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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Christopher Upbeat

DAMASCUS () -- Secretary of State Warren Christopher voiced hope Tuesday that Israel and Syria may finally be moving in the direction of a peace treaty.

After meeting for nearly four hours with President Hafez Assad, he said he was encouraged by the two sides' sincere interest in concluding a wide-ranging accord. "There is hope that it can be achieved,'' Christopher said.

However, he balanced his optimistic assessment to say gaps remained between the two sides, and a senior U.S. official said none of the outstanding issues had been settled.

Christopher, who had flown here Tuesday from Israel, declined to provide details of his negotiating position. The trip was Christopher's fifth mission of shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East since May.