Ahead of White House meeting: Abbas says Israel undermines Bush vision
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas urged American President George W. Bush to intervene to prevent the collapse of the Middle East peace process which he said was "under attack" from Israel.
In comments published ahead of Abbas' first meetings at the White House since being elected in January, the Palestinian leader noted the current calm in the region would end unless peace talks with Israel are activated. "President Bush has supported our quest for freedom, as he made clear in his vision of a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict," Abbas said in a commentary published in the Wall Street Journal newspaper.
Abbas reaffirmed Palestinian support for the proposal but said: "It is also, however, a vision that is under attack. "Every day Israel is undertaking steps that undermine President Bush's vision and effectively preclude a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The Palestinian leader went on: "I am ready immediately to sit down with Prime Minister (Ariel) Sharon and start permanent peace negotiations. When I meet with President Bush today I will ask him to fulfill his vision of two sovereign, viable democratic states, living side-by-side in peace and security."