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Bush Meeting Separately With Palestinian, Lebanese Presidents


U.S. President George Bush is scheduled to meet Thursday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House for talks on the Middle East peace process.

The White House says Mr. Bush looks forward to speaking with Mr. Abbas about progress made toward building Palestinian institutions and toward realizing the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

Israeli and Palestinian officials have expressed doubt a final peace deal can be reached by the time President Bush leaves office in January.

In a series of meetings, Mr. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have made little progress in resolving key issues of the conflict. They include the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and the borders of a future Palestinian state.

Separately, Mr. Bush is also meeting today with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.

Lebanon's pro-Western and rival pro-Syrian political factions are working on a national defense strategy that could involve integrating the weapons arsenal belonging to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The United States considers Hezbollah a terrorist group.

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