Rice concedes Mideast peace deal not likely by year-end

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) -- The Bush administration concedes an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal isn't possible by year's end.

Israel and the Palestinians set the deadline for an agreement at last November's summit in Annapolis, Maryland.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says the administration began to doubt the deadline months ago, as a corruption scandal involving Prime Minister Ehud Olmert created political uncertainties in Israel.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Israel today and plans to visit the Palestinian territories. With Israel planning elections in February, she says the situation is "a constraint on the ability of any government to conclude" a deal.

Still, Rice says "a firm foundation" has been established for negotiations and it's important to maintain momentum. She vows to work on the issue until the day that the Bush administration leaves office.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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