Israeli online daily Haaretz, reported on Monday night that Switzerland said that it served as a mediator in informal talks between Israeli and Syrian representatives. The statements were made by the Swiss Foreign Minister and Federal Councilor Micheline Calmy-Ray.



Calmy added that the mediator between Israel and Syria is currently in Damascus.

Haaretz reported in recent days that the senior European official who was involved in secret talks between Israel and Syria held a long meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's chief of staff, Yoram Turbowicz, during the second Lebanon war.  


Olmert's office confirmed the meeting on Sunday night, but did not report that any understandings were reached.


The office added that the meeting was between the former Israeli Foreign Ministry director general Alon Liel and the Syrian representative.


The meeting was preceded by several visits conducted by the European official to Syria and his repeated meetings with the Syrian-American businessman, Ibrahim Suleiman.


Suleiman's meeting, Haaretz said, took place 10 days after the war between Israel and the Lebanon- based Hizbollah party began.


Last Tuesday, Haaretz quoted Geoffrey Aaronson, an American involved in the meetings, saying that “under an American-sponsored agreement with Israel, Syria would make sure that the Lebanon-based Hizbollah party becomes a purely political party and that Khalid Mashal of Hamas left Damascus”.


Haaretz report added that Syria would help reach a settlement to the situation in Iraq, and help Israel achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians.


Former Israeli Foreign Ministry director general Alon Liel, and Suleiman drafted understandings for a peace agreement between Syria and Israel.


The understandings include an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights that were captured in 1967; the construction of a joint Israeli-Syrian park along Lake Kinneret to act as a buffer zone; Israeli control over the use of the Jordan River headwaters and the Kinneret; and demilitarized areas on both sides of the border, with the one on the Syrian side being four times larger than the Israeli one, the Haaretz report said.


Over the weekend, Israeli Ynetnews published an interview with Suleiman who said that the European official offered a conference building measure that was prepared by him along with European and Syrian officials.


One week after his meeting with Turbowicz, Suleiman said that the the European mediator received an email saying that Olmert was not interested in the initiative.