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June 03, 2003

Netanyahu turns down invitation to Aqaba

Though many opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state will look favorably upon this we should remember that Israelis being called upon to try to settle differences with the arab world by leading nations of the world. It is much easier to do when you are not in charge of things as is Sharon
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid and Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Ehud Olmert will be part of the Israeli delegation at the Aqaba summit on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also invited but he informed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of his abstention.

Sources close to Netanyahu said that he is opposed to a Palestinian state and will not attend a summit that envisages the formation of such a state, reported Israel Radio.

The Bush team will include Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Earlier today representatives from the Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry left for Aqaba to coordinate preparations to the summit with Jordanian officials.