George W. Bush opens Annapolis conference on Middle East


Talks about peace in the Middle East are to get underway in the US town of Annapolis today.

In his address at the opening of the multi-national peace conference at Annapolis, US president George Bush will call for a settlement on the basis of two nation states, according to Israeli sources quoted by ‘Ha’aretz’.

Bush is reportedly to declare Israel the national home of the Jewish people, and Palestine as the national home of the Palestinians. The American president will also address the issue of the Palestinian refugees, and the need to resolve their suffering, saying that they should be allowed to return to the Palestinian state. According to Ha’aretz, Bush will not offer a detailed formula for determining the future border between Israel and Palestine, but will refer to his April 2004 letter to then prime minister Ariel Sharon, which talked of establishing an agreed border along the cease-fire line (the Green Line), with consideration being given to the changes affected by the settlement blocks in the West Bank.

On Monday, Bush held separate talks with Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the White House. Representatives of more than 40 countries will attend the Annapolis conference.

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