Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday that indirect peace negotiations with Syria, a process that began more than a year ago, will be conducted in secrecy and seriously. "We have no intention to conduct these negotiations through the media or through daily statements or by inventing slogans," Olmert said before the weekly cabinet meeting.
"We are entering negotiations with seriousness. There has been and there will be very detailed and meticulous preparation that will match our expectations from the negotiations to the reality as it is today, and not as it was 10 or two years ago."
The Syrians want the return of all of the Golan Heights which Israel occupied in 1967.
On his part, former Israeli army chief Dan Halutz said on Sunday that Israel can manage without the strategic plateau. "We can manage without (the Golan) as we did in the past," Halutz said on military radio. "In exchange for a real peace we must be ready to pay a real price — if not it’s all a waste to time.
"When we launch discussions with Syria, everyone knows what is on the table and we must explore all possibilities to make peace with our enemies," he said.