Skip to comments.Bush invites Abbas to White House
Posted on 01/10/2005 8:29:14 AM PST by IAF ThunderPilot
U.S. President George W. Bush said Monday he would welcome newly elected Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to the White House, extending an invitation he refused to offer to the late Yasser Arafat.
Bush said he was heartened by the Palestinian elections and offered his congratulations to Abbas, who was elected by a landslide.
"I look forward to welcoming him here to Washington if he chooses to come here," the president said, talking with reporters in the Oval Office.
The U.S. president also said on Monday that Israel must continue to support the vision of a two-state solution, meet its obligations, and pull out of the territories, Israel Radio reported.
European countries also welcomed Abbas' election as a sign Palestinians want to reform their government and find a negotiated solution with Israel.
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said the peaceful vote was "a victory for democracy, a first victory for peace."
"No incident, a strong turnout: It's a proof of responsibility and maturity that the Palestinians have given," Barnier was quoted as telling French daily newspaper Le Parisien.
Barnier said the new president's first task "will be to reorganize the services of the Palestinian Authority as Yasser Arafat promised to do, in order to increase security guarantees for the Palestinians as well as for Israel."
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said his country and other European nations would do everything possible to help Abbas create an "independent, viable and democratic" Palestinian state.
"I trust that the Palestinian people will follow the path you have chosen of renouncing violence and carrying out comprehensive reforms," Schroeder wrote in a telegram to Abbas, whom he invited to visit Germany.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also sent a message to the Palestinian leader, looking forward to cooperation on achieving "a just Palestinian-Israeli settlement on the basis of the Road Map (peace plan) and resolutions of the UN Security Council..
"I am sure that your example of political experience will permit you to effectively perform the lofty mission entrusted to you by the Palestinian people," Putin wrote, according to his press office.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw congratulated Abbas after he won a landslide victory in the vote to replace the late Yasser Arafat, who led the Palestinian movement for four decades.
"The Palestinian people have already demonstrated their commitment to democracy," Straw told a news conference. "The challenge now is for the new president to use his mandate to lay the foundations for a new Palestinian state."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair planned to speak to Abbas by phone later Monday, Blair's official spokesman said. The two politicians met last month in Ramallah to discuss a March 1-2 conference in London on rebuilding Palestinian institutions.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the Abbas victory "adds to the credibility of the peace process."
"The elections went well. We await the final outcome" that pivots on a 'Road Map' peace plan drawn up by the United States, the EU, Russia and the United Nations, said Barroso.
The EU deployed some 200 election observers for the Palestinian vote in its largest election monitoring program ever. The operation cost $18.3 million.
Austria's foreign minister, Ursula Plassnik, called Abbas' election "an encouraging step toward peace" in the Middle East.
International affairs expert Rime Allaf in London predicted that Abbas' victory would do little to increase the European Union's role in resolving the Middle East conflict, after years of being sidelined by Israel and the United States.
"The only new thing that Abbas brings for the Europeans is the chance to tell the United States and Israel that they have lost their excuse for not talking with the Palestinians, i.e. Arafat," said Allaf, an associate fellow at the Chatham House think-tank, which is also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
"Pretty much all they can do is pressure the United States to be more equitable," Allaf added.
Abbas' victory was front-page news on each of Spain's dailies and the lead item on radio and TV news.
"The good sense of the Palestinians has won," the conservative daily ABC said in an editorial Monday. "The victory of Mahmoud Abbas by such a wide margin of votes over his opponents, and the failure of the boycott by radical groups who tried to sabotage the elections, opens up a scenario of hope and possibilities for a people in need of peace and stability."
The Times of London said that Abbas, a pragmatist, understood the importance of ending Palestinian violence before talks with Israel can begin.
"He must make clear that there will be no further Arafat-style fudges, making token arrests and cracking down for a few days only to release the militants when the immediate crisis has passed," the paper wrote. But it also urged Israel to improve conditions for Palestinians in the occupied territories.
The Guardian, another British daily, said the "new president has a mountain to climb" in tackling the many Palestinians who back Hamas.
Chamberlain met with Hitler.
I've always hated their music.
Abbas, Arrafat, what's the difference?
Abbas is the one in the nice suit
I have only one thing to say about it:
"The Palestinian people have already demonstrated their commitment to democracy," Straw told a news conference."
-Hitler used the democracy as a tool in order to take control over Germany with the Nazism.
out when he visits!!
Feh! Bush doesn't speak for many Americans. I wouldn't invite Abbas to a sewer-cleaning contest. I expect Bush and Company will start putting real pressure on Israel. This looks too much like Munich in 1938.
Churchill warned then that it was suicide to undermine a strategic ally. Nobody listened to him then, and I don't think anyone is listening how. Those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. IMO, Abbas is just Arafat in an expensive Italian suit. Says one thing to the western media and something else in the Arabic media. Same ole same ole.
Very dumb analogy. President Bush is not Chamberlain he is our Winston Churchill.
plus he seems to have far better teeth(atleast from the angles Ive seen).
Perhapa it is better to allow this man (Abbas) to reveal himself fully before we paint him with the same brush as we did Arafat.
After that, I wouldn't want to hear of him getting a second invite unless he actually does it. Of course, he probably wouldn't survive a real attempt, but the Prez is right in the initial invite.
Bush also saw the good in Putin's soul. He thinks he has a 'mutual respect' with Clintoon, hahahaha... Sure.
to play at the White House, if they're still around.
Good move. I think it will put a lot of pressure on him. Various groups in the Middle East will not like him meeting with President Bush. This will cause them to step up efforts against him and force him to react.
Given that they married each other, divorced and then turned down a billion dollar offer to tour again I think the tension might be even higher than having Mahmoud.
I voted for him and would probably vote for him again, considering the likely alternative.
Screwups like this one, however, tend to accumulate. It blows my mind that he would invite a "winning" candidate elected by killers who used weapons and fired into the air (in at least one instance) to cut in line at one voting place.
How much will it take and how long, before it becomes obvious beyond ignoring that these subhumans don't deserve diplomatic discussions?
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