Al Jazeera correspondents put the statements of the three leaders in perspective.
George Bush, the US president whose term ends in November 2008, is expected to hold separate talks on Wednesday with Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, and Abbas, the Palestinian president, before calling for a tripartite meeting, a White House spokesman said.
Rice said Abbas and Olmert would meet again on December 12 and continue biweekly after that.
Bush said “Palestinians and Israelis each understand that helping the other to realise their aspirations is the key to realising their own, and both require an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state”.
“Such a state will provide Palestinians with the chance to lead lives of freedom, purpose and dignity. And such a state will help provide Israelis with something they have been seeking for generations: to live in peace with their neighbours.”
Bush said the Palestinians must improve security and stability in their territories and called for an end to Israeli settlement expansion.
But he did not mention the most intractable issues of borders, the final status of Jerusalem and refugees’ right of return.
Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis have indicated they would budge from their positions on those points.
“I believe that now is precisely the right time to begin these negotiations – for a number of reasons.”
“While this will be an extremely difficult process for many of us, it is nevertheless inevitable. I know it. Many of my people know it. We are ready for it.”
In Gaza, thousands of Palestinians staged a protest against the talks on Tuesday.
Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader and deposed Palestinian prime minister, said Abbas had gone to Annapolis without any support from his people and had no mandate to agree to anything to do with Palestinians’ rights.
Al Jazeera correspondent Rob Reynolds said, in what could be interpreted as a symbol of how deep his commitment to the process really is, the US president did not stay for the rest of the conference, leaving Annapolis as soon as the speeches were over.