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Bush Calls Goal of Establishing Palestinian State by 2005 'Realistic' - 2003-07-30

President Bush says the goal of establishing a Palestinian state by 2005 is realistic. Mr. Bush also said the United States can help the new Palestinian cabinet root out terrorism.

There has been progress and setbacks on the road to peace. Palestinian and Israeli leaders are meeting with some regularity, and some confidence building measures have been taken.

But Israel is continuing to build a security fence in the West Bank, and complains the Palestinian Authority is not doing enough to crack down on militants.

Despite all this, President Bush says he still believes a Palestinian State can be achieved under the timetable contained in the so-called roadmap drafted by the United States, Russia, the U.N. and the EU. "I do think it is realistic. I also know when we start sliding goals it makes progress less realistic," he said.

Mr. Bush said he believes Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas is committed to root out terror, and says the United States can help the Palestinian security forces in various ways. The president discussed the matter with Mr. Abbas last Friday, and met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Tuesday.