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Abbas Seeks Mideast Peace Conference; Attack Foiled in Gaza


The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, is calling for an international peace conference that would include direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

In a speech Wednesday at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway, Mr. Abbas said international sponsors of a new Mideast conference should act as both brokers and arbitrators, in order to move the peace process forward.

Meanwhile, in the Palestinian territories, security forces in Gaza foiled an attack by militants who tried to ram a car full of explosives into a border crossing with Israel. At least three Palestinian security officers were wounded in an exchange of fire with the militants.

In Norway, Mr. Abbas did not specify whether he thinks the Mideast peace "quartet" - made up of the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union or another group should sponsor a peace conference.

He said that Israelis and Palestinians should not be left alone to negotiate a solution.

Mr. Abbas urged the international community to move rapidly on a negotiated settlement before Israel takes unilateral action on the territorial and political issues that divide the two sides.

Israel refuses to negotiate with the Hamas-led Palestinian government. Israeli officials have called Mr. Abbas and his Fatah party irrelevant.

Mr. Abbas arrived in the Norwegian capital late Tuesday after a visit to Turkey.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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