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Bush Says US Committed to Middle East Peace Effort

U.S. President George Bush says he remains committed to helping Israeli and Palestinian leaders reach a peace accord by the end of the year.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Egypt Saturday, Mr. Bush said he is determined to help achieve what he called "the dream" of establishing an independent Palestinian state. He said the creation of such a state would offer an opportunity to end the suffering in Palestinian territories, and move toward lasting peace.

Mr. Bush made the comments Saturday following separate talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Earlier Saturday, Mr. Bush commented on his visit Friday to Saudi Arabia. He told reporters a recent modest increase in oil production by Saudi Arabia will not solve the problem of soaring gasoline prices in the United States.

Mr. Bush said he is pleased that Saudi Arabia has begun increasing its crude-oil production this month by 300,000 barrels a day - slightly more than three percent. However, he says that increase is not enough to meet demand for fuel.

Saudi Arabia says the increase was intended to make up for declining production by Venezuela and Mexico.

During talks on Friday at King Abdullah's ranch near Riyadh, the president asked for a bigger boost in Saudi oil production, but the request was turned down. Saudi Arabia's oil minister said the kingdom has done as much as it can to meet its customers' needs.

Egypt is the last stop on President Bush's Middle East tour. Before his stops in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, he visited Israel to join in celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.