Lebanon rules out talks with Israel

After visit to France, Suleiman explains regional peace summit is best way to resolve differences.

suleiman laughs 248.88 (photo credit: )
suleiman laughs 248.88
(photo credit: )
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on Wednesday ruled out the possibility that his country would hold direct talks with Israel and said a regional peace conference would be the best way to resolve the differences between the two nations. "We have always refused to hold direct talks with the Israelis," Suleiman was quoted by Reuters as saying at the end of a three-day visit to France. "We have always said that we would be prepared to accept a peace conference based on the Madrid conference and also on the international legal texts," Suleiman went on to say. According to the news agency, Lebanon's president expressed hope that the Palestinians would also attend such a conference, saying that he had invited French President Nicolas Sarkozy to work toward a global approach for the solution of Palestinian-Israeli conflict. "We have also called for that to happen in the framework of an international conference to which all the parties involved would be invited," Suleiman told reporters. In July last year, Suleiman said that should diplomacy fail to return "Israeli-occupied land" to Lebanon, the Lebanese army (LAF) would take it by force. Suleiman was speaking at a press conference after meeting Syrian President Bashar Assad on the sidelines of a Mediterranean conference in Paris. He stressed, however, that the military option was the last resort.