BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 P.M.) – Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad sent his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama a secret letter about the resumption of peace talks on the occupied Golan Heights, John Kerry said, as reported by the Haaretz.
According to the Haaretz article, Obama then conveyed the secret letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The newspaper referred to Kerry’s recently published book titled Every Day is Extra, in which he, in particular, explained that “Assad asked me what it would take to enter into serious peace negotiations, in the hope of securing the return of the Golan Heights, which Syria had lost to Israel in 1967.”
“I told him that if he were serious, he should make a private proposal. He asked what it would look like. I shared my thoughts. He instructed his top aide to draft a letter from Assad to President Obama,” Kerry wrote.
He noted that in the letter, Assad specifically called on Obama to support renewed peace talks with Israel, signaling “Syria’s willingness to take a number of steps in exchange for the return of the Golan from Israel.”
Shortly after the meeting with Assad, Kerry visited Israel and shared the information with Netanyahu, who Kerry said “was surprised that Assad was willing to go that far, significantly further than he’d been willing to go [previously].”
Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since the Six Days War in June of 1967.