U.K. Seeks New International Conference on Mideast Peace in London

U.K. Premier Brown wants conference to focus on economic rehabilitation of PA; Olmert isn't opposed to idea.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is interested in convening an additional international conference in London in March order to promote the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Brown, who formerly served as the U.K. finance minister, wants the conference to focus on economic issues. He spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert some 10 days ago, and raised the idea. Olmert did not express any opposition to the conference.

Political sources in Jerusalem stressed that the objectives and the format of the conference remain unclear, but added that the U.K., which opposes Russian plans to hold the next conference in Moscow, is interested in moving the location to London.

In September 2007, the British government published a report ordered by Brown that formulated a "road map" for the Palestinian Authority's economic rehabilitation. The British premier would like the London conference to examine ways to implement that report.

In March 2005 London hosted an international conference that sought to help the Palestinians establish governing institutions, although Israel did not participate.

In December of that year, Brown hosted the G-7 summit, in the context of which he held a three-way meeting with Olmert and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The three leaders at the time headed the treasuries of the U.K., Israel, and the PA, respectively.