US President George W. Bush told Palestinians on Thursday that if they want peace, they must have a leader who "fights terror".
On Arafat, Bush said he "has failed as a leader" and accused him of forcing the resignation of a Prime Minister who had worked for peace.
"Hopefully, at some point in time, a leadership of the Palestinian leadership will emerge which will then commit itself 100 percent to fighting off terror," Bush said as he met at the presidential retreat in Camp David with visiting Jordanian King Abdullah II.
On the Middle East, Bush said he regretted that former Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas had been forced to resign.
"His efforts were undermined and that's why we're still stalled," Bush conveyed. He added that he was specifically blaming Arafat for the breakdown in the peace process.
"Mr. Arafat has failed as a leader...The people of the Palestinian territories must understand that if they want peace, they must have leadership who is absolutely 100 percent committed to fighting off terror," he said.
Bush mentioned that he had last met Abdullah three months ago in Aqaba, Jordan, when the king hosted a three-way summit among Bush, Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to launch a U.S.-backed "road map" to peace.
"Prime Minister Abbas made a good-faith effort to meet the commitments made at Aqaba, yet at every turn he was undercut by the old order," Bush said, according to AP.
"I remain committed - solidly committed - to the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security. Yet that will only happen with new Palestinian leadership committed to fighting terror not compromised by terror."
On his part, Jordan's King Abdullah II praised Bush for the "strong genuine dedication you have shown" in attempting to get the Middle East peace process going.
"It took a lot of courage to come to the Middle East," Abdullah said. "Unfortunately, there is a lull at the moment," he added. (Albawaba.com)
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