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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs