Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Egyptian FM: More Arab states may forge contacts with Israel
"Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Tuesday, on the eve of a diplomatic visit to Israel, that additional Arab countries may later forge diplomatic contacts with Jerusalem.
Aboul Gheit is scheduled to visit the region on Wednesday together with his Jordanian counterpart, Abdel Ilah al-Khatib, to promote the Arab peace initiative, a peace-for-land plan re-launched by an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia in March.
Egypt and Jordan were mandated for the mission by an Arab League committee last month because they are the only Arab nations that have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has called on other Arab states - particularly Saudi Arabia - to join in direct talks with Israel on the initiative. Saudi Arabia and others have refused, saying Israel must accept the peace offer before they would consider a direct meeting.
However, Aboul Gheit held out the possibility of broader contacts if Israel meets certain conditions, though he did not specify which Arab nations might join......"