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White House Still Committed to Middle East Peace Despite Abbas Resignation - 2003-09-07


The White House says it will continue to work toward Middle East peace following the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas. Mr. Abbas was central to President Bush's plan for reforms to the Palestinian Authority.

The Bush administration says it will continue to work with Israeli, Palestinian, and neighboring Arab leaders toward a two-state solution to Middle East violence through the so-called "road map" for peace negotiated by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

In a written statement, the White House said it is following events in the region closely and hopes the Palestinian legislature will empower its prime minister to bring a better way of life to the Palestinian people by supporting a cabinet committed to fighting terrorism, enacting political reforms, and rooting out corruption.

At what it calls this critical moment, the Bush administration says it is important that all parties carefully consider the consequences of their actions.

President Bush has consistently refused to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat who, he says, is not doing enough to stop terrorist attacks against Israelis. The appointment of Prime Minister Abbas was seen as an important step forward for this latest peace plan which hopes to bring about a separate Palestinian state by 2005.

The prime minister's resignation puts that process in doubt, as U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says Mr. Abbas' departure will cause inevitable delays.

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