Quartet invites Olmert, Abbas to Cairo

Palestinians cancel Jericho summit Thurs.; say Israel rejects proposals.

The "Quartet" of international Mideast mediators stepped into the void, signaling it would invite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for talks in Cairo, after a summit was called off at the last minute. Olmert and Abbas were to meet Thursday in the West Bank town of Jericho, but Palestinians canceled the summit, charging Israel with rejecting all their proposals. Shortly after that announcement, PA Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr told a news conference that the Quartet was inviting the two leaders to Egypt for talks on June 25. This would signify increased involvement by the mediators - the US, EU, Russia and the UN. Representatives of the 22-member Arab League, which is pushing a plan for comprehensive peace with Israel, also will attend, Abu Amr said. He said EU diplomats are already preparing the gathering. Abu Amr said the Cairo talks were important because "it will make the Quartet see by itself who is responsible for hindering any of the issues being discussed." US and Egyptian officials confirmed the planned gathering in Cairo. Olmert's office said it has not yet received a formal invitation.