure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's go-slow approach to peacemaking while the Middle East is in turmoil.

Ehud Barak said Israel must see the changes in the Arab world as an opportunity to move peacemaking forward — including possible talks with Syria.

Barak mentioned a newspaper interview last month in which Syrian President Bashar Assad said the two sides were close to agreement in an agenda for direct talks.