US President George W. Bush said he was not ready to announce a "specific calendar" for announcing a Palestinian state, but called for beginning to reform the Palestinian Authority "immediately."
"We're not ready to lay down a specific calendar except for the fact we need to get started quickly, soon, so that we can seize the moment," Bush said Saturday at a joint press conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at Camp David.
"Here's the timetable I have in mind: we need to start immediately in building the institutions necessary for the emergence of a Palestinian state," Bush said.
Bush, who is set to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Monday, said he and the Egyptian leader agreed that the pursuit of what Washington says are crucial Palestinian reforms should go hand-in-hand with "a political dialogue."
"Part of the consultation process that we are having is to determine what's feasible in terms of that political dialogue, what's feasible in terms of the timetable that a lot of people are anxious to talk about," Bush said.
For his part, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called for a total Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian-held territories as well as a halt to all Israeli settlement activity there.
"Israel must end the siege imposed on the Palestinian people ... and halt assassinations and the repeated incursions in the territories under the control of the Palestinian Authority and immediately halt all settlement activities in the occupied territories," Mubarak said.
Despite Bush's frustration with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Mubarak urged, "We should give this man a chance." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )