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U.S., Israel: Putin Int’l Summit is Premature

The United States and Israel have rejected the proposal of Russian President Vladimir Putin for an international conference on the Middle East in Moscow this autumn.

The proposal was raised in Cairo during a press conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Sources in Jerusalem said the conference is premature since such a summit should take place only in the second phase of the Road Map. White House spokesman Scott McClellan voiced a similar line.

Putin suggested the conference during a historic visit to the Middle East this week which includes Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Putin is trying to upgrade Moscow’s status in the Middle East as a peace-broker, especially regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Russia, together with the United States, the United Nations and the European Union sponsored the Road Map peace plan to help resolve the conflict.