Middle East peace summit falling apart

Sunday, September 16, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Senior Palestinian officials told The Jerusalem Post at the weekend that they are considering asking the US to postpone a major peace summit currently scheduled to take place in Washington in November.

The Palestinians say they are concerned by the refusal of Arab states to confirm their participation in the gathering, which the Bush Administration had originally billed as a regional peace summit aimed at kick-starting and laying the groundwork for final status Israeli-Arab peace negotiations.

But leaders from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and a number of other smaller Arab states say the US has failed to provide a firm agenda for the conference or a timeline for implementation of any agreements made there. Arab leaders say they are unwilling to be a backdrop for what is little more than a photo opportunity meant to prop up Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US President George W. Bush.

The Arab world insists that prior to the summit Israel must agree to all its demands so that the gathering can end in “success.” Olmert, however, is under mounting pressure at home to not make any serious concessions amid the Palestinians' ongoing failure to effectively govern themselves or put an end to anti-Israel terrorism emanating from territories under their control.

With no confirmed regional participants and little hope of anything resembling a final status agreement resulting from the summit, the Palestinians said they are seriously considering asking US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she visits later this week to postpone the event.

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