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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Israel not seeking war with Syria
Israeli forces on exercises in the Golan in march
Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since 1967
Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has said his country does not want war with Syria, and has communicated this to Damascus through diplomatic channels.

He also repeated his warning that a "miscalculation" could spark hostilities between the two.

This follows a meeting of Israel's security cabinet to discuss renewing talks with Syria.

Israel and Syria are officially at war, and Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since 1967.

Official talks last took place between the two states in December 1999 to January 2000.

Syria says that in the mid-1990s the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin agreed to a total pullback from the Golan Heights.

The Israelis say this was only a theoretical acceptance and that it depended on the full normalisation of relations, a condition that Syria, it claims, did not accept.

Deterioration

A statement issued by Mr Olmert's office quoted the prime minister as saying Israel does not seek a war with Syria, and has relayed this message to Damascus through third-party diplomatic channels.

Detailed Golan map

"We must avoid miscalculations that are liable to lead to a security deterioration," he added.

On Tuesday, the Israeli military staged exercises in the Golan Heights.

Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz said on Wednesday that the exercises did "not reflect aggressive intentions against Syria".

Some Israeli intelligence officials have been warning in recent weeks that Damascus was preparing for a conflict.

Meanwhile, a meeting between Mr Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been postponed indefinitely.

An aide to Mr Abbas, Nabil Amr, said problems had emerged in preparing the summit. Discussions are underway for a meeting in the future, he said.




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