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Olmert says gaps with Palestinians not unbridgeable ahead of Annapolis summit
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08:22, November 13, 2007

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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Monday that the gaps between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are not "unbridgeable" before a U.S.-proposed Mideast peace conference although they are wide.

Olmert made the remarks when addressing the Knesset (parliament)'s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, local daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

The prime minister said that he and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have so far been dedicated to defining the other side and understanding the potential development regarding the negotiations ahead the Annapolis peace summit.

"Although the meetings gave rise to the feeling that there are gaps between us, we managed to define our limits and estimate our abilities to reach agreements. My conclusion is that the gaps are not unbridgeable," Olmert was quoted as saying.

He estimated that the summit would only take one day, but he underlined that the fact that the conference would take place is a success itself.

"This is a one-of-its-kind agreement which is aimed at creating international support for our negotiations with the Palestinians," he said.

"Immediately after the meeting, the sides plan to hold serious and intensive negotiations in order to reach the 'two states for two people' agreement. Annapolis could serve as a public launching of the dialogue with the Palestinians."

Although Abbas lacks sufficient power, reality could change, Olmert said. "This is the first time both sides agree that the entire deal will be subject to the implementation of the Road Map."

Source: Xinhua

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