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Israeli Prime Minister Willing to Attend Arab Summit if Invited

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he "would not hesitate" to take part in a regional Arab summit, if he was invited.

Mr. Olmert said Monday, that he would look at an invitation to an Arab summit in "a positive way." The Israeli prime minister made his remarks during a news conference in Jerusalem with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In a separate development, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Amman, Jordan today for meetings with King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Afterward, she plans to travel to Jerusalem for follow-up talks with Prime Minister Olmert. Rice is expected to announce a program for more substantial talks on the most difficult issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

In separate talks with Mr. Abbas and Mr. Olmert Sunday, Rice urged the two sides to revive the peace process, and move toward the creation of a Palestinian state.

This is Rice's fourth trip to the Mideast in as many months, and her first since the Palestinians formed a new unity government earlier this month.

The new Palestinian coalition government combines Mr. Olmert's moderate Fatah movement and the Islamic militant group, Hamas, which controls parliament.

Israel has said it will not work with the new Palestinian government because of its refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence. However, Prime Minister Olmert has said he will maintain contact with President Abbas.

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