Bush Arrives in the Middle East
The President is hopeful that he can bring calm to a region torn by violence. "I think we'll make some progress," said President Bush. "I know we're making progress."
On Wednesday, Bush will meet Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Aqaba, Jordan. There, he will urge the leaders to move forward on his "road map" for peace. The road map calls for a Palestinian state, and gradual agreements by both Palestinians and Israelis sides to stop the violence.
At the meeting, Abbas plans to declare that the intifada, or armed uprising against Israel, "must come to an end, and we will turn to peaceful measures." Israeli officials were disappointed that he didn't make a stronger statement against terrorism.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is traveling with President Bush, encouraged Palestinians to speak out against "those who practice terror and violence." He also cheered Sharon's recent statement that he would not keep the Palestinians under occupation.
The trip marks President Bush's first visit to the Middle East.
"My country and I will put in as much time as necessary to achieve the vision of two states living side by side in peace," he said before boarding a plane to Egypt.
Meetings Around the World
President Bush headed to Egypt from a conference in Evian, France, with seven other foreign leaders. The conference, between the leaders of the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Russia, was reportedly very tense. Several leaders had refused to support a war with Iraq.
President Bush's trip began last Friday, when he visited Poland. On Saturday, he left for St. Petersburg, Russia, where he met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.