German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said Wednesday that Syria is ready to recognize Israel's right to exist as part of a postwar order in the Middle East.
Syria is aware that the right of self-determination for Palestinians would mean "Israel's right to exist is recognized and secured," Genscher told reporters after more than two hours of talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa.The Syrians said the territorial integrity of Iraq must be a firm part of the Middle East after the Persian Gulf War, Genscher said.
He said the Syrians held a "constructive view" on the future Middle East peace order. He said Syria wants to play a major role in the process, and also expected Germany to make a contribution.
There has been widespread speculation Syria would extract some sort of guarantees for participation in the coalition against Iraq. It has long sought return of the Golan Heights, territory seized by Israel in 1967.
Genscher and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Yang Fuchang arrived in Damascus on Wednesday for talks with Syrian officials.
Upon his arrival, Genscher said that by taking part in the coalition battling to drive Iraq from Kuwait, Syria has shown it is conducting a responsible policy. Syria has 19,000 troops in Saudi Arabia as part of the allied coalition.
According to German diplomats, Genscher promised millions of dollars' worth of aid in goods and projects to help Syria deal with the losses suffered as a result of the war.