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Israel, Syria Set to Resume Indirect Talks

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has sent two envoys to Turkey for more indirect talks with Syria.

Israel and Syria first began communicating through Turkish mediators in May, and officials expect the fourth round of talks to begin Tuesday.

While officials say envoys from the two long-time enemies have yet to meet face-to-face, they say that could change in the near future.

Syria's ambassador to the United States, Imad Mustafa, said Monday it is time to end the state of war with Israel, and that a peace deal with Israel, Syria and Lebanon is possible.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials have told an Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz, that Syria has taken "tangible" steps to show it is serious about making peace.

The talks center on the fate of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war.

Syria demands that Israel withdraw fully from the Golan. Israeli leaders have not said if they will agree to such a move, but have spoken of the need to make tough concessions.

The United States has classified Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism and accuses Syria of destabilizing both Iraq and Lebanon.

The U.S. State Department canceled plans to meet with a Syrian delegation last week because of scheduling concerns.

The Syrian delegation was in the U.S. for a meeting sponsored by a non-governmental group that promotes conflict resolution.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.