Bush backs creation of Palestinian state
Praises PA president for fighting extremism; Abbas: ME summit should focus on "issues of substance."
By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, AP
September 25, 2007 01:00
1 minute read.
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(photo credit: AP [file])
US President George W. Bush reaffirmed his support for a Palestinian state at a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in New York City on Monday.
"I strongly support the creation of a Palestinian state. I believe it's in the interests of the Palestinian people, I believe it's in the interests of Israel to have a democracy living side-by - democracies living side-by-side in peace," Bush said.
Bush met with Abbas ahead of his speech at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, at which he is expected to address some Middle East issues - particularly Iran - but focus primarily on other topics.
"The United States of America will work as hard as we possibly can to help you achieve the vision," of a Palestinian democracy at peace with Israel, Bush told Abbas.
Bush also praised Abbas for his performance in the face of daunting hurdles.
"I appreciate the fact that you're fighting the extremists who don't share the same kind of view," Bush said.
The president then received an update on the volatile region from his longtime ally Tony Blair, who after stepping down as British prime minister became the Mideast envoy for the Quartet _ the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia. Blair just completed his first extended visit to the region in his new role.
The Bush administration has been criticized for not working hard enough to create a Palestinian state, but has earned some plaudits for a recent push to get the sides talking ahead of an international meeting scheduled for November.
But Palestinians and Israelis have disagreed about the nature of the talks and what sort of agreement should come out of them.
Abbas on Monday reiterated the Palestinian perspective that the discussions focus on the "issues of substance that would lead to full negotiations on the permanent status that would lead to a permanent peace and a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians."