US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday said it remains her government's intention to oversee a final status Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before its second term in the White House expires one year from now.
Speaking to reporters in Washington, Rice admitted there is no guarantee of success, but indicated the Bush Administration will continue its policy of ignoring warnings that the current Palestinian leadership is not a viable peace partner and press ahead nevertheless.
Striking a messianic note, Bush declared several years ago that he was "convinced that, during this term, I will manage to bring peace."
That determination notwithstanding, Israeli President Shimon Peres, one of the chief architects of the two-state solution Bush is now championing, lamented on Thursday that efforts to secure regional peace by surrendering Israel's biblical heartland to its enemies will not result in a peace agreement by the time the current American government leaves office.
"It is theoretically possible to reach an agreement during the term of President Bush but it is practically impossible," Peres told Japan's Tokyo Shimbun.
Peres said the upcoming Bush-hosted peace summit in Annapolis, Maryland will, in his estimation, launch a new and meaningful negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinians, but that the chances of that process reaching a full conclusion within a year were next to nothing.