Israeli and Syrian Officials Commemorate 15th Anniversary of Historic Summit in Spain

MADRID - Two senior officials of the Syrian government and an Israeli delegation comprising MKs and former ministers arrived in Madrid yesterday to participate in the 15-year commemoration of the historic summit which took place in 1991.

The Israeli and Syrian representatives participated in a dinner inaugurating the gathering. The Syrian representatives included the legal counselor to the president and Foreign Ministry, Riad Daudi, and the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Bushra Kanafani.

The participation of the two Syrian officials was made possible following an invitation of Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, Miguel Moratinos, and his Swedish, Norwegian and Danish counterparts, under whose aegis the event is taking place.

The Syrian decision to participate in the gathering received a great deal of attention in the Arab media and has been interpreted as the first step in efforts to resume the peace talks with Israel.

During the conference, a special session will be held on the Israeli-Syrian track, with the participation of representatives of all the delegations.

The Israeli delegation includes MK Israel Hasson (Yisrael Beiteinu), former Likud ministers Dan Meridor and Roni Milo, as well as former Labor ministers Shlomo Ben-Ami, Moshe Shahal and Ophir Pines-Paz.

Even though the United States boycotts Syria, retired senior American diplomats are participating in the gathering, including Dan Kurtzer and Samuel Lewis, who were ambassadors to Israel.

The European Union is represented by Javier Solana and the former Spanish prime minister, Felipe Gonzalez, who hosted the summit in 1991, will also be in attendance.