Israeli President Shimon Peres on Saturday expressed confidence that the outline of a final status peace agreement can be successfully negotiated with the Palestinians prior to a major Middle East peace summit to be held in Washington this November.
“I think we have a good chance now because the whole world is supporting (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas,” said Peres in an interview with Tokyo's Nikkei business daily.
The elder statesman admitted that working out the fine points of a final status agreement “will take more time, but (as for) principles, yes, we can achieve an agreement” before the summit.
US President George W. Bush has called for the regional gathering as a means of kick-starting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has faltered over the past seven years amid ongoing Palestinian terrorist violence and Israeli military reprisals. The landslide victory of the Hamas terrorist organization in last year's Palestinian parliamentary elections further buried any hope of resolving the conflict in the short term.
However, Hamas' military conquest of Gaza last June spawned what Israeli and Western officials believe is an opportunity to conclude a peace agreement between Israel and Abbas' West Bank-based government which will later take hold in Gaza as well.