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News Brief


Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas are scheduled to meet Friday in Jerusalem.

The Israeli prime minister and Palestinian Authority president will hold their latest in a series of accelerated summits Friday afternoon amid efforts to agree on the agenda for the upcoming peace conference in Annapolis, Md., officials said.

Olmert and Abbas appointed teams to hammer out a joint declaration of principles for the conference, which is expected to take place in late November or early December and focus on Palestinian statehood hopes.

But progress in the preliminary talks has been slow, with the Palestinians complaining of Israel’s reluctance to commit to concrete concessions in the West Bank. Israel prefers a more general statement of intent given the uncertain power structure in the Palestinian Authority following Abbas’ schism with Hamas in June.

On Thursday, U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was scheduled to meet Olmert in Tel Aviv. Hadley’s visit to Israel, his first, is widely seen as a signal by the Bush administration that it intends to ensure the Annapolis conference yields results.

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