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Archive for Monday, March 5, 2007

Arabs to relaunch peace offer with Israel

March 5, 2007

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— Arabs will relaunch a 2002 land-for-peace offer in an effort to end the decades-long conflict with Israel at a summit later this month, but without changes Israel has been pushing, the Arab League's Secretary-General said Sunday.

Amr Moussa's remarks to a meeting of Arab foreign ministers came as Saudi Arabia announced that hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered support for the initiative during talks with Saudi officials, though Iran later denied the two discussed the peace plan.

"The Arab peace initiative expresses an Arab consensus and will not be redrafted as demanded by some foreign powers," Moussa told the ministers, who were meeting in Cairo ahead of the Arab League summit scheduled for March 28-29 in the Saudi capital.

"Maneuvering and watering down (the initiative) will be a strategic mistake," Moussa said. "It perhaps will lead to new bloodshed."

Last week, Israeli newspapers quoted Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as saying Israel would not accept the Arab peace plan as is and asked to drop any reference to the right of the Palestinians displaced in the 1948 Mideast war to return to their homes inside the Jewish state.

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