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White House Welcomes Unofficial Mideast Peace Initiative, but Insists on Road Map Plan - 2003-12-02

The White House says it remains committed to the framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace known as the "road map." The authors of another unofficial peace plan hope to meet with administration officials later this week in Washington.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan says President Bush continues to believe the road map provides the best path to peace.

He says Mr. Bush believes discussions with private individuals or entities can be useful, and indicates talks on the unofficial peace plan will take place at the State Department despite objections from Israel.

But he makes clear the president will not be swayed from backing the road map, saying it is the only way to reach the goal of two states, Israeli and the Palestinians, living side by side in peace and security.

Speaking to reporters traveling with the president to a campaign event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. McClellan noted Mr. Bush called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before leaving the White House. He said they talked about contacts between the government of Israel and the new Palestinian cabinet, as well as the situation in Iraq.