U.S. won't assess impact of Sharon's illness on peace process

U.S. officials said Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's grave illness does not necessarily mean the fitful Mideast peace process is in jeopardy, but they steered clear of predicting what would happen next.

Officials said privately that they assumed &to=http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/95/381/13499_sharonstone.html' target=_blank>Sharon had left the political stage, and that the era of politics and peacemaking he dominated was over. It will take time to sort out both Israel's political future and the U.S. response, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of Sharon's precarious health.

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