Palestinians agree to attend Mideast conference



Palestinians agree to attend Mideast conference Ramallah: The Palestinians on Saturday accepted a French invitation to attend a conference in Paris aimed at reviving peace talks with Israel, as their strategy to bypass negotiations and seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state appeared to be unraveling.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians were prepared to go to Paris and were waiting for Israeli and American responses.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe extended the invitation earlier this week in a visit to the region, saying the conference could take place later this month. Israel has not replied to Juppe's invitation and had no comment Saturday on the Palestinian acceptance, which came with no conditions attached.

The Palestinians have refused to return to the bargaining table for months because Israel has rejected their demand to halt all settlement construction on lands they claim for a future state.

Palestinian officials said they had no high hopes for a French-led conference but would attend in an effort to restart talks that broke down in late 2008 and revived only briefly this past September before collapsing over settlement construction.

PTI