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Rice: 'Serious' Israeli, Palestinian effort toward Mideast peace an administration priority

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Secretary of State Condoleezza said Monday that Israelis and Palestinians are making their most serious effort in years to resolve their conflict, which she called "one of the highest priorities" of the Bush administration.

An international peace conference expected to take place in Annapolis, Md., in November has to be substantive, Rice said at a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We frankly have better things to do than invite people to Annapolis for a photo op," she said.

Israelis and Palestinians, Rice added, are making their "most serious effort" in years to resolve the conflict.

Rice is on a four-day shuttle mission, trying to create some common ground ahead of the meeting. A State Department official hinted on Sunday that the conference might be postponed because of the gaps between the two sides.