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Saudi Arabia Dismisses Israeli Proposal for Conference

Saudi Arabia has dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's invitation to Arab leaders to attend a Middle East peace conference.

The Saudi Cabinet Monday said Israel first must end what it called constant violations and inhuman aggression against the Palestinian people.

In Paris, visiting Palestinian Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr said Mr. Olmert's proposal skips over necessary steps in the peace process.

But in Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that interaction between Israel and potential Arab partners would be positive.

On Sunday, Mr. Olmert invited all Arab leaders to a peace conference and called Saudi King Abdullah a "very important leader."

Last week, the Arab League re-launched a 2002 plan calling for normal relations with Israel in return for Israel's withdrawal to its 1967 borders.

Mr. Olmert welcomed the decision, but said Israel does not accept all parts of the plan.

The plan calls for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes inside Israel.

Mr. Olmert said the plan, with some changes, could be a basis for dialogue.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.