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Syria would be welcome at peace talks, says Olmert

Did the United States promise Syria something in exchange for its possible participation in the Middle East talks? Israel's Ehud Olmert does not think so.

Image Credit:Reuters
The coming Middle East Peace conference in Annapolis has sparked protests among Palestinians in Gaza.
Gulf News

Israel: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday he would welcome the participation of Syria at Middle East talks in the United States next week.

"We have said constantly that we are interested in Syria participating," Olmert said, referring to the summit on Israeli-Palestinian peace in Annapolis, Maryland on Tuesday.

Olmert said Israel would "view positively" Syria's participation in the conference. Syria has so far not given a definite answer as to whether it will attend the one-day summit.

Asked if he believed the United States had promised Syria something in exchange for its possible participation, Olmert replied: "I don't think so."

Syria said it will attend the conference if the return of the Golan Heights—captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war—is in the agenda.

Arab League ministers agreed in Cairo on Friday to attend the conference in hopes of promoting the creation of a Palestinian state and pushing for Israel to return the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a regional peace process.

"I hope Annapolis will lead to the launching of serious negotiations on all the core issues that will result in a solution of two states for two peoples," Olmert said.