Bush wants powerful Palestinian PM before unveiling Middle East ''road map''
President George W. Bush announced Friday that he would unveil his "road map" for Middle East peace once a new Palestinian prime minister with real governing authority takes office.
"We have reached a hopeful moment for progress," in the stalled peace process, Bush said in a White House appearance.
He called on both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to "abandon old hatreds and to meet their responsibity for peace."
He said the "road map" would set forth a sequence of steps, "goals shared by all the parties." Bush spoke Friday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah II shortly before the address.
"To be a credible and responsible partner, the new Palestinian prime minister must hold a postion of real authority," Bush said. "We expect that such a ... prime minister will be confirmed soon. Immediately upon confirmation, the road map for peace will be given to the Palestinians and the Israelis."
"The time has come to move beyond entrenched positons and to take concrete actions to achieve peace," Bush said.
"The government of Israel, as the terror threat is removed and security improves, must take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable and credible Palestinian state and to work as quickly as possible toward a final status agreement," the American leader said.
"As progress is made toward peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end," he declared.
"And the Arab states must oppose terrorism, support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine and state clearly that they will live in peace with Israel."
Bush made the announcement in the Rose Garden, standing alongside Secretary of State Colin Powell. The president declined to answer questions.
Reacting to the announcement, Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat said it was "high time for the American president to introduce the road map for implementation."
"As far as the appointment of the Palestinian prime minister is concerned, all the necessary political and legal steps have been taken," he told The Associated Press. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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