Egypt to Host 'Annapolis Two'

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CBNNews.com - CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian plans to host an international Middle East peace summit in November, being billed as "Annapolis Two."

The U.S.-backed plan is for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to present the results of their negotiations over the past year to members of the Quartet (United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia).

The meeting is the brainchild of the U.S. State Department, Israel and the Palestinians.

Efforts by the Bush administration to reach an agreement before year's end and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's call for a draft document morphed to an "inventory" of progress on "core issues," which includes the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and their descendants right of return to Israel, security, water rights and the status of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

"Finally, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni [who has led the Israeli negotiating team] managed to persuade her Palestinian counterpart, the head of the PA negotiating team, Ahmed Qureia, to reject the inventory idea," an Israeli source told the Israeli daily Haaretz.

According to the source, the November meeting will likely take place in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh on the one-year anniversary of last year's meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.

Egyptian and Jordanian officials, as well as E.U. Middle East envoy Tony Blair, will also participate in the meeting.

Meanwhile, Israel's uncertain political situation following the resignation of outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is affecting the diplomatic level of representation from other countries.

If Livni succeeds in forming a coalition, which would make her the prime minister, other countries will have to send their heads of state.

In any case, Olmert and Livni will have to collate the "progress" in their separate talks -- Livni with Qureia and Olmert with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Source: Haaretz

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