Israel, P.A. close to joint declaration


Israel and the Palestinian Authority inched toward agreement on a joint declaration for next week’s peace conference.

Advance negotiators from both sides said they were working together on one draft declaration, having synthesized respective demands that previously kept them from being “on the same page.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hope to have an agreed-on document to present at the U.S.-hosted talks in Annapolis, Md., addressing the framework for reviving peace negotiations.

According to negotiators, Israel and the Palestinian Authority still disagree on how the declaration should deal with the need for foreign oversight in the implementation of the U.S.-sponsored peace “road map,” a precondition for diplomatic progress.

The Palestinians have also been pushing for some mention of the core issues of borders, Jerusalem and refugees, though Israel has balked at any detailed reference to them at this stage.

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