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Bolton questions Annapolis peace talks

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The former U.S ambassador to the United Nations criticized the Arab-Israeli peace talks scheduled in Maryland, calling the timing "a mistake."

John Bolton spoke before an audience at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank where Bolton now sits. He said the Arab-Israeli peace talks scheduled for late November or early December are premature, adding the situation is not ripe for a positive outcome, the Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

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"It's a mistake to push ahead with the Annapolis peace conference in November or December," Bolton said. "I just don't see this as the moment to make progress on Israeli-Palestinian matters."

Bolton's criticism cited an Israeli government plagued with "internal political difficulties" and a Palestinian Authority "broken perhaps beyond repair" as handicapping any potential outcome of the scheduled talks.

He criticized the lack of response by the Bush administration to the Sept. 6 Israeli strike on an alleged Syrian weapons facility. Bolton said the administration was so focused on diplomacy with North Korea, it overlooked Pyongyang's role in helping develop the Syrian facility, the Post said.

Bolton also criticized U.S. handling of Iran and its nuclear ambitions, saying it was a mistake to allow Britain, France and Germany try to negotiate a solution.

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