US newspaper: Bush considering Middle East visit to salvage ''road map''
U.S. President George W. Bush is considering making his first trip to the Middle East as president in the next few weeks to salvage the road map to Middle East peace, the New York Times reported on its Web site late on Tuesday.
A visit to Israel is possible but unlikely, the newspaper reported, citing administration officials, who were not named.
Officials told the Times that Bush could meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on a side trip from a meeting he is planned to attend later this month in the French Alps.
However, a disagreement among administration officials was reported by the Times over whether Bush should get more involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Earlier Tuesday, Bush telephoned both Sharon and his newly-elected Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to urge both sides to move ahead with the road map. The American leader also spoke with Egypt's president, Husni Mubarak.
In the conversation with Sharon, it was agreed that Dov Weisglass, head of the prime minister's bureau, would depart for Washington on Tuesday night to continue discussions with the administration on the political process with the Palestinians.
Sharon and Bush also agreed to meet soon. The Israeli leader was to leave Israel on Sunday to meet with the president, but postponed the trip due to the recent wave of suicide bombings, that killed 12 Israelis.
Citing sources in Washington, Israel's Army Radio reported that the two would probably not meet in the coming weeks due to Bush's busy schedule. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)