TEHRAN, Oct 31 (Reuters): Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday the only solution to the Middle East conflict was democracy for Palestinians, after provoking outcry last week by calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map".
The official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying the best step would be political rather than military.
"The only logical solution to solve the Palestinian issue is to hold free elections with the participation of Palestinians inside and outside the occupied territories and a recognition of the nation's legitimacy," he said after a meeting with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Ahmadinejad appeared to be calling for full democratic representation for Palestinian refugees and emigres anywhere.
"I will ask UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to put on his agenda the formation of a democratic and legitimate Palestinian government," Ahmadinejad said Sunday. Annan is expected to visit Iran in the next week or two.
Meanwhile, two militants from the radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad were killed and eight other Palestinians were injured in an Israeli army raid in the West Bank Sunday, Palestinian security sources said.
The dead men were named as 21-year-old Arshad Abu Zeid and Jihad Zahaneh, 22.One of the injured was seriously hurt, the sources said.
The clash occurred in the northern West Bank town of Kabatiya, which is where an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber who killed five Israelis in a blast Wednesday came from.