A Mideast peace summit will be held in January 2008 in Moscow as a follow-up to the Annapolis conference slated to take place in the U.S. later this month, a Saudi newspaper reported Saturday.
The Alwatan Arabic-language daily also quoted Palestinian sources as saying that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has attempted to convince the U.S. to incorporate Syria into the Annapolis talks.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is said to have discussed the issue with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in response to Abbas' efforts. Abbas has sent a high-ranking Fatah official to Syria to brief the Damascus government on the development, the paper reported.
In the past, Syria has stated that it will participate in the Annapolis talks only if it will deal with the possible return of the Golan Heights, captured by Israel from Syria in 1967 during the Six-Day War.
Meanwhile, Abbas called Rice Saturday to update her on preparations for Annapolis and complained that Israel backed away from previous understandings.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that during her latest Mideast trip earlier this week, Rice secured support for setting up a three-way committee - with top Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. officials - that would monitor the implementation of short-term peace obligations by both sides.
The committee is to consist of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. security coordinator Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton.
The trio is to monitor the implementation of the first phase of the U.S.-backed road map peace plan, which calls on Israel to freeze the building of settlements and on the Palestinians to disarm militants, the officials said. The Palestinians maintain that they have started meeting their obligations, while Israel has done nothing.
Israeli officials declined comment.
Abbas placed the call to Rice on Friday, his office said.
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