News

    US Reports Progress in Mideast Talks

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The Bush administration says Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are making significant progress toward an independent Palestinian state. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from Egypt where officials say U.S. President George Bush may return to the Middle East if it will help the process.

    U.S. National Security Adviser Steve Hadley says President Bush is encouraged by progress in Israeli-Palestinian talks.

    "What we have now is negotiations ongoing, extremely intensive at several levels between Israelis and Palestinians and tangible progress in dealing with the hard issues that are required before an agreement is reached,” he said. “Is it done yet? No. Are we making progress? The president's view is, 'yes' we are making progress."

    Hadley would not say what progress has been made on which issues, because he says both sides would prefer to keep that progress private until a final deal is reached.

    Speaking to reporters in Egypt before the president's speech at a global economic forum, Hadley says Mr. Bush will return to the region if there is something he can do to help advance the peace process.

    In his speech, President Bush says he believes Palestinians will build a thriving democracy.

    "We must stand with the Palestinian people, who have suffered for decades and earned the right to a homeland of their own,” he said. “I strongly support a two-state solution - a democratic Palestine based on law and justice that will live in peace and security alongside a democratic Israel."

    During this five-day trip, the president has been criticized by some Arab allies for being to close to Israel. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Israel's right to exist must be balanced with the legitimate historical and political rights of Palestinians.

    State-run media in Egypt said Mr. Bush aims to do nothing but appease Israel.

    The president says America will help Palestinians achieve a dream they share with Israelis.

    "A peace agreement is in the Palestinians' interest, it is in Israel's interest, it is in Arab states' interest, and it is in the world's interest,” he said. “And I firmly believe that with leadership and courage, we can reach that peace agreement this year."

    Mr. Bush says it is a demanding task that requires action on all sides.

    "Palestinians must fight terror and continue to build the institutions of a free and peaceful society,” he said. “Israel must make tough sacrifices for peace and ease restrictions on Palestinians. Arab states, especially oil-rich nations, must seize this opportunity to invest aggressively in the Palestinian people and to move past their old resentments against Israel. And all nations in the region must stand together in confronting Hamas, which is attempting to undermine efforts at peace with continued acts of terror and violence."

    One of the biggest obstacles to a peace deal is that Palestinians are divided between Hamas-controlled Gaza and the Fatah-led West Bank of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

    Wrapping up his five-day trip to the region, Mr. Bush says America is deeply concerned about political prisoners and democratic activists as well as newspapers and civil society organizations that have been shut down.

    "The time has come for nations across the Middle East to abandon these practices, and treat their people with dignity and the respect they deserve,” he said. “I call on all nations to release their prisoners of conscience, open up their political debate, and trust their people to chart their future."

    President Bush says too often in the Middle East, politics has consisted of one leader in power and the opposition in jail.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.