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Sharon to White House for Talks in April


News reports in Israel Sunday say Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will travel to Washington next month for meetings with President Bush to discuss the Jewish state's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

A meeting between Mr. Bush and Mr. Sharon reportedly has been scheduled for April 12. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to meet Mr. Bush at the White House at about the same time, but he and Mr. Sharon will not take part in joint talks.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice disclosed the Sharon and Abbas visits during her visit to Israel last month. Today's report is the first word of a date for the White House talks.

President Bush has said he is committed to helping Israel and the Palestinians move toward a lasting peace and an independent Palestinian state.

Israel's foreign minister Silvan Shalom is due to meet with Ms. Rice in Washington on Tuesday.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

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