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Annapolis Mideast peace conference to be out of public sight
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13:02, November 27, 2007

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The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, will be locked down Tuesday as representatives of more than 40 nations, territories and international organizations convene to negotiate peace in the Mideast.

While the talks will be kept out of public sight, city residents will expect to deal with road, waterway and airspace restrictions.

Boaters will not be allowed within 2.3 miles (3.7 km) of the Naval Academy, according to authorities.

The "security zone" restricts all movement into and out of the Severn River and Spa Creek from 7 a.m. Tuesday to when the Annapolis conference ends sometime in the afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a temporary flight restriction from 8:45 a.m. to 1:05 p.m. Tuesday within 10 nautical miles of the city. All non-commercial and non-emergency flights will be barred from the skies over Annapolis Tuesday.

According to city officials, three streets near the Naval Academy will also be closed. The Naval Academy itself will be shutoff to visitors Monday and Tuesday.

It was also for security reasons that Annapolis was selected asthe location for the conference -- it is close to Washington and it is somewhat easy for the academy to be fortified against potential strikes.

On Monday night, U.S. President George W. Bush will join Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the heads of the delegations for dinner at the Department of State before heading to the Naval Academy's Memorial Hall for the conference Tuesday morning.

Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will speak at the conference, which will then adjourn into a luncheon.

Once inside the academy, conferees will be surrounded by history, and will see numerous reminders of the cost of war.

Memorial Hall, located just off the rotunda of Bancroft Hall, has engraved on its walls the names of nearly 900 academy graduates killed in action.

Three local church groups in Annapolis are joining the peace conference by holding a peace vigil Monday tonight, and at least two churches will be opened for prayer Tuesday.

Hotels in Annapolis become packed as the conference is drawing near. Larry Beiderman, general manager of the 216-room Loews Annapolis Hotel on West Street, said his hotel had began booking rooms two weeks ago.

"We're sold out tonight," he said. "It's great!"


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