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Palestinian PM Urges Bush Not to Make Concessions on 'Road Map' Peace Plan - 2004-04-14


Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia urged President Bush not to make major concessions to Israel, saying this will destroy hopes for peace. Mr. Qureia issued his appeal as Mr. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon prepared to meet at the White House to discuss the Israeli leader's plan for disengagement from the Palestinian areas.

Mr. Qureia warned Mr. Bush against granting Israeli demands to recognize Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank and to restrict the rights of Palestinian refugees.

He told reporters that the Palestinian leadership had genuine concerns about reports that the U.S. administration is seriously considering granting such concessions when Mr. Bush meets Mr. Sharon at the White House.

The two leaders are to discuss Mr. Sharon's plan to pull troops and Jewish settlements out of the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.

Mr. Sharon said before leaving that his initiative also would allow Israel to hold onto five large West Bank Jewish settlement blocs.

One of these is Maale Adumim on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where Mr. Sharon chose to make his statement.

Mr. Qureia condemned Mr. Sharon's proposals and urged Mr. Bush not to embrace them.

?All [Jewish] settlements are illegal and unacceptable, and what he [Mr. Sharon] said in Maale Adumim is a kind of new aggression. It may destroy the peace process,? Mr. Qureia said.

He says the Palestinian leadership is meeting to discuss, "dangerous developments" and would be closely monitoring the outcome of the summit between Mr. Bush and Mr. Sharon.

The Palestinian prime minister urged Mr. Bush to back only an Israeli withdrawal that is in accordance with the international Road Map to Peace plan.

The plan, backed by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state by 2005.

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