Bush urges Abbas to do more to stop attacks against Israel


World Digest


WASHINGTON -- President Bush politely urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday to do more to crack down on attacks against Israel, to move forward long-stalled Middle East peace negotiations.

But Bush acknowledged that the negotiations have slowed to the point that he is unlikely to reach his goal of an independent Palestinian state before he leaves office in 2009.

"I can't tell you when it's going to happen," Bush said. "And the reason I can't is because there will be moments of progress, and there will be moments of setback. The key is to keep moving forward ... ."

Bush told Abbas that the best way to proceed is by "confronting the threat that armed gangs pose to a genuinely democratic Palestine" and to a "lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians."

Bush said he would name a new senior U.S. security coordinator in the region to help Abbas and the Palestinian Authority fulfill their responsibility under the so-called "road map" peace plan.

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