American President George W. Bush said on Friday he would tell Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at their next week meeting that there can be no expansion of Jewish settlements under the U.S.-backed road map for peace. "You bet," Bush said when asked if he would raise this issue on Monday when he meets Sharon at his Texas ranch.
"What I say publicly, I say privately," Bush told reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned from Pope John Paul II's funeral. "And that is the road map has clear obligations on settlements, and that we expect the prime minister to adhere to those road map obligations."
Israel plans to construct 3,500 homes between the major West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.
Israel's Vice Premier Shimon Peres met Thursday with U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney, and told him that for the time being Israel is not building the new neighborhoods near Ma'aleh Adumim.
"I will be talking to the prime minister about the need to work with the Palestinian government ... to facilitate success, to enhance success," Bush added on Friday.