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Palestinians disappointed with Bush (JERUSALEM-TIMES.NET) By TJT Staff 07/31/03) Source: http://www.jerusalem-times.net/article/news/details/detail.asp?id=3757
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Palestinians were disapointed with the US President George Bush for his tonning down his criticism against the Israeli security fence.
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Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas visit to Washington was successful, said Palestinian officials last Saturday. Abbas arrived in Washington late Wednesday and met US President George Bush at the White House on Friday.
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Abbas said that he ended a series of meetings with US officials having clarified the Palestinian position on a truce by Palestinian factions. The United States "has its approach to the matter. It wants us to dismantle the radical groups. We told them that if the truce remains in place, why should we use force against our own people?" Abbas said.
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He added "we have cleared up that point with the Americans. We explained what we are ready to do and what we cannot do," he said.
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Abbas made a strong pitch for the US president´s help in winning Israeli concessions. "All settlement activities must be stopped," Abbas said, "and the wall must come down." Bush´s vision of a Palestinian state by 2005 "cannot be realized if Israel continues to grab Palestinian land," Abbas said.
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Abbas was pleased with Bush´s support for a Palestinian state on contiguous territory and with Bush´s reaction to the "wall," as Palestinians call the security fence Israel is building along its border with the West Bank. Bush called it "a problem." The Palestinians have demanded Israel tear down the uncompleted fence, which is to curve deeply into the West Bank in some areas.
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Abbas met separately Thursday with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and senior members of Congress. He also visited Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell on Friday after the lunch with Bush.
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However, Abbas failed to convince Bush to endorse the Palestinian demand from Israel to release all Palestinian prisoners in its jails. Bush said he did not endorse a blanket release of Palestinian political prisoners.
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According to Palestinian sources the Palestinian delegation held a series of meetings with US officials that were dominated by security matters. They added that Minister for Security Affairs, Muhammad Dahlan had at least seven hours of meetings with national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and CIA director George Tenet.
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Information Minister Nabil Amr sounded optimistic and said "I consider this visit as a successful one, and I do hope the Israelis will fulfill their commitments," Amr said. "It´s not easy to solve all these problems in just one visit to Washington." (Copyrights © 2001 Jerusalem-Times.net 07/31/03)
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