Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas on Friday said that Israel must halt construction of the so-called West Bank "separation fence" and all settlement activity for there to be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, after talks with U.S. President George W. Bush in the White House.
Speaking at a joint press conference in the Rose Garden, Abbas said that the Palestinians "do not merely seek a state, but one that is built on solid foundations."
"I think the wall is a problem," Bush said in response to a reporter's question after both leaders delivered their statements. The U.S. President said it was difficult to create confidence between Israel and the Palestinians with a wall "snaking" its way through the West Bank. Bush said that he had expressed this to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and that Sharon had agreed to discuss the issue with him.
"I'm gaining confidence in the Palestinian Prime Minister and the great cabinet," Bush added.
Abbas, making his first visit to Washington in his new post, said in his remarks that the meeting with Bush was "fruitful," and thanked the U.S. President for $20 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. (Albawaba.com)
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