President Bush hailed Palestinian leader Mohmoud Abbas' moves toward democracy on Thursday and said Washington will provide $50 million in housing aid for Palestinians in Gaza.
"You have made a new start on a difficult journey, requiring courage and leadership each day. And we will take that journey together," Bush told Abbas following their meeting in the White House.
When Bush was asked whether he was satisfied with the way in which Abbas has dealt with Hamas and other armed groups, the US leader noted that Abbas ran on a platform of peace. "He said, 'Vote for me, I am for peace,' and the Palestinians voted overwhelmingly to support him," Bush said. "That's what he said he's going to do, and now he's doing it."
According to The AP, the U.S. president said a sovereign Palestinian state was in Israel's interest. "A state of scattered territories will not work," Bush said. "This is the position of the United States today. It will be the position at the time of final-status negotiations."