Bush rules out Middle East peace timetable

President George W Bush has rejected calls for setting a timetable for Middle East peace, saying he was not sure that elusive goal could be reached before he leaves office in January 2009.

Speaking on Thursday after talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, Bush said the Palestinian Authority must reject and fight terrorism for the Middle East peace process to be able to move forwards.

He said the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the West Bank had created new opportunities and responsibilities for the Palestinians.

"The way forward must begin by confronting the threat that armed gangs pose to a genuinely democratic Palestine," Bush said. "In the short term the Palestinian Authority must ... earn the confidence of its neighbours by rejecting and fighting terrorism," Bush said.


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