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President Bush said he hopes to forge Israeli-Palestinian agreement on the outline of a two-state solution before he leaves office.

Bush, who this week makes his first visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority as U.S. president, was asked in a television inteview aired Sunday what he hopes to see achieved in peace talks in the year he has left in office.

Bush said he wants to find agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the nature of a future Palestinian state, as well as a schedule for its founding.

“There will be an agreement on what a [Palestinian] state would look like, in my judgment. I think it will happen,” Bush told Israel’s Channel 2 television.

“As I already said, there is going to be a timetable. One timetable is the departure of George W. Bush from the White House — not that I’m a great, you know, heroic figure, but they know me and they’re comfortable with me and I’m a known quantity, and therefore the question is will they decide to make the effort necessary to get the deal done while I’m president?”

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