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Israeli Official: Pan-Arab Peace Plan Being Considered

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak says his government may give serious consideration to a Saudi plan to consolidate peace talks between Israel and Arab nations.

He made the comment Sunday in an interview with Israeli army radio. He said Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni seems open to the plan to merge peace talks with several nations into one process.

The deal, proposed in 2002, has been endorsed by the Arab League.

Barak said that Israel has joint interest with moderate Arab leaders with keeping extremist groups at bay, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

The plan calls for a pan-Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel's return of all land it took during the 1967 Mideast war.

Tzipi Livni took over as the leader of her party, Kadima, in September after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stepped down in a corruption scandal. But Olmert remains as caretaker prime minister until a new government is formed.

Under a presidential mandate, Livni has until early November to present the new Cabinet.