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Israeli president hopes for peace with Palestinians

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ANKARA, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Monday he hoped a peace agreement with the Palestinians could eventually be achieved.

"Looking back over the past, I believe in establishing peace with Palestine," he told a news conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

Peres is to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of a U.S.-sponsored conference on the Middle East in Annapolis aimed at resuming Israeli-Palestinian dialogue after a seven-year break. The goal of the conference is to draw up a framework agreement outlining the principles for a peace settlement.

"Peace takes time. If we use it right, we will achieve peace," the Israeli president said.

The Israeli president had earlier said that one of the major issues on the agenda of negotiations in Ankara would be Turkey's possible mediation in the Middle East peace process.

Israel said earlier on Monday that it would release up to 400 Palestinians prisoners ahead of the peace conference in the U.S. at the end of the month.

The Palestinian National Authority has requested that a total of 2,000 of the 10,000 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli prisons be released. The list of prisoners does not include those who have links with the deaths of Israeli nationals.

The release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel is widely seen as an effort to bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, currently in a power struggle with the radical Islamist group Hamas, which took control of the Gaza Strip following violent clashes in June.

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