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White House is Blaming Palestinian Militants For Trying to Block Road Map to Peace
Aired June 12, 2003 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The White House is blaming Palestinian militants for staging terror attacks to block the road map to peace. But Bush administration officials insist that both Israeli and Palestinian officials remain committed to the U.S.-backed plan.
White House correspondent Dana Bash has more.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The White House is placing the blame squarely on Hamas for the bloodshed that threatens the president's push for peace. Hamas is no friend to the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is a threat to everything Prime Minister Abbas and those people on the Palestinian Authority who seek to create a state stand for. And that's exactly the message Secretary of State Colin Powell said he had when he called the region, including a call to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I've been speaking to leaders all during the course of the day, foreign ministers in the Arab world, some foreign ministers in Europe and elsewhere, for all of us to get together and apply pressure to Hamas and to make sure that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the other organizations responsible for this kind of terror realize that they will not prevail.
BASH: And although the president has so far refrained from phoning leaders in the region, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice placed the first White House call to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and a senior Palestinian leader to illustrate what she said at a Los Angeles town hall meeting, the road map is on track.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: President Bush remains committed to the course set at Aqaba because it is the only course that will bring a durable peace and lasting security. This president keeps his promises. He expects all the parties to keep theirs.
BASH: Rice dismissed a question about whether Mr. Bush, who pursues terrorists that threaten the U.S., is holding Israel to a double standard.
RICE: There is not going to be any pass for any Palestinian leadership on fighting terror. BASH: But, Rice said, leaders must realize they are now on a different path, implying Israel, too, must consider the effects of their retaliation on the new peace process.
BASH: And to keep up the U.S. pressure and to show Mr. Bush's commitment to the process, the State Department announced that Secretary of State Colin Powell will head to Jordan later this month to meet with leaders in the region and to meet with the authors of the road map. Officials from Russia, the E.U. and the U.N., and as Matthew mentioned earlier, the U.S. new envoy, John Wolf, will also be heading to the region this weekend. And officials here at the White House say the top priority for him is to try to get the Palestinian security forces up and running to start cracking down on the terrorism -- Anderson.
COOPER: Dana Bash.
A difficult diplomatic road.
Thanks very much.
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