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Saudi FM: Mideast Conference Pointless If it Does Not Tackle Core Issues


Saudi Arabia says it may not attend a U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference later this year if it does not cover core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Wednesday in Jeddah that the conference should address the status of Jerusalem, the borders of a Palestinian state and other issues included in an Arab peace initiative.

The Arab peace plan offers Israel normal relations with Arab states in return for an Israeli withdrawal from all territories captured in the 1967 war and a just settlement for Palestinian refugees.

The Saudi foreign minister says the conference must set a timetable for implementing a peace deal to avoid what he calls "endless negotiations."

The Arab peace initiative, first launched in 2002, was revived in March this year at an Arab summit in Riyadh.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed the peace conference with Saudi King Abdullah Tuesday in Jeddah. The two leaders also discussed the disputes between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.

Mr. Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian unity government and appointed a new Cabinet based in the West Bank after Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in June.

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

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