Brown to meet Palestinian and Israeli leaders

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The Independent Online

Britain will hold separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in London this month on the political and economic situation in the Middle East. The Prime Minister told the Commons: "We are bringing Israeli and Palestinian leaders to London later in December to establish how best we can use 2009 to make real progress towards political and economic solutions in the region." A spokesman for Gordon Brown said the Prime Minister had invited the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, to London on 15 December. Mr Brown would meet the leaders separately, Israel and the Palestinians launched US-sponsored peace talks in Maryland last year with the hope of reaching a deal by the end of 2008, but the talks have been hobbled by violence, bitter disputes over Jewish settlement building and the future of Jerusalem. All sides have said the year-end deadline will not be met. Mr Brown's spokesman said Mr Fayyad was coming to London for a Palestinian investment conference. Mr Olmert resigned in September and is serving in a caretaker capacity until a new Israeli government is formed in February.