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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Syria to Attend Mideast Conference

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration was able to declare a clean sweep on Sunday when Syria, the last Arab world holdout, announced it would attend a high-stakes Middle East peace conference in the U.S. this week.

But as 16 Arab nations and the Arab League prepared to sit down with Israel for the first time in more than a decade, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made it clear that they should not expect to dictate the contours of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Livni spoke days after Arab League members grudgingly agreed to send their foreign ministers to the U.S.-hosted conference, meant to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks after a violent, seven-year lull in negotiations.

Damascus had threatened to sit out the gathering in Annapolis, Maryland, if it did not address the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed. And after the Arab League meeting on Friday, Syria said it would study the agenda before deciding whether to attend.