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Olmert Casts Doubt on Bush’s Peace Summit

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has taken a shot at the peace summit that is near and dear to U.S. President George W. Bush. Olmert, who has consistently downplayed expectations for a major breakthrough at the conference, said last week that the summit "might not take place at all." The Mideast peace conference is set to be held in late November at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It has been suggested that the date might be pushed back to December. Invitations have not yet gone out for the event, and the primary parties – Israel and the Palestinians – remain deadlocked over the nature of a document to serve as the basis for the talks. The Palestinians are demanding a formal agreement that addresses "core" issues, while Israel wants nothing more than a general "statement of interests." Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia have said that there is no reason to attend unless the Palestinian scenario is fulfilled. Even if the conference takes place, Olmert told a group in Jerusalem last week that, "Annapolis is not made to be the event for the declaration of peace." The conference is known to be of great personal importance to Bush, with many pundits calling it his last chance to score a Mideast foreign policy victory during his term in office.