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Israel, Syria Agree to Continue Peace Talks in August


Turkish officials say Syria and Israel have completed a fourth round of indirect peace talks in Istanbul with an agreement to hold further negotiations next month.

Officials say the latest round of Turkish-mediated talks, which ended Wednesday, were constructive and positive. But they say Israeli and Syrian delegates have not yet agreed to begin face-to-face negotiations.

The two countries first began communicating through Turkish mediators in May. The talks center on the fate of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 war.

Syria demands that Israel withdraw fully from the Golan.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on Syria Tuesday to choose between peace and isolation.

Mr. Olmert said Syria must eventually decide between partnering with Iran in what he called the "axis of evil" and international isolation - or peace, economic prosperity and a place in the family of nations.

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

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