Abbas, Abdullah head to DC for meetings with Bush

PA president wants to ensure current Palestinian-Israeli talks don't result in vague final status plans.

abbas abdullah 298.88 (photo credit: AP/H.O. Jordan Royal Palace)
abbas abdullah 298.88
(photo credit: AP/H.O. Jordan Royal Palace)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah will both meet with US President George W. Bush in Washington this week to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The two leaders will be visiting with Bush in the weeks before the president plans to return to the region to mark Israel's 60th birthday. Several high-level American officials have already made recent trips to the region to see that efforts between Israeli and Palestinian leaders are intensified in the remaining months of the Bush administration, with Bush himself taking on a more personal, if still limited, role in the process. Abbas, who was in Tunisia Monday before continuing on to Washington Tuesday, told reporters there that he wanted to make sure the current talks didn't result only in a vague formulation on final status issues. "I will focus in my talks with President Bush and American officials on the negotiations and on ending talks with an agreement this year," he said, according to Reuters. Abdullah's visit is also expected to address the continuing crisis in Lebanon, as well as bilateral ties between the two countries. The king, whose trip wasn't announced until Monday, is coming at Bush's invitation, according to the Jordanian embassy. He will meet with Bush on Wednesday, while Abbas's meeting is due to take place Thursday. White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, in remarks made ahead of the announcement of Abdullah's visit, said the meeting with Abbas added to an ongoing process begun at Annapolis in November. "It's part of the continuing efforts of President Bush and this administration to work with both the Palestinians and the Israelis, as well as other countries in the region, in realizing a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel," he said.