JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet on Sunday that Israel was not bound by a December 2008 target to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, and reasserted that no deal would be carried out until Palestinian militants were reined in.
At last week's gathering in Annapolis, Maryland, the leaders agreed that "an effort will be made to hold accelerated negotiations in the hope that it will be possible to conclude them in 2008," Olmert told his Cabinet, according to a statement put out by the prime minister's office. "However, there is no commitment to a specific timetable regarding these negotiations."
The deadline is set to coincide with the end of U.S. President George W. Bush's tenure. After taking a laissez-faire approach to the region for most of his two terms, Bush has recently demonstrated a greater resolve to clinch a peace deal — something that would at least partially eclipse the failures of U.S. policy in Iraq.