Al Jazeera correspondents put the statements of the three leaders in perspective.
“I believe that now is precisely the right time to begin these negotiations – for a number of reasons.”
Abbas laid out some core issues in his speech.
Olmert, for his part, reached out to Arab delegates by using the Arabic phrase for “welcome”.
Bush hopes the conference can prepare the way for a peace deal between Palestinians and the Israelis and the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of his second term of office.
“They feel they have no future of Gaza and they need to get out, but they cannot, because they are locked in by Israel.”
Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh said that clarity was lacking about what the parties were hoping to get out of the conference.
“We are not really certain what will come out of Annapolis … There isn’t even an agreement on the framework between Palestinians and Israelis,” Odeh said.
“They haven’t been able to agree on what they will discuss in Annapolis or what they will do the day after Annapolis which many people are saying is more important than Annapolis itself.”
Meanwhile, in the occupied territories, the situation was tense.
A Palestinian demonstrator was killed and dozens of others injured at an anti-Annapolis rally in the West Bank when clashes broke out between security forces and Hamas supporters.
Medics said the 35-year-old killed in Hebron had been shot in the chest and 16 others were injured on Tuesday as Palestinian security forces tried to disperse the protest.
Palestinian police also beat a number of journalists and cameramen during a protest march organised by the Liberation Party in Ramallah.
Wael al-Shiyukhi, Al Jazeera’s correspondent, was among those injured.
Medics said they treated four people and a Reuters journalist said he saw at least 30 people being arrested in Ramallah.
In Gaza City too, tens of thousands of Palestinians poured on to the streets with the full blessing of the Hamas authorities who condemned Arab governments for participating in the Annapolis conference.
“They can go to thousands of conferences and we will still say in the name of the Palestinian people that we do not accept,” Mahmud al-Zahhar, a senior Hamas leader, told the assembled crowd.