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Bush - 'Israelis trust him'
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Report: US will not force Israel's hand in Annapolis
Washington Post reports President Bush unlikely to force Prime Minister Olmert to make difficult decisions during peace talks. White House officials say Bush highly skeptical of Palestinians' ability to deliver

WASHINGTON – The United States has no intention of pressuring Israel into unexpected decisions at the upcoming peace conference in Annapolis, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

 

According to senior White House staffers quoted in the report, US President George W. Bush feels "the war on terror makes for a special bond between the US and Israel.

 

"The president remains skeptical as to the Palestinians' ability to make the necessary concession for achieving peace," added the sources.

 

This feeling of closeness, said the report, probably means the US has no intention of pressuring Israel in next Tuesday's negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. "The Israelis trust Bush… if they're going to take any chances, they'd rather do it with him, not his successor," said the officials.

 

Meanwhile the Israeli delegation's hectic Annapolis schedule has been released. The round of appointments will be kicked-off on Sunday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington.

 

On Monday, Olmert and Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni are scheduled to meet with Bush, Rice and US Vice President Dick Cheney in an attempt to finalize the details before heading out to Annapolis.

 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak , who was extended an invitation to the conference by Olmert, will meet with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Tuesday.

 

On Wednesday, the day after the conference, Olmert will return to Washington for another meeting with Bush, this time regarding Iran and Syria.

 

Later next week Cheney and other senior White House officials are scheduled to meet with Israeli delegates for a series of discussion regarding the Iranian threat to the region.

 

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