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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK
Mid-East roadmap 'stalled'
President Bush & King Abdullah
The leaders are discussing ways of getting the peace process moving

US President George W Bush has acknowledged the internationally-inspired peace process for the Middle East known as the roadmap is now stalled.

Mr Bush blamed what he described as Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's failed leadership, after talks with King Abdullah of Jordan at Camp David's presidential retreat in Maryland away from Washington which is being battered by Hurricane Isabel.

The people of the Palestinian territory must understand if they want peace, they must have leadership who is absolutely 100% committed to fighting off terror
President Bush
Mr Bush accused Mr Arafat of undermining the former Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, and said the Palestinian people must have a leader who is 100% committed to fighting terror if they want peace.

But he emphasised that he himself was still committed to the international peace plan.

Noticeably, Mr Bush had nothing encouraging to say about the newly-appointed Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmed Qurei, but indicated great respect for his ousted predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas, whose forced resignation Mr Bush regretted, says the BBC's David Bamford in Washington.

"I believed Prime Minister Abbas, when he told me at Sharm el-Sheikh, then at Aqaba, then the Oval Office, he would do everything in his power to fight terror, that he would work to consolidate the security forces so that he could fight terror - and his efforts were undermined, and that's why we're now stalled," Mr Bush said.

King Abdullah shared Mr Bush's assessment of the peace process: "Unfortunately there is a lull at the moment," the king said, adding he and Mr Bush were discussing ways to get the Israelis and Palestinians moving again toward peace.

UN resolution

The time is past for Arafat to become involved in negotiations
Jimmy Carter
former US President

In New York, a resolution demanding that Israel drop its threat to expel Mr Arafat from the West Bank is being taken to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, after a similar motion was vetoed by the US when it came before the Security Council on Tuesday.

The Arab League is persisting with efforts to have the UN condemn Israel.

It is asking the UN General Assembly to consider a similar resolution, even though its decisions are not binding.

On Thursday, Israeli troops killed another member of the military wing of Hamas amid heavy fighting after a raid into a refugee camp in Gaza.

Later in the day, a shootout in Gaza City between Palestinian security services and members of Hamas left three people injured.

Palestinian sources say the clash took place after the arrest of seven Hamas members who were detained on suspicion of the kidnapping of a policeman on Wednesday.




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