Bush urges Sharon not to expand West Bank settlements
US President George W. Bush urged Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Monday to abandon plans to expand a major Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Sharon said he agreed with Bush on the general outlines of the internationally negotiated "road map" peace plan, but that some settlements in the West Bank are considered part of Israel and would remain under his government's control.
Sharon also said Israel would not move forward on the road map until the Palestinians take serious steps to crack down on armed groups and ensure "a full cessation of terror." "It should be completely quiet," the Israeli leader said.
Bush had praised the Palestinian leadership, but also made clear more must be done. "I appreciate the fact that they've taken some action on security," Bush said of the Palestinians. "We want to continue to work with them on consolidating security forces."
Bush said he reiterated to Sharon the road map's immediate demands: that Israel remove any unauthorized outposts in the Palestinian territories and "meet its road map obligations regarding settlements in the West Bank."
"I told the prime minister not to undertake any activity that contravenes the road map or prejudices final status obligations," Bush said.
Sharon promised to Bush that he would remove "unauthorized outposts." "As to settlements, Israel will meet all its obligations under the road map," he said.
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