The British prime minister has confirmed that an international conference on the Middle East will take place in the UK next year, in a bid to kickstart the stalled peace plan. Tony Blair visited Ramallah – the first world leader to do so since the death of Yasser Arafat.
Both Blair and his Israeli counterpart agreed there would no need for Israel to attend. Ariel Sharon aims to evacuate all 8,000 settlements from the Gaza Strip next year and four in the West Bank.Sharon repeated his condition that the Palestinians had to end terrorism attacks before the road map could be implemented. Whether Blair’s summit will encourage Palestinian militants to give dialogue a chance remains to be seen.