Sarkozy, assad praise Turkey's mediation between Syria and Israel
Hosted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the current president of the Arab League, a four-party Dialogue for Stability summit was held yesterday in Damascus. Focusing on peace talks between Syria and Israel as well as the Palestinian issue, stability in Iraq, and Lebanon, the meeting was attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Nikolas Sarkozy of France, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, and Qatari Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who holds the presidency of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Afterwards, at a joint press conference, both Sarkozy and Assad praised Turkey's mediation efforts between Syria and Israel. "Turkey is the only country taking the initiative to start indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel," said Assad, stressing the importance of the trust put in Erdogan and Turkey's mediation for the talks. Praising Turkey's initiative for Middle East peace, he thanked Turkish officials for their efforts. For his part, Sarkozy said that the EU was grateful for Turkey's mediation between Syria and Israel, and added that his country supports Turkey's efforts. Saying that Turkish officials have done well, Sarkozy also said that the indirect talks between the two countries should lead to direct talks. Erdogan also expressed his hopes for the future of the indirect talks. Stating that both Syria and Israel have so far taken constructive stances, Erdogan said, "I hope this will continue and produce a positive outcome." Erdogan yesterday also attended an iftar fast-breaking dinner with Assad and al-Thani.