Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated on Tuesday that no government officials were involved in secret negotiations with Syria. The statements of Olmert came as he was responding to a report published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in which it stated that “understandings on a peace agreement between Israel and Syria were formulated in a series of secret meetings in Europe between September 2004 and July 2006”.Olmert said that no government officials were involved in this matter, and that the initiative was private “by an individual who spoke on behalf of himself”, Haaretz reported.
Syria also denied the report and described reports of talks as “completely false”.
Mitri Eisin, Olmert’s spokesperson said that the government did not authorize anybody to hold talks with Syria and that the only time the government heard of these talks was through the Haaretz report.
A senior cabinet minister described the report as a “bluff” and said that there are no contacts between Israel and Syria.
The minister added that this report is not serious and that “it is possible that there were talks between academics, but no talks on higher levels were conducted.
The Israeli Radio quoted the minister, who remained unidentified, saying that this report is not serious.
The Radio also quoted other unnamed officials dismissing the report, Haaretz added.
Several Israeli officials stated that Syria is “trying to topple the Lebanese government, and is streaming terror to Iraq”, and that the country is “fostering Khalid Mashal, Hamas political bureau chief, and attempts to undermine any peace agreement in the region”.