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Senior Israeli and U.S. officials said negotiations with Syria will not be pre-eminent at peace talks in Annapolis, Md.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told reporters that the emphasis at the U.S.-convened talks this week was the Palestinians.

“The invitation to the Syrians is certainly acceptable,” Olmert said. “We think this is correct. But the focus of this meeting was and is the Palestinians.”

In an earlier briefing with reporters, Stephen Hadley, President Bush’s national security adviser, also said the Palestinian issue was uppermost at the conference.

“Syrian participation is not the focus of these discussions,” Hadley said. “The focus of these discussions are the Israelis and the Palestinians launching a negotiating process.”

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