Olmert calls for regional peace summit
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday invited Arab leaders to a regional peace conference, adding that he would look there for an exchange of views about solving the Mideast conflict.
Speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is the current head of the European Union, he said, "I would even take advantage of this important opportunity to be with the EU president to invite all Arab heads of state, including the king of Saudi Arabia, to a meeting."
"I think the readiness to accept Israel as a fact and to debate the terms of a future solution is a step that I cannot help but appreciate," Olmert added, according to Haaretz.
The United States and Egypt have suggested that Israel agree to start talks with a committee of Arab states on how to move the peace process forward, diplomats involved in the affair said on Sunday.
In weekend talks with Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and other officials, Washington and Cairo proposed that Israel agree to take part "as soon as possible" in a meeting with a working group approved by the Arab summit that could begin negotiating a possible agreement.
"Arab League countries would talk formally and publicly as a collective with Israel," one diplomat said. Talks in the past have generally been on a bilateral basis, the diplomat said.