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Source: Bush Palestinian plan follows Oslo lines

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will call for a transitional Palestinian state consisting of two areas as outlined in the Oslo accords, with Palestinians controlling security and administrative powers in one area, and Israel controlling security in the other area, an administration source told CNN.

Bush's proposal would track the so-called "A" and "B" areas outlined in the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinians. Those areas account for about 40 percent of the West Bank, as well as the majority of Gaza.

The lines of control over areas of the West Bank and Gaza were essentially erased during the Israel's military campaign in the West Bank in recent months, which came in response to an escalating series of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.

The source said Bush also will call for an international peace conference involving many moderate Arab states. The conference would lay out a number of possible peace plans, including the proposal from Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah that was agreed to by 22 Arab nations earlier this year.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan would not lay out details what the president will say in an upcoming speech on the Middle East. McClellan said an "important policy statement" on the issue would becoming from the president soon, but he would not say when.

Asked how much of the West Bank and Gaza would be included in the Bush proposal for a state, McClellan said the president has not yet said.

The spokesman also said the latest fatal suicide bombing in Israel does not change Bush's long-term goal of an independent, democratic Palestinian state. (See story)

"We're not going to lose sight of that focus," McClellan said. He refused to say, however, how Bush will articulate his vision of Palestinians living "side-by-side" in peace with Israel. Nor would he characterize Bush's deliberations on the matter.

Last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Bush was considering a "provisional" Palestinian state with borders that were not firmly set but one that would allow the Palestinians to negotiate as a nation with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejected the idea Sunday, saying the conditions were "not ripe" for such a move.

Report: Israel, Egypt briefed on speech

The London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat quoted a senior Egyptian official Tuesday as saying that Egypt and Israel had been given an outline of Bush's upcoming speech that includes a proposal for a peace conference, most likely in Washington during the U.N. General Assembly meeting in September.

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The newspaper's account said Syria and Lebanon will be invited to participate because Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa insisted they be included.

The conference would lay out a number of possible peace plans, including the proposal from Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah that was agreed to by 22 Arab nations earlier this year.

Under the Saudi proposal, the Arab world would normalize relations with Israel in exchange for Israel withdrawing to the borders in place before the 1967 Six Day War.

The administration source said Bush also will call for the reorganization of the Palestinian Authority. The overhaul would modify the security forces and bring in other Palestinian groups besides those run by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The source said Bush's speech will not spell out the details of more contentious issues, such as the final borders of a Palestinian state, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the fate of Jerusalem.

The administration official said the Bush proposal is meant to widen the circle of participants, so that the focus is not on Arafat or Sharon.



 
 
 
 







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