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2005: Mid-East leaders announce truce

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon have declared a truce to end four years of Middle East violence.

Mr Abbas said the ceasefire, which begins immediately, would lead to a "new era of peace and hope".

Mr Sharon vowed to cease military action against Palestinian targets after militant groups halted violence.

In response, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it was the best chance for peace in years.

Mr Sharon and Mr Abbas did not sign a formal ceasefire deal. Their talks were wide-ranging and also included agreements on the release of Palestinian prisoners and the handover of five West Bank towns to Palestinian control.

The meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh was the highest-level discussion between the two sides since the Palestinian intifada (uprising) began more than four years ago.

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