Washington, D.C. Seeking to revive Middle East peace talks, President Bush called Monday for an international peace conference with Israelis, Palestinians and some of Israel's Arab neighbors next fall.
In announcing the meeting, Bush once again stressed that the Palestinian government must help stop attacks against Israel, arrest terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure. The president also had an unusually blunt message for Israel, saying its future lies in developing areas such as Negev and Galilee, "not in continuing occupation of the West Bank."
Bush and his aides left vague who would attend the conference. Backing the idea is a policy switch for the Bush administration, which has been cool to such large diplomatic gatherings in the past.
The president said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would preside over the conference with representatives of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and those Arab nations that recognize Israel's right to exist, reject violence and support the creation of an independent Palestinian state.