Livni: Annapolis offers chance for common ground

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday that a planned US-sponsored peace conference offers a chance to find "common ground" with Palestinians, but cautioned it was only part of the process and that what came after the meeting would be just as important. Tzipi Livni praised the Palestinians for making "the right steps on the ground," an apparent reference to security measures taken by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. She also called on Arab countries to support "moderate Palestinians." Abbas's Fatah movement governs the West Bank but is not in control of the Gaza Strip, which remains in the hands of the hardline Hamas movement, whose leaders have never retracted their calls for Israel's destruction. Livni made the comments at the end of a meeting of European and Middle Eastern foreign ministers being held in the Portuguese capital. The meeting is part of an intensified diplomatic push by Washington and the European Union to lay the groundwork for a peace conference due to take place in Annapolis, Maryland at the end of November.