Olmert cool to Moscow summit idea

Ehud Olmert played down the prospects of Israel attending a Middle East peace summit that Russia wants to host.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came to Israel last week to promote Moscow’s bid to follow up the Annapolis peace conference with another summit this year involving both the Palestinians and Syria.

Russia wants to expand its influence in the Middle East but Israel has long shown a preference for the intercession of its U.S. ally.

“I think, quite frankly, as I said to Secretary Lavrov that, you know, what we need in order to make peace in the Middle East is to see the two sides sitting together and talk rather than going to international conventions,” Olmert told reporters Wednesday.

But the Israeli prime minister stopped short of ruling out his participation in a Russian-hosted parley, which many expect to take place in June.

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