Better days: Flanking President Bush, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (right) shakes hands with Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during last November’s peace talks in Annapolis, Md.
In keeping with the tradition of U.S. presidents attempting to forge peace agreements during their last years in office, President Bush remains optimistic about securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in the final 10 months of his administration despite the recent outbreak of violence in the Middle East.
Mr Bush said there was “plenty of time to get a deal done” in the remaining 10 months of his presidency.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas broke off contacts with Israel at the weekend after its recent military offensive in Gaza killed more than 120 Palestinians.
Earlier, Mr Abbas said a ceasefire was needed before the talks could progress.
Speaking after holding talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Ramallah, he urged Israel to “halt its aggression so the necessary environment can be created”.