The Annapolis Conference

The Annapolis Conference


On November 27, the United States hosted Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, Palestinian Authority President Abbas, along with key international actors for a conference at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

- Joint Understanding
- Address by Israel PM Ehud Olmert
- Selected speeches
- Annapolis: Excerpts from interviews with PM Olmert


Expectations: Launching the negotiating process

Dinner greetings by US President George Bush (26 Nov 2007):

We've come together this week because we share a common goal: two democratic states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security.

Achieving this goal requires difficult compromises - and the Israelis and Palestinians have elected leaders committed to making them. Achieving this goal requires neighbors committed to peace between Israel and a new Palestinian state - and I'm encouraged by the presence of so many here. Achieving this goal requires the commitment of the international community.

Statement by US President George Bush (25 Nov 2007):

I am pleased to welcome Prime Minister Olmert, President Abbas, and representatives of more than forty countries to the United States for the November 27 Annapolis Conference. The broad attendance at this conference by regional states and other key international participants demonstrates the international resolve to seize this important opportunity to advance freedom and peace in the Middle East.

This conference will signal international support for the Israelis' and Palestinians' intention to commence negotiations on the establishment of a Palestinian state and the realization of peace between these two peoples.

It will also provide an opportunity for the Israelis, the Palestinians, and their neighbors to recommit to implementing the Roadmap, with the U.S. monitoring their progress by the parties' agreement. Finally, the conference will review Palestinian plans to build the institutions of a democratic state and their preparations for next month's donors' conference in Paris.

I remain personally committed to implementing my vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

The Israelis and Palestinians have waited a long time for this vision to be realized, and I call upon all those gathering in Annapolis this week to redouble their efforts to turn dreams of peace into reality. I look forward to my discussions with Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas this week, as well as to addressing the conference along with them on Tuesday.

Source: White House

Middle East Quartet statement (26 Nov 2007):

The Quartet expressed strong support for the November 27 Annapolis Conference. It welcomed the commitment of the Israeli and Palestinians leaders to launch bilateral negotiations toward the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and the realization of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The Quartet welcomed the parties' continuing efforts to fulfill their respective commitments under Phase One of the Roadmap and urged the international community to provide robust support for all the parties' efforts. Principals took note of the broad international support for the Annapolis Conference, and looked forward to the December Paris Donors' Conference to muster international financial backing for efforts to build the foundation for a viable and prosperous Palestinian state.
- Full text

Briefing by PM Olmert (26 Nov 2007): 

Annapolis strength lies in absence of Hamas (Ynet): "Annapolis' greatest strength lies in the fact that even though it is taking place without Hamas, there are a great number of Arab nations in attendance. The international community understands that Hamas cannot be a part of this process."

Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (20 Nov 2007):

The goal of the Annapolis meeting is to put into motion serious, continuous and thorough negotiations between Israel and the PA that will lead us to deal with all substantive issues on the agenda of our relations with the PA ahead of agreement on a solution of two states for two peoples - a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people and the State of Israel, the national home of the Jewish people.

PM Ehud Olmert at the start of Cabinet meeting (19 Nov 2007):

Early next week, we will leave for the Annapolis meeting. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will accompany me; they will participate in the meeting and address it. This meeting, as I have said more than once, is not a conference for negotiations. It is an important meeting, initiated by US President George Bush.

FM Tzipi Livni at Cabinet meeting (19 Nov 2007):

I hope the Palestinians will understand the importance of the initiation of a substantial and serious process for the first time in seven years. IIf we are able to reach agreements that are acceptable to us, they will be firmly recognized by the international community as acknowledged agreements, especially with regard to security issues.

FM Tzipi Livni (18 Nov 2007):

The idea is to launch negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to address on the day after Annapolis all the issues that need to be addressed in order to establish a Palestinian state as part of the vision of two states for two peoples. The idea of the meeting is not to address the core issues but to launch the process.

U.S. President Bush meets with Middle East leaders at the Annapolis Conference (Photo: Reuters)

Quartet Middle East Envoy Tony Blair, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Annapolis Conference (Photo: Reuters)

"The conference will demonstrate international support for the commencement of negotiations on the realization of peace between two peoples"

Meetings of Israeli leaders

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meets with President Bush at the White House - Nov 26, 2007

PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. Prime Minister, welcome. It's an honor to have you back in the Oval Office. Thanks for coming to the Annapolis Conference. I'm looking forward to continuing our serious dialogue with you and the President of the Palestinian Authority to see whether or nor peace is possible. I'm optimistic, I know you're optimistic, and I want to thank you for your courage and your friendship. I'm proud of you.

PRIME MINISTER OLMERT: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I'm delighted to come with my colleagues another time to the Oval Office. This time it's different, because we are going to have lots of participants in what I hope will launch a serious process of negotiations between us and the Palestinians. This will be a bilateral process, but the international support is very important for us.

And I thank you for the efforts that you, President, made in order to make it possible, and the Secretary of State, together with us, in order to come to this point where from we and the Palestinians will sit together, in Jerusalem, and work out something that will be very good to create a great hope for our peoples.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, sir. Thank you all.

* * *


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meets with U.S. President Bush at the White House - Nov 26, 2007 (Photo: Reuters)

Annapolis Conference joint understanding and statements

Joint Understanding on Negotiations
27 November 2007

The representatives of the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), represented respectively by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas, in his capacity as Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian Authority, have convened in Annapolis, Maryland, under the auspices of President George W. Bush of the United States of America, and with the support of the participants of this international conference, having concluded the following Joint Understanding:

We express our determination to bring an end to bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples, to usher in a new era of peace, based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and mutual recognition, to propagate a culture of peace and non-violence, and to confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis.

In furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security:

  • We agree to immediately launch good faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, as specified in previous agreements.
  • We agree to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations, and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008.
  • For this purpose, a steering committee, led jointly by the head of the delegation of each party, will meet continuously, as agreed.
  • The steering committee will develop a joint work plan and establish and oversee the work of negotiations teams to address all issues, to be headed by one lead representative from each party.
  • The first session of the steering committee will be held on 12 December 2007.
  • President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert will continue to meet on a bi-weekly basis to follow up the negotiations in order to offer all necessary assistance for their advancement.

The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the Performance-Based Road Map to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, issued by the Quartet on 30 April 2003 (hereinafter, "the Roadmap") and agree to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism, led by the United States, to follow up on the implementation of the Roadmap. The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the Roadmap until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitments of both sides of the Roadmap.

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the Roadmap, as judged by the United States.

In conclusion, we express our profound appreciation to the President of the United States and his Administration, and to the participants of this international conference, for their support for our bilateral peace process.

Selected speeches:

- Address by US President George Bush
- Address by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
- Address by Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

- Opening remarks by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
- Address by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
- Address by Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
- Closing remarks by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Annapolis: Excerpts from interviews with PM Olmert

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