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The Annapolis conference will not produce an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Ehud Olmert said.

The Israeli prime minister said Thursday that despite his high hopes for the U.S.-sponsored conference expected in Maryland in late November or early December, it will not lead to a major diplomatic breakthrough.

“Indeed the time is filled now with activities that are all focused on the major effort we are making in order to embark on a meaningful international meeting in Annapolis,” Olmert, speaking English, told an Israel Bonds delegation in Jerusalem.

But he added, “We don’t want to mislead anyone that Annapolis is the event that will conclude peace between us and the Palestinians. We are not there yet. Annapolis is not made to be the event for the declaration of peace.”

Israel has emphasized that any negotiations on a final peace accord with the Palestinians must be predicated on implementation of the “road map,” a 2003 plan that requires security control in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a first step. With Hamas now ruling Gaza and the Palestinian Authority’s West Bank clout in doubt, meeting that precondition appears a distant possibility.

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