Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday he cannot impose law and order in the Palestinian areas until Israel hands over control of West Bank towns, and he urged it to return to talks concerning their transfer.
"We have no control on the ground," Abbas told a news conference in Ramallah.
Abbas, Palestinians officials said, will go to Washington within the next 10 days to meet President Bush. No exact date has been set for the visit.
Abbas said Palestinian forces would only be effective once Israeli troops leave West Bank cities. "Nobody can say we hold responsibility for the situation because we do not have a presence in the cities," he said.