Israeli PM: Saudi initiative can be basis for talks with Arab

The Saudi-proposed Arab peace initiative could be used as a basis for negotiation between Israel and moderate force in the Arab world, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Thursday. At a meeting with national service volunteers, Olmert said,” The Saudi initiative is interesting, and there are parts that we could use as a basis between us and moderate Arab organizations,” local popular Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

“This government will not miss an opportunity to dialogue with its enemies and will do anything possible, including painful concession to push this process forward,” added Olmert.

The Arab peace initiative which was proposed by Saudi Arabia and adopted by the Arab League in 2002 Beirut summit, offers Israel normal ties with Arab countries in return for full withdrawal from land it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

The Saudi plan calls for full diplomatic relations between the entire Arab world and Israel in exchange for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Israel rejected it when it was first proposed in 2002.

Israeli government claimed that it would not accept the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to Israel, and does not subscribe to full withdrawal from the territories.

Arab leaders dismissed amending the proposal, saying land-for- peace offer should not be changed.

Arab countries are expected to revive the proposal at a summit later this month in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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