Russia Plans Middle East Summit

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - During a meeting Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country plans to host a Middle East peace conference sometime during the first half of the year.

Russia has talked about a follow-up meeting to the US-sponsored Annapolis meeting in November 2007.

Lavrov said Russia will not push the Syrian track nor would it extend an invitation to Hamas.

Lavrov also meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Sunday and with outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu, likely next prime minister, on Monday.

Peres told the Russian foreign minister that Israel seeks peace with all its Arab neighbors.

"Our hands will always be stretched out in peace," Peres said, "but we cannot accept a situation in which rockets are fired at our citizens."

On the subject of Russia's sale of missile defense systems to Iran, Lavrov said his country did not intend to alter than balance of power in the region.

Lavrov said Russia expects Israel to apply the same principle with arms sales to Georgia.

The foreign minister said Russia believes Iran is only interested in nuclear power, not nuclear weapons.

Lavrov said if Israel has proof that Iran is seeking nuclear arms capability, it should provide the evidence to Russia.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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