President Bush yesterday met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Britain's Mideast envoy Tony Blair to build support for an Israeli-Palestinian peace conference in November, reports Reuters. Bush reiterated his support for a Palestinian state, and Abbas expressed a "sense of hope" concerning possible progress at the planned conference.
But Abbas insisted the conference must deal with "issues of substance" that will lead to permanent peace with Israel. The Israelis are seeking to merely establish principals for future negotiations. The agenda for the meeting and who will attend remain uncertain, while critics accuse Bush of ignoring the peace process to wage war in Iraq.