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Bush Meets With Palestinian President


President Bush has reaffirmed his support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, calling him a man of peace. They met as members of the diplomatic quartet on the Middle East gathered for talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

President Bush says Mahmoud Abbas is a man with a vision of peace, who can help make the plan for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute a reality.

"I can't thank you enough for the courage you have shown," Mr. Bush says. "I assure you our government wants to work with you so that you are capable of delivering the vision that so many Palestinians hope for and that is a society in which they can raise their children in peace and hope."

But the January victory in Palestinian elections by the militant group Hamas has weakened President Abbas.

America and the other members of the Quartet - the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - have refused to deal with the Hamas-led government. And while humanitarian aid is continuing, direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority has been suspended until Hamas agrees to recognize Israel and reject violence.

The Palestinian president is pushing the creation of a national unity government between his Fatah faction and Hamas as a way to bring the boycott to an end. As his meeting with Mr. Bush drew to a close, he told reporters that his people need help.

"Mr. President, we look forward to your support and your help and your aid because we are in dire need of your help and support," Mr. Abbas says.

Mr. Abbas said his people want peace, despite the election of Hamas. He told Mr. Bush the Palestinians will be faithful and true to peace, and vowed he would not be disappointed.

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