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Bush Assures Abbas that Palestinian State is High Priority

  • VOA News

US President George Bush says he has assured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that a Palestinian state is a high priority for his administration.

Mr. Bush made the comment at the White House on Thursday, after meeting with Mr. Abbas on advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

After the talks, Mr. Bush described the Palestinian leader as a man of peace and vision. He said he would meet with him again next month in the Middle East.

Mr. Abbas said the Palestinians believe that Mr. Bush is seeking a true and lasting peace in the Middle East. He said he cannot say that the road to peace is paved with flowers, but rather obstacles.

In talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Wednesday, Mr. Abbas said Israel's settlement activity in the West Bank is the biggest obstacle to the peace process.

The US-backed road map peace plan calls for a complete freeze in settlement activity.

Mr. Bush met Wednesday with Jordan's King Abdullah, who also called for fixed timetables in any peace deal and urged all parties to honor commitments made at a Middle East summit late last year in Annapolis, Maryland (near Washington).

Mr. Bush wants Israel and the Palestinians to complete a peace deal before he leaves office in January. Mr. Abbas has said that any deal must include specific timetables for the creation of a Palestinian state.

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