Mideast Summit Seen as a Boost

A Middle East summit in Moscow could bolster the country's prestige and please Arab nations such as Syria, but progress would depend heavily on the actions of Israel and the Palestinians, analysts said Thursday.

Moscow has offered to host a follow-up to this week's international Middle East peace conference in the United States, where Russian officials say their proposal won a favorable reception. An EU official said a Moscow meeting "could happen as early as February."

The conference would fit in with President Vladimir Putin's efforts to restore Russia's global clout and further burnish his image at home -- particularly before the March presidential election. "Putin has been doing everything possible to prove to the world -- and not least to his own people -- that Russia is a great power that has risen up from its knees" and opposes U.S. dominance, said Georgy Mirsky, a Middle East expert and professor at Moscow's Institute of World Economy and International Relations.