Bush Shifts Focus to Mideast Today

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

White House (AP) President Bush is turning his focus from trade back to an elusive mideast peace deal. The president is hosting Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House today.

Tomorrow, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stops by.

The sessions come as the administration seeks to bolster Abbas in his struggle with Hamas militants. Earlier this week, former President Carter met with Hamas chiefs in Syria, but the White House shrugs off that session, saying it only muddied the Mideast

Carter said the militant group could be ready to accept Israel's existence. But within hours Hamas renewed its vow never to recognize the Jewish state.

This week's White House meetings are a prelude to the president's planned return to the mideast next month, as he presses Palestinians and Israelis to agree on at least the outline of a peace deal before he leaves office.

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