Mideast leaders promise 'new era of peace'
What I like about this article is the clever use of the word "moribund."
WASHINGTON -- Palestinian and Israeli leaders publicly pledged yesterday "to usher in a new era of peace," promising intensive, ongoing negotiations aimed at striking a deal before U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office.
With a handshake at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas restarted the long-moribund peace process as Mr. Bush beamed.
The ceremonial launch sets the stage for months of tough talks on the most divisive issues, including Jerusalem's future and the right of Palestinian return, that have repeatedly derailed previous peace efforts. Mr. Abbas and Mr. Olmert, both sapped by political crisis, now face the staggering task of selling painful and unpopular concessions to their own skeptical populations.
Talks will begin Dec. 12, probably in Jerusalem. The leaders will oversee negotiating teams and meet at least every two weeks. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Mr. Olmert and Mr. Abbas would meet today at the White House.
Mr. Bush said the time was right because both Israeli and Palestinians leaders were committed to peace, a not-so-subtle reference to Yasser Arafat, the former Palestinian leader regarded by Mr. Bush as an unfit partner who undermined the last major effort by a U.S. president to broker a peace deal.
But Mr. Bush also cast the relaunched peace process as part of his wider war on terrorism.
"The time is right because the battle is under way for the future of the Middle East. And we must not cede victory to the extremists, with their violent actions and contempt for human life," Mr. Bush said.