Assad in Paris: Israel Is Not a Partner for Peace

Syrian president meets with French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris; calls referendum bill recently passed by the Knesset 'illogical and immoral.'

Israel is not a partner for peace, Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Thursday after a meeting in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Assad criticized the Israeli Knesset's recent passage of a law that would require a referendum to be held before any decision to withdraw from sovereign Israeli territory.

Assad Sarkozy Dec. 9, 2010 (AP)
AP Photo / Remy de la Mauviniere

In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, an area it had captured from Syria in the Six Day War in 1967. Syria has demanded the return of the Golan Heights as part of any peace agreement with Israel.

Assad called the referendum law "illogical and immoral."

Assad and Sarkozy spoke about the situation in Lebanon ahead of the upcoming release of the conclusions of the UN tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. The tribunal is expected to indict several members of Hezbollah for the killing.

Assad said that no one in Lebanon is interested in a civil conflict. Assad refused to answer further questions on the internal situation in Lebanon as well as Syria's involvement in that country.