Solana: There Is No Potential for War Between Israel and Syria

EU foreign policy chief tells Haaretz expectations from international Mideast summit must be realistic.

In an interview Sunday night with Haaretz, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he saw no reason for any forthcoming military conflict between Israel and Syria.

After arriving in Israel last night, he met separately with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Solana said that Israel took several measures recently aimed at reassuring Damascus, noting that the decision by the Israel Defense Forces to move the location of a major military exercise from the Golan Heights to the Negev was a sign that Israel does not want Syria to misinterpret its actions.

The main item on Solana's current agenda is preparing for the Mideast summit scheduled for November in Washington. Solana cautioned that the parties must be realistic about their expectations but said many things are moving forward. He said Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayad seem to understand the position they are in as well as the opportunity that has been created and are taking constructive action. According to Solana, Olmert is also very open to progress.

Solana noted the exact dates of the summit have not yet been set, and that while the second half of November seems promising, the precise timing depends on the amount of work accomplished before the meeting itself.

The veteran diplomat gave a cautious answer when asked whether Syria should be invited to the Washington parley, saying that as many Arab states as possible should take part but that they must be countries which will contribute to a solution.