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Bush and Abbas recommit to deadline

President Bush and Mahmoud Abbas recommitted to a pledge to achieve a Palestinian-Israeli peace plan by January.

Bush renewed Palestinian Israeli peace talks just over a year ago and said he hoped to see an agreement before he left office in January 2009.

“I’ve got four more months left in office and I’m hopeful that the vision that you and I have worked on can come to pass,” Bush said, meeting the Palestinian Authority prime minister Thursday at the White House. “And my only pledge to you is that I’ll continue to work hard to see that it can come to pass.”

Talks have progressed, but have been stymied in part by the resignation of Israel’s scandal-plagued prime minister, Ehud Olmert; the U.S. presidential elections; and Palestinian Authority presidential elections scheduled for early next year.

Abbas also re-committed to the January deadline for an agreement. “We know very well how important this issue is for you and we will continue to work very hard together in order to realize your vision of two states living side by side,” he said.

Bush noted progress particularly in raising funds for the Palestinian Authority and in training its security services.

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