Bush, King Abdullah discuss Mideast situation; U.S. President encouraged by Arafat anti-terror speech
U.S. President Bush called Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's condemnation of terrorism an "incredibly positive sign" Wednesday. He urged Israel to consider the consequences of any action it takes in retaliation for the latest suicide bombing.
"And whatever response Israel decides to take, my hope, of course, is that the prime minister keeps his vision of peace in mind," Bush said. "But (we've) got to want peace to achieve peace." He spoke at the beginning of a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II.
White House officials told AP Bush had no intention of dictating how Sharon should respond, nor did he expect Sharon to seek his approval before retaliating. "Israel is a nation that is a sovereign nation," Bush said.
Arafat, in a speech on Palestinian television, said Wednesday in Arabic that he had ordered his security forces to prevent terror attacks against Israeli civilians. Commenting on this, Bush said: "I hope that his actions now match his words."
"I hope that with our discussions today we can somehow try and articulate a way to bring Palestinians and Israelis to peace and security," the king said. He said Arab leaders would offer "the olive branch toward Israel" at a summit in Egypt on Saturday. It was unclear whether Arafat would attend. (Albawaba.com)
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