US President George W. Bush stated Thursday after his meeting with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that in a few days, he would name a new security coordinator to take over for General Kip Ward. The new appointee will carry on Ward's work, mainly working with Abbas to dismantle the terror infrastructure.
Bush added that the Quartet would ask envoy James Wolfensohn to continue in his position till next spring, and oversee the establishment of the Rafah crossing, a permanent arrangement for Palestinian travel in and through the West Bank, and the start of work on a Palestinian seaport.
"The Palestinian Authority must earn the confidence of its people," Bush declared. "And it must earn the confidence of its neighbors by rejecting and fighting terrorism."
Abbas said that the window of opportunity created by the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank must remain open. "Outstanding issues must be addressed," Abbas insisted, citing the Gaza crossing and a permanent link between Gaza and the West Bank.
Abbas stated that the PA required the withdrawal of the IDF to positions that preceded September 28, 2000, and called for an end to the roadblocks that "have turned the lives of the Palestinians into a series of humiliations."
In approximately 100 days, Abbas reminded those present, the Palestinian people would elect their leadership for the first time in 10 years, an event that represents the renewal, the rebuilding, of the political process in the region.