Bush plans statement on Mideast peace
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Friday that after he holds talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over the next few days he will tell the nation "how I think we should move forward" on peace for the Middle East.
Bush told reporters progress is being made because Arab nations realize they have to be involved, but he continued to express frustration with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Bush will meet this weekend at Camp David with Mubarak. Sharon will fly to the United States this weekend for a meeting with Bush on Monday.
"After my meetings with President Mubarak and Prime Minister Sharon, I'll talk to our country about how I think we should move forward," said Bush. He said he had not decided on the forum for his remarks and refused to elaborate on what he might say.
"Progress is being made," he said. "The Arab world now understands they need to be involved in pushing for peace and fighting against the terrorist actions that make it very difficult to achieve a peace.
"I still am disappointed in Mr. Arafat's leadership. He needs to cut off the terrorist activities."
Mubarak will ask Bush to move forward on creating a Palestinian state.
In an interview with CNN, Mubarak said the creation of a state would give the Palestinians hope and would help end suicide bombing attacks against Israelis.
"I tell you we have to cure the cause which leads these people to make the suicide bomb. We have to find the cause and deal with the cause so as to put an end to suicide bombings," said Mubarak. But he added no one on either side could guarantee that the bombings would end.
Mubarak said Arafat is not able to stop the terror attacks because of the conditions he is living under in Ramallah.
"To control it in the atmosphere he is living in -- he has no control," said Mubarak. "He has no tools, no police, no intelligence."
Mubarak said the Israelis are always quick to blame Arafat when a terror attack occurs but he often has no involvement.
"In the last explosion," said Mubarak referring to a suicide blast Wednesday that killed 17 Israelis, "immediately Arafat is responsible, although we know that Arafat has no in hand in it completely."
But Sharon is expected to contend to Bush that there can be no progress on peace until Arafat is pushed aside.
Sharon's spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin, said Friday that Israel has intercepted more than 50 gunmen or bombers since late April.
"Either he's in control and the elected and selected leader of his people, and he takes full responsibility for actions emanating from that territory," said Gissin, referring to Arafat, "or he is incapable of doing it or doesn't want to do it, then maybe he should be replaced by someone who can do it."
Israeli newspapers carried stories Friday saying Sharon has made up his mind to expel Arafat but has not decided when.
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