Rice: 'It's Time for the Establishment of a Palestinian State'

Secretary of State Condoleezza said Monday it was "time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," and described Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts as the most serious in years.

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.

"Frankly, it's time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," she added.

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.

The Israelis and Palestinians are trying to work out an outline for a final peace deal ahead of the Annapolis conference, but tensions arose on Sunday when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet that he did not regard that outline as a prerequisite for the meeting to take place.

The Palestinians said that without such a document, they would not attend.

Israel has been pushing for a vaguely worded document while the Palestinians want a detailed outline, complete with a timetable for establishing a Palestinian state.