Forum talks focus on dialogue, ignore absentees

Global business and political leaders focused on dialogue, democracy and development in the Middle East, although three major players - Iran, Hamas and Syria - were absent, leaving the talks nearly rancor-free but with a hollow ring. Participants in forum symposiums Sunday at the World Economic Forum's regional meeting talked about ways to increase dialogue and expand democracy in Arab nations, although the discussions sometimes butted into regional realities. The forum, however, did succeed in bringing Palestinian and Israeli leaders together for the first time since the Islamic militants of Hamas won Palestinian elections in January.