Report: French Envoy to Meet With Assad on Renewal of Israel-Syria Peace Talks

France's Middle East envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran to visit Damascus to assess Syria's position on restarting peace talks with Israel, Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir reports.

French Middle East envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran will visit Damascus in the coming days to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Moallem to discuss the possibility of peace talks between Syria and Israel, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir reported on Friday.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the report, Cousseran's primary mission will be to determine Syria's position on renewing negotiations with Israel. In addition, the envoy is planning to assess how feasible it would be to encourage the United States to pressure Israel into entering talks.

In the past, Syria has said it would only continue indirect talks with Israel, mediated by Turkey, from the point where they left off before Israel, under the premiership of Ehud Olmert, launched a three-week offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in December 2008.

The author of the A-Safir report voiced skepticism regarding the U.S.'s eagerness to act on the Israel-Syria track, since most of the U.S. efforts are currently focused on the Israel-Palestinian peace talks.

Arab media outlets in recent days have reported that French and European diplomats are disappointed that the U.S. government pushed them aside in the renewal of the Israel-Palestinian peace talks even though the EU is thought of as the largest contributor and supporter of the Palestinian Authority.