Agreement for High-level Meeting Said to Review Hopes In Search for Just,

Lasting and Comprehensive Peace in Middle East

This is the text of a statement today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General warmly welcomes the agreement between Israel and Syria to resume their negotiations at a high-level meeting next week in Washington. He extends his congratulations to President Assad and Prime Minister Barak, as well as to President Clinton and Secretary Albright, on the success of their mediation efforts.

This important agreement raises renewed hopes in the difficult search for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The Secretary-General also expects that it will be followed soon by the resumption of talks between Israel and Lebanon and further progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track.