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Blair Meets Olmert in Jerusalem


Mideast envoy Tony Blair has met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for talks ahead of a peace conference expected in November.

Mr. Blair arrived in Jerusalem Tuesday and had dinner at Mr. Olmert's residence. He is expected to hold wide-ranging talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials while in the region.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Blair met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

An Egyptian spokesman says Mr. Mubarak told Mr. Blair and Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema that failure to make progress at the upcoming peace conference will add to anger and extremism in the region.

In other developments, Israeli officials say Israel intends to release from prison 100 members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction as a goodwill gesture. They say Mr. Abbas requested the release last week.

Officials say the prisoners were not involved in attacks on Israelis.

Mr. Blair serves as a special envoy to the international quartet on Middle East peace, which consists of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

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

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