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Palestinian Official: Mideast Conference Should Set 6-Month Deadline for Peace Deal

A Palestinian official says an upcoming U.S.-sponsored Mideast conference should set a six-month deadline for the completion of a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Information Minister Riad Malki says final-status talks will be based on a joint document that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are to begin drafting next week. He says an agreement, which is expected to call for Palestinian statehood, will be presented for endorsement at the Mideast peace conference being hosted by the United States next month.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met in Jerusalem Wednesday.

The two leaders have differences about what they want included in the document. Mr. Abbas has said he wants a comprehensive statement that addresses the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and final borders, while Mr. Olmert favors a general declaration of principles.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is to travel to the Middle East next week to try to bridge differences between both sides before the conference.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.