LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain will host a meeting of Israeli and Palestinian leaders this month to discuss the political and economic situation in the area, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Wednesday.
“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,” Brown told parliament. He did not elaborate.
U.S. President George W. Bush launched a new Middle East peace drive at a conference in Annapolis, Maryland, a year ago, but the negotiations have been hampered from the start by violence and bitter disputes over Jewish settlement building and the future of Jerusalem.
The White House has acknowledged that Bush’s goal of a deal on Palestinian statehood before he leaves office in January is “unlikely” to be achieved.
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama takes office on Jan. 20.