Al-Atari described an invitation by Israeli President Moshe Katsav to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to visit Jerusalem as a "propaganda invitation" and "media manoeuvre".

"There is no hope under this Zionist administration for achieving just and comprehensive peace," al-Atari told reporters in Damascus on Wednesday.

Katsav offered Syria peace negotiations in "secret or public" without pre-conditions on Tuesday. 

Speaking on Aljazeera television, the Israeli president said they would be willing to change the venue of possible talks.

Damascus wants to resume talks from where they broke off at Shepherdstown in 2000.

Those negotiations ended without an agreement on the future of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Israel's biggest reservoir.

Syria demands a complete withdrawal from the Golan, which Israel occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israel annexed the strategic plateau in 1981, drawing international criticism. Sharon opposes any withdrawal from the Golan.