Negotiators for Syria and Israel are meeting today at a secluded 1,100-acre estate about 50 miles from Washington for talks that both sides hope will lay the groundwork for a peace agreement. The talks are being brokered by the United States. Beirut bureau chief Lara Marlowe reports: "The principal barrier is clearly the future of the Golan Heights. Israel has refused to give it up entirely, and Syrian President Hafez Assad hasn't changed his position one iota. He wants control over the entire Golan Heights region. That means no Israeli presence whatsoever. Assad is very shrewd, and he knows that his place in history is tied to the Golan. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres has a reputation as more conciliatory than his predecessor Rabin, and he may give Assad what he wants. But unless Syria gets total control over the Golan Heights, there will be no deal." About 13,000 Israelis in 33 settlements live on the Golan Heights. The Golan controls water flowing to the Sea of Galilee, which provides Israel with 30 percent of its drinking water.