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Bush cites 'progress' in Middle East

Powell briefed President Bush on his trip to the Middle East.
Powell briefed President Bush on his trip to the Middle East.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush said Israel is adhering to a timetable for withdrawing its forces from the Palestinian West Bank, and he cited "progress" from Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent mission to the Middle East, dispite the fact that no cease-fire was secured.

Asked whether Israel had heeded his calls to promptly leave the Palestinian territory, Bush responded, "History will show that they've responded."

Powell briefed the president on his mission during an Oval Office meeting.

"Progress is being made toward our vision," Bush insisted, saying tensions in the region had reached a "boiling point" before Powell's arrival.

However, Powell's mission was also marred by a suicide bombing Friday in Jerusalem, which killed six people.

The president also appeared to signal his approval of Israeli forces continuing to pin down Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat at his Ramallah headquarters, saying he understood the Israelis' desire to bring to justice those responsible for a government minister's slaying last year.




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