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Mofaz: lower Annapolis expectations

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A top Israeli minister said talks with the Palestinians should focus only on the first phase of the “road map” peace plan.

Expectations that final-status proposals will emerge from Israeli-Palestinian talks at Annapolis, Md. later this month “could result in great disappointment,” Shaul Mofaz, the transport minister, told reporters Thursday prior to leading the Israeli team in the U.S.-Israel strategic dialogue.

Mofaz’s modest expectations contrast with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s comments earlier this week, envisioning a plan for Palestinian statehood by the end of 2008. The first phase of the U.S.-initiated “road map” involves Palestinians controlling security and Israelis dismantling unauthorized settlements and freezing settlement expansion.

Mofaz said he shared his views with Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. secretary of state whom me met on Wednesday.

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