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Abbas, Olmert Get Invitations To Peace Conference

Abbas, Olmert Receive Formal Invitations to Mideast Peace Conference

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have received formal invitations to a Mideast peace conference in the U.S. city of Annapolis near Washington next week.

The offices of the two leaders confirmed the invitations were received Tuesday. Palestinian officials say the conference will take place November 27.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says a number of countries and organizations will also receive invitations soon.

Earlier Tuesday, Mr. Olmert said he hopes to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians next year. He spoke in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt after talks with President Hosni Mubarak.

In other developments, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the conference Tuesday during a meeting in Tehran with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said organizers aim to create links between Arab states and what he called the "Zionist regime" - a reference to Israel. He said the conference will have no benefit to the Palestinians.

In other news, Israeli media say troops shot and killed four Palestinians in two incidents late Monday along Gaza's border with Israel.

Also Monday, Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli man in the West Bank as he drove near an Israeli settlement. A militant group affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement claimed responsibility for the attack.


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