Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday invited Arab leaders to a regional peace conference, saying that he hoped for an exchange of views about solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.
He said each side would bring its own demands, and neither would try to dictate terms.
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 for a dialogue.”
Last week at a summit in Saudi Arabia, the Arab League renewed a 2002 Saudi peace plan that would give Israel recognition in exchange for withdrawal from all captured territories and a just solution for the Palestinian refugees. Olmert welcomed the decision, saying it showed a major change in the way Arab states viewed Israel, but he said Israel did not accept all parts of the plan.
In a series of interviews over the weekend, Olmert said he would welcome talks with Saudi Arabia and moderate Arab leaders, but at the time stopped far short of calling for a peace conference.
Strike 'a plan we don't know of'
Olmert also denied reports of a planned coordinated offensive in which the U.S. would attack Iran and Israel would hit Syria and Lebanon at the same time.
Olmert dismissed the idea, calling it “a plan we don’t know of. It is baseless, and an unfounded rumor with no foundation. I hope no one will operate on the basis of unfounded rumor to create a move that would have no reason to drag us into” a conflict.