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Israel/Palestinian Authority agree to cease-fire deal

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As noted yesterday, a Israel/Palestinian Authority cease-fire deal has been announced this morning after meeting with Condoleezza Rice and agreeing to separate meetings in the U.S. with President Bush.

Let’s see what happens next. 

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt — Palestinians and Israelis will halt all violence against each other, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (search) and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Tuesday, a move aimed at ending four years of violence and entering a new period of peace talks.

“We have agreed with [Israeli] Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (search) to cease all acts of violence against the Israelis and the Palestinians wherever they are,” Abbas said in a statement at the end of a landmark summit with Sharon in Egypt.

Sharon, meanwhile, declared that Israel will stop military activity against Palestinians everywhere. He said he hopes the new Palestinian leader will lead his people to statehood.

“We have an opportunity to get on a new path,” Sharon said as leaders from both sides met Tuesday. “For the first time in a long time, there’s a chance, a hope, for a new future.”

Sharon added, however, that both sides have to “proceed cautiously,” saying extremists will oppose the “fragile” deal.

Abbas called Tuesday “the day to implement the first step of the [Mideast] road map.”

“What we have agreed upon today is just the beginning to start a new relationship,” Abbas added.

Before formal word came of what could be a historic cease-fire deal, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said the first steps have been taken to resume the Middle East peace process and called Tuesday’s summit in Egypt a “positive moment” that has been long awaited.

Sharon and Abbas went into a brief meeting about two hours after the summit began — their first since Abbas succeeded Yasser Arafat (search) after his November death.

An invitation to both sides to meet separately with President Bush (search) at the White House this spring added momentum on the summit’s eve.

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