Following is an excerpt from an interview with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mu'alem, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on November 25, 2007:
Walid Mu'alem: We participated in the Madrid peace conference. Following the conference, there were many Syrian-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, which lasted for more than a decade, yet we did not recognize Israel. On the contrary, the state of war between Syria and Israel is still in effect. We will recognize Israel only after it withdraws from all the Arab lands occupied in 1967. Therefore, I say that if an opportunity presents itself, we will take advantage of it, and try to make it work. However, if it is not successful, it is because Israel does not have the will to make peace, and because the U.S. views this international conference as a domestic necessity, and not as a true opportunity to launch peace talks.