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Israelis and Palestinians will symbolically launch negotiations on “core issues” at the White House.

Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. secretary of state, delivered the closing statement at the U.S.-convened Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in Annapolis, Md. on Tuesday.

Core issues to be addressed by the parties aiming at an agreement within a year include borders, refugees, security, water, settlements and Jerusalem, she said.

“President Bush has invited them both to the White House tomorrow to inaugurate those negotiations and the two sides have agreed that they will return to the region and meet on Dec. 12 to continue the process,” Rice said. “The parties also agreed to immediate implementation of the road map, to improve the conditions on both sides and to lay the foundations for a two-state solution.”

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