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Bush, Mubarak Meet at Camp David


President Bush and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are holding crucial talks on the Mideast peace process at Camp David, the presidential retreat near Washington.

President Mubarak is expected to press Mr. Bush to set a deadline for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw troops from Palestinian areas.

He also wants a clear timetable for the establishment of a Palestinian state, which the Egyptian leader says is the best way to stop suicide bombings.

President Bush backs the idea of a separate state but says Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat must first show he is serious about ending the violence. "I still am disappointed in Mr. Arafat's leadership," he said. "He needs to cut off the terrorist activities."

In a U.S. television interview, President Mubarak said Mr. Arafat should not be held responsible for continuing attacks because he says the Palestinian leader does not have the security or intelligence services to prevent suicide bombings as those groups themselves have been under attack from Israeli troops.

President Mubarak met earlier Friday with Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Ms. Rice will join President Bush and President Mubarak for a private dinner at Camp David Friday evening.

They will be joined Saturday morning by other officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, for expanded discussions on the Middle East crisis. The two leaders are then expected to take questions from the press.

President Bush meets with Prime Minister Sharon on Monday. Following those talks, Mr. Bush says he will make a statement on how the U.S. should proceed in the Middle East peace process.

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