Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni reiterated on Monday that Israel did not object to Syria's participation in November's US-sponsored Middle East peace meeting, but cautioned that the parley was secondary to dialogue with the Palestinians.
"The [US] conference has turned into the central issue, when the central issue is the bilateral path with the Palestinians," Livni told Army Radio. "The next few weeks, in which there will be dialogue between [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert and [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas will dictate the character of the conference. ... Speculations are superfluous. The progress, in the end, [will be measured only by] the outcome."
Livni explained that the Abbas-Olmert talks and the upcoming US meeting would not resolve the situation in Gaza any time soon. "There is a huge gap between the situation in Gaza, where Hamas is in control, and the Palestinian government with which we're holding a dialogue," she said. "The world also understands that the dialogue with Abbas does not provide a solution to what's happening in Gaza."
Livni is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on Monday night.