Olmert: Russia next host?

Ehud Olmert said he did not know of plans by Russia to host the next Palestinian-Israeli peace parley.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, was quoted by the Russian news agency Interfax as saying that participants attending this week’s U.S.-convened conference restarting talks welcomed Russia’s offer.

On Wednesday, Olmert told reporters he had met Lavrov during the conference in Annapolis, Md., and that such an offer never came up.

“I don’t know of any meeting in Moscow or any date or the agenda and therefore I can’t really respond,” he said at a session summing up the Annapolis conference.

A joint Israeli-Palestinian declaration coming out of the conference Tuesday made the United States the sole arbiter of progress in the process, cutting out the Russians and Europeans from a role they had shared with the Americans since 2003.

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