The World: Assad: Other Routes to Peace

Interviewing President Hafez Assad in Damascus last week, TIME Beirut Bureau Chief Karsten Prager and Correspondent William Marmon asked the question on everyone's mind — would Syria renew the Golan Heights mandate? "No decision, no decision," answered a grinning Assad in English. Prager and Marmon found Assad visibly delighted by the suspense he had created over the situation. Otherwise, though, the Syrian President was thoughtful and straightforward as he sketched his views on the prospects for a Middle East peace settlement. Excerpts from the 2½-hour conversation:

THE TWO SCENARIOS: There are two ways...

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