Dozens Invited to Mideast Peace Talks

White House presses Saudi Arabia and Syria, Olmert bolsters Abbas
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2007 4:14 AM CST
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack gestures during a news briefing at the US State Dept. headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007 in Washington. U.S. State Deptartment spokesman Sean McCormack...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The negotiating table may be packed Nov. 27 in Annapolis, when the Mideast peace conference brings together not only Israelis and Palestinians, but upwards of 40 other countries and institutions invited yesterday. The White House's priority is to persuade Saudi Arabia and Syria to attend the talks, to bolster the chances of making real progress towards Palestinian statehood.

But even countries outside the Middle East, such as Brazil, Norway, and Senegal, received invites; notably uninvited was Hamas, viewed by Washington as a terror organization. Meanwhile, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert continued efforts to strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's hand by offering ammunition and trucks, and by opening some export routes from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.