Key world leaders came to Annapolis last month to outline a plan for bringing peace to the Middle East, and they left town with a commitment to resume talking – and working – in the coming year.
Representatives from more than 40 countries and organizations, including Saudi Arabia, attended the conference dedicated to creating peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The international affair was held in the Naval Academy’s stately Memorial Hall.
At the end of the day-long affair, a stern-sounding Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters “we expect broad international attendance” at future meetings, and other countries must “pledge tangible and generous assistance” to helping develop a nation for the Palestinians.
Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham H. Foxman said this week that the process may work because President Bush, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are desperate for success.
“The caution is still out there, but so far, nobody is disappointed,” Mr. Foxman said. “It is always a question of timing, and maybe the timing is that this administration is coming to a close and Bush is weak, and Abbas is weak and Olmert is weak, and all three need to accomplish something – they all want to leave a legacy.”
Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, took a wait-and-see attitude toward the Annapolis Peace Talks.
“To me, it is about action instead of meetings and places,” Mr. Rehab said. “We have had so many attempts over the years, it remains whether we will see any actionable items. Peace will be achieved when justice is achieved.”