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WASHINGTON _ President Clinton welcomed leaders of Israel and Syria to the White House on Wednesday in a historic all-out push for peace between the bitter and sometimes warring adversaries.
``We have never had such an extraordinary opportunity,'' Clinton said, trying to set an upbeat tone for two days of renewed peace talks.
Still, the negotiations began on a discordant note when Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa publicly chastised Israel for occupying the Golan Heights, which it seized in the 1967 war.
With Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at his side in the Rose Garden, al-Sharaa emphasized that ``peace for Syria means the return of all its occupied land.''
``Those who reject ... (the) return ... (of) the occupied territories to their original owners in the framework of international legitimacy send a message ... to the Arabs that the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is a conflict of existence in which bloodshed can never stop,'' al-Sharaa said, reading a prepared statement.
Barak, in brief …