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Bush Reaffirms Stance on Middle East - 2002-06-26


President Bush has met separately in Kananaskis, Canada with Japanese Prime Minister Junihiro Koizumi and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien at the Group of Eight Summit outside of Calgary.

Mr. Bush met with the Canadian prime minister shortly after a meeting with Japan's leader. Asked after the meetings by reporters about his statement that the Palestinians needed new leadership, Mr. Bush again defended Israel's right to defend itself. And he said the Palestinian authority needs to reject corruption and build the institutions of a peaceful state.

"I will continue to remind all parties that they have responsibilities," he said. "And if there is a true desire for peace they ought to work for that peace. And everybody has a right to defend themselves. There also needs to be a vision of a way forward."

Mr. Bush said he will be seeking support for his mideast policies from his summit colleagues.

Referring to recent Canadian-U.S. trade tension, Mr. Bush said the problems are small compared to the enormous benefits both nations derive from bi-lateral trade. "There are some problems on occasion. But we've got the kind of relationship where we can be very frank about it and work them out," he said. "And the opportunities and the benefits from our relationship far exceed the few problems that face us."

Mr. Bush declined comment on the weakening U.S. dollar, except to repeat the long standing U.S. position that the dollar's level should be determined by market forces.

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