Olmert: Peace could be generation away

A final Israeli-Palestinian peace accord could be a generation away, Ehud Olmert said.

The Israeli prime minister, appearing Monday before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, reiterated his stand that a permament settlement with the Palestinians would require Israel quit much of the West Bank.

But Olmert also said he agreed with Israelis who saw such a deal being as many as 20 or 30 years away from completion.

Asked about his planned peace conference with Mahmoud Abbas under United States auspices in November, Olmert said the Palestinian Authority president is currently the best partner available to Israel and that he wants to see diplomatic progress.

Olmert denied allegations, sounded recently by political rivals and even by his own party colleagues, that there is a secret accord being drafted with Abbas. Any such accord would be brought to the Israeli Cabinet for approval, Olmert said.

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