Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told lawmakers on Monday that it would be impossible to conclude a final status peace deal with the Palestinians by the end of the year due to remaining broad disagreements regarding future control of Jerusalem.
Olmert and US President George W. Bush had previously vowed that a peace deal would be in place by the end of Bush's second term in January.
Olmert did say during his briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, however, that all of the other points of contention between Israel and the Palestinians were close to being resolved.
Olmert said he still hoped to produce a preliminary accord with the Palestinians by the end of the year codifying the progress that had been made so far in negotiations. The prime minister said such a document, which US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was also pushing for, would represent a "historic agreement."
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