Dichter: Syria Is Israel's Only Neighbor That Thwarts Smuggling

Barak: Washington, Jerusalem agree Syrian participation in Annapolis conference would be 'positive.'

Syria is the only country among Israel's neighbors that keeps a quiet border and meets its obligations to prevent smuggling from its side, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya Tuesday.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who also spoke, said Washington and Jerusalem agree Syrian participation in the peace conference in Annapolis would be "positive."

The conference on combating global terror was held at the center's International Institute for Counter Terrorism Tuesday.

Dichter added, "There were two countries responsible for Hamas' takeover in the Gaza Strip last summer, and those are the Palestinian Authority and Egypt." Dichter said Egypt could have put an end to Hamas' amassing of weapons "at any given point in time."

According to Dichter, "genuine negotiations with the Palestinians depend on the formation of a functioning law enforcement system" in the Palestinian Authority."

Barak said the U.S. and Israel "see eye to eye" on the subject of Syrian participation in the summit later this month. "However, the Syrians must recognize that the main issue at Annapolis is the Palestinain issue," Barak said.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, speaking on the Iranian issue, said the Islamic republic had not been handed stricter sanctions over its alleged nuclear weapons program because "each country has its own agenda and interest."

Livni, who attended the event with Russia's former minister of internal affairs, Anatoliy Kulikov, said "each country must pick a side. It is not acceptable for countries to say one thing in public, and then another when no one is looking."

Infrastructures Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, calling for more action against Iran, said that when it came to Tehran, "too late is actually very soon."