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Turkish, Israeli and Palestinian Presidents to Meet in Ankara


Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with their Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Ankara on Tuesday.

They are finalizing a deal to set up a joint industrial zone in the West Bank in which Turkish companies will make investments.

Also Tuesday, Mr. Peres and Mr. Abbas will address the Turkish parliament. In the process, Mr. Peres will become the first Israeli president to speak before the legislature of a Muslim country.

Turkey is Israel's closest ally in the Muslim world and has in the past acted as a mediator between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors.

On Monday, Mr. Peres said his country is ready to make peace with the Palestinians, but he cautioned that the upcoming U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace conference is unlikely to achieve quick results.

And Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Monday said he is considering releasing more than 400 Palestinian prisoners in a goodwill gesture ahead of that conference.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mark Regev says the goal of a prisoner release is to boost moderates such as Mr. Abbas.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said his government wants Israel to release 2,000 prisoners.

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