Syria tells UN: Israel is burying nuclear waste in Golan Heights
Syria says Israel violating rights of Golan Druze; French, Syrian FMs meet to prepare Assad-Sarkozy talks.
Syria has complained to the United Nations about a series of alleged Israeli wrongdoings in the Golan Heights, including burying nuclear waste and discriminating against the region's Druze residents.
The complaint was made in a report Syria handed to a UN fact-finding committee comprised of Senegal, Sri Lanka and Malaysia's ambassadors.
The report came after Syria held a third round of indirect negotiations with Israel in Turkey this week. A Turkish government source said Thursday that both sides had agreed to hold a fourth round of indirect negotiations in Turkey in late July.
Syria listed in the report a number of alleged Israeli violations of the Golan's Druze inhabitants' human rights.
In addition the nuclear claim, Damascus charged that Israel confiscates the Israeli ID cards of Druze students who return from studies in Syria, and that residents of the Golan continue to serve prison terms in Israeli jails, some of whom for dozens of years.
Syria also protested the expansion in the strategic plateau of Israeli communities, which it termed settlements, as well as lamenting the fact that Golan residents continue to be injured by mines which have been planted in the region.
On the issue of the prisoners, Haaretz has learned from Golan residents that the Israel Prison Service parole board is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss the early release of Sitan Al-Wali, who suffers from a serious illness.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, and the strategic territory remains the primary bone of contention between the two sides.
Some 20,000 Druze live alongside a similar number Israelis in the Golan, many of whom continue to maintain at least nominal loyalty to Syria.
Druze Golan residents told Haaretz on Saturday that the Syrian charge of nuclear waste being dumped in the region in fact relates to old claims, and that they themselves have no knowledge about any such activity.
"We don't know about this, because this is not about activity within our communities. Furthermore, Jews who live here would also be hurt by this," the residents said.
French, Syrian FMs meet to prepare Assad-Sarkozy talks
The foreign ministers of France and Syria have met in Paris to prepare July 12 talks between Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Bashar Assad.
Sarkozy's office announced the talks earlier this week in a major sign of change in frosty French-Syrian relations.
The two presidents are to meet in Paris on the eve of a summit of dozens of leaders of European and Mediterranean countries.
There have been clear hopes in Paris that the event could lead to separate, direct talks between the leaders of Syria and Israel.
The French Foreign Ministry said Saturday that Bernard Kouchner and his counterpart, Walid al-Mouallem, used their working dinner Friday to discuss the Middle East peace process - but made no mention of a Syrian-Israeli encounter.
On Friday, Syria's foreign minister said it was premature to talk of direct peace negotiations with Israel, a day after Israel had called for quickly starting face-to-face discussions.