The conference, which lasts only one day, is attended by US, Palestinian, and Israeli leaders and representatives of 40 countries and international organizations. In his opening speech, US President Bush reads the "Joint Understanding" finalized less than one hour before by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel PM Ehud Olmert. The statement does not resolve any of the substantive issues that have separated the two sides at their talks during the preceding weeks, such as borders, settlements, Jerusalem, and refugees. It only affirms "the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security" and their agreement to "immediately launch" bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty and to "make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008." It is agreed that a steering committee to oversee the work of negotiation teams will meet on 12 December and that Abbas and Olmert will meet on a bi-weekly basis. The two sides also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations specified in the 2003 Road Map and agree that the US will monitor and judge the fulfillment of these commitments. The "Joint Understanding" proclaimed at the Annapolis Conference heralds the official resumption of the final status talks that ended in Taba on 27 January 2001.