JERUSALEM — An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Syria's ambassador to Washington in the first direct contact between the two countries since Netanyahu was elected in May, Israel's army radio said Saturday.
Netanyahu political advisor Dore Gold held talks with Ambassador Walid Moualem in Washington on Friday before a State Department meeting of representatives from Israel, Syria, Lebanon, France and the United States.
"He relayed a message from Netanyahu that Israel is interested in continuing the negotiations with Damascus," the radio's political reporter said from Washington.
Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment.
Israel and Syria have held peace talks intermittently since 1991 without reaching any deals. Netanyahu's uncompromising stance on the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War, was expected to make negotiations even more difficult.
Syria wants return of all of the heights in exchange for peace.