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Palestinian premier says Israel peace deal unlikely in 2008

RIA Novosti

19/02/2008 15:44 TEL AVIV, February 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Palestinian prime minister called for the pace of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to be stepped up if a deal is to be reached by the end of 2008 as planned.

Salam Fayyad made the statement in Jerusalem while speaking to North American Jewish leaders ahead of a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders Tuesday.

The premier said he believed what had been done over the last three months was insufficient to wrap up a deal by December 2008, a deadline set at a November U.S.-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are to meet in Jerusalem on Tuesday to take stock of progress, which is continuing at the level of working groups.

The Palestinian side is angry at Israeli plans to build homes in East Jerusalem, which is touted as the capital of a future Palestinian state. While militant rocket attacks on Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip have aggravated Israel.

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