Olmert - talks with Syria?
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Secretary Rice
Photo: AFP
'Syria welcome to attend peace summit'
Officials in Jerusalem say Syria would be welcome at upcoming peace summit in Maryland if Assad recognizes Israel, renounces terror

Despite the tensions along Israel's northeastern border, senior State officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday that Syria too would be welcomed at the US-led international peace conference scheduled for mid-

November in Maryland.


"Any Arab nation that is willing to attend and that upholds the three conditions set by the international community, and this includes Syria - 'ahalan wa sahalan,' they are welcome," said the officials.


The conditions set by the Quartet are recognizing Israel, denouncing violence and accepting past accords.


Israel's overture is not coincidental. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also sought Syrian participation in the summit during his last meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.


Israeli officials believe Washington hopes to extricate Syria from the "axis of evil" and Iran's influence to allow for political progress in the region.


Secretary Rice said last week that the US hopes key Arab nations, including Syria, would attend the summit.


A top Israeli official told Ynet that the US is responsible for extending invitations to the summit.


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