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News Brief


Syrian and Saudi Arabian officials will be invited to the U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace conference.

President Bush is expected to convene a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington in November for a peace conference, which will also involve other major Middle East players.

Amid Arab misgivings about whether the parley will bring Palestinian statehood closer, the participant list had long been unclear.

But a U.S. official told Reuters on Sunday that invitations would be extended to members of an Arab League committee set up to monitor recent Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement efforts. The committee includes Syria and Saudi Arabia, both of which are technically at war with the Jewish state.

Tensions between Jerusalem and Damascus were exacerbated by Syria’s allegation that Israeli warplanes attacked its territory on Sept. 6. But Olmert more recently has made peace overtures toward Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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