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Rice, Olmert agree to involve Syria into peace summit conditionally
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09:12, November 05, 2007

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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice agreed on Sunday that Syria could attend the upcoming U.S.-sponsored international Mideast peace conference on certain conditions, local daily Haaretz reported on its website.

During a lunch meeting, the two sides agreed that Syria could be allowed to attend the peace summit if it accepted the fact that the conference would deal only with Israeli-Palestinian relations but without the fate of the Golan Heights, a 1,200 square km plateau captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War.

The statements were made in response to the Syrian foreign minister's request to Rice on Saturday that the summit should deal with Israel-Syria issues as well.

Rice is on her eighth visit to Israel this year in an effort to close gaps between Israel and the Palestinians prior to the peace conference due to be held in the United States later this year.

Earlier in the day, Rice also met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who assured her that Israel's economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip would not cause a humanitarian crisis.

"The sanctions Israel has imposed on civilians and the state will not cause a humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] strip," Barak was quoted as saying to Rice.

On Sunday morning, Rice also held talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who told her that any diplomatic agreement will only be implemented after the Palestinians fight terror, according to a statement released by Israel Government Press Office.

<i>Source: Xinhua</i>

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