Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Israeli Overtures to Lebanon

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is interested in direct peace talks with Lebanon:
"Government spokesman Mark Regev said on Wednesday that Israel is interested in direct, bilateral talks with Lebanon in order to reach a peace deal between the two bordering countries.

"Regev said that every issue of contention would be on the table, including a key border dispute over the Shaba Farms, a small piece of land controlled by Israel, the dispute over which is a key sticking point between Israel, Lebanon and Syria.

"Regev's comments were the government's most explicit overture toward Lebanon. Last week, when Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted Israel would be interested in talks with Beirut, the Lebanese government rejected the notion. On Wednesday, a Lebanese government official said that position hadn't changed."

This is obviously part of the broader package of talks with Syria. I've commented on that here and here at American Footprints, where there has been some discussion. One thing pushing this on the Israeli side is, of course, Ehud Olmert's desire to have a rationale for his candidacy in the upcoming Kadima primaries. I don't think his personal political weakness means this is all pointless, however, as I can see probable Kadima successor Tzipi Livni also getting behind these overtures and arguing to those who support them that she's the one who can do it right.

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