Now THIS is an interesting development......
Russia plans Middle East summit
Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, has said that Moscow aims to hold a peace conference before the end of 2009 to help resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
After holding talks in Cairo with Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, Medvedev said a two-state solution, the issue of settlements and a future capital would be on the agenda at the meeting.
Medvedev said: "We paid special attention to Middle East issues. We highly appreciate efforts by the Egyptian president to create an atmosphere of trust and co-operation in the region.
"[The] Moscow Middle East conference, which we plan to hold before the end of the year, will also contribute to achieving this goal."
Russia, which has mooted holding such a Middle East conference in the past, is a member of the Quartet of Middle East negotiators, along with the European Union, the United States and the United Nations.
Moscow is the only Quartet member talking to Hamas, the group that controls Gaza but is snubbed by Israel and the West, and also has good contacts with Israel.
Mubarak said: "I affirmed Egypt's support for holding the proposed international conference in Moscow to push peace efforts, and our support for everything that contributes towards achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the region."
Egypt, like other Arab states, has called for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on two states and has dismissed Benjamin Netanyahu's, the Israeli prime minister, conditional proposal for a demilitarised Palestinian state.
"What is the basis for a solution to this problem? Those are international legal norms and certain principles including the principle of two states, discussions on [Israeli] settlements and the future capital," Medvedev said.
"These are difficult questions but Russia is ready to help solve them."