Olmert. 'No preconditions'
Photo: Reuters

Olmert ready to talk peace with Arab world

Prime minister says he is willing to meet with leaders of 22 Arab states anywhere and without preconditions

PETRA - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed willingness on Tuesday to meet the leaders of the 22 Arab states to discuss the prospects of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.


Olmert made the comments during a meeting with Nobel Prize for Peace Laureate Elie Weisel in Petra, Jordan, where King Abdullah held a two-day conference for Nobel Prize winners.


"I invite the 22 leaders of the Arab states who are interested in making peace with Israel to gather at any location for talks," Olmert told journalists when asked about a Saudi land-for-peace initiative.


"If they want to invite me I am ready to meet them anywhere," he continued.


Kofi Annan, King Abdullah and Elie Weisel in Petra (Photo: Reuters)


The Arab world renewed a Saudi peace initiative to Israel, offering the Jewish state full relations with Arab states in return for a withdrawal from land captured in the 1967 Mideast war and a Palestinian state.


"We said yes to every serious offer to sit and talk. We didn't erect preconditions, and we do not see it right that they erect preconditions," he said.


"The Arab peace initiative is an interesting idea. We are ready to sit and listen to it. I believe we will not accept all they say, and they will not accept all we say," Olmert continued, adding he was willing to meet in any country the Arab countries choose.


Olmert was expected to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the heels of the conference in Petra but Abbas backed out Monday.


The two leaders are expected to meet in Aqaba at an undeclared date. A meeting between Vice Premier Shimon Peres and King Abdullah was postponed to Sunday.


Sources involved in the details of the meetings told Ynet that there was no tension between Israel and Jordan. The relations between the countries are intact and the leaders talk on the phone every two to three weeks, the sources said.


פרסום ראשון: 05.15.07, 13:02
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