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    » 11/20/2007, 00.00

    ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    Abbas obtains the release of 441 Palestinians but no joint document from Olmert



    Negotiations for a joint document to present at the Annapolis conference fails, attention now turns to the question of Arab nations and their level of participation. Arab League due to meet in Cairo Friday.

    The release of 441 Palestinians – Mahmoud Abbas president of the PA had sought 2 thousand – and a non committal discourse on freezing the building of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, the promise to go to Annapolis with the intent of furthering the peace process.  That is all that Abbas succeeded in achieving yesterday in his last meeting with Israeli premier Ehud Olmert ahead of the US conference in Annapolis at the end of the month. The principal aim of negotiations has been totally excluded, arrival at a common document.

    The question now under consideration has become the participation of Arab Nations and their level of involvement.  With that in mind Olmert may meet with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to reassure him of Israel’s intent to go to the conference open to concessions.  For their part Arab League Foreign ministers – Palestinians included – are set to meet in Cairo Friday to deliberate on a common stance regarding requests put forward, while each individual state will independently decide whether to participate.

    Yesterday, sources from the US state Department referred that the United States will send invitations to some Nations, which should include Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.  While the presence of the Egyptian Foreign Minister and a representative from Amman seem certain, it is not the case it appears for Damascus or Riyadh.  Syria has made it known that it will attend the conference only if the issue of the Golan Heights is addressed – a strategic zone conquered by Israel in the 1967 war and later annexed – while Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said it will participate in the Annapolis summit only if crucial areas are on the agenda beginning with the creation of a Palestinian State.  A question the Saudis need to address themselves is the absence of diplomatic relations with the Jewish State.

    So far there is neither great hope or expectation. Underscoring this atmosphere is yesterdays’ declarations by the Palestinian Information Minister Riad El Malki, who announced that the PA intends asking Israel to re-open Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, according to first phase of the old Road Map.

     

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    See also

    19/04/2007 ISRAEL – ARAB LEAGUE
    Israeli delegation to travel to Jordan to discuss Arab League peace plan
    Arab League tasks Jordan and Egypt to convince Jewish State to accept its plan. It will ask the UN, US, EU and Russia to back its initiative. Israel confirms its interest in the plan, but rejects any diktat.

    09/07/2007 ISRAEL – ARAB LEAGUE
    Arab League delegation visits Israel for the first time
    The meeting, scheduled for Thursday, will give Arabs a chance to find out Israel’s attitudes towards the peace plan which includes recognition by the 22-member League of the Jewish state in exchange for a return to the pre-1967 border, the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and a “just solution” the Palestinian refugee question.

    27/03/2007 SAUDI ARABIA – ARAB LEAGUE
    Some positive moves from Riyadh summit for Israel, not for Lebanon
    The Arab League summit opens tomorrow as acceptance for Saudi peace plan increases. UN secretary general is expected. Lebanon will be represented by two delegations, a remarkable sign of the country’s division. Iraq might announce new steps on the path of national reconciliation.

    02/08/2007 MIDDLE EAST – UNITED STATES
    Abbas meeting last for Rice in her Mideast tour to launch US peace initiative
    US secretary of state offers PNA president US$ 80 million in aid to reform Palestinian security services, but also asks him to deepen dialogue with Israel. She discusses Iran containment and Iraq security with Egypt and Gulf states.

    21/11/2007 MIDDLE EAST
    Peace conference on Middle East 27 November in Annapolis
    The date fixed an invitations sent to 49 national and institutional representatives, It is the first peace summit after 7 years of stalemate. Bush will actively participate. The response of Arab nations is awaited. Vatican also among invitees.



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