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Tzipi Livni will join Ehud Olmert opposite Syrian leaders at an international conference in Paris this month.

The Israeli prime minister was originally scheduled to go alone to the July 13 summit of European and Mediterranean nations, which will also be attended by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

But Livni, Olmert’s foreign minister, is joining the Israeli delegation, Yediot Achronot reported Wednesday. According to the newspaper, Livni’s Syrian counterpart, Wallid Mouallem, will also be there.

The report looked likely to stoke speculation that Paris could see a direct encounter between Israeli and Syrian officials, following weeks of indirect talks in Turkey.

The last round of mediated negotiations was on Tuesday, in Istanbul. The Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat quoted a Turkish diplomatic source as saying Israel and Syria could be ready for direct talks imminently.

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