Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, President George W. Bush said he was “optimistic an agreement can be reached. And the reason I am is because I believe the leadership in Israel and the leadership of the Palestinians is committed to a two-state solution. And I know," said President Bush, referring to Egypt, "nations in the neighborhood are willing to help."
During his trip to the Middle East, President Bush met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The two leaders agreed on the necessity of supporting Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora. "It's important," said Mr. Bush, "to encourage the holding of immediate and unconditional presidential elections according to the Lebanese constitution, and to make it clear to Syria, Iran, and their allies they must end their interference and efforts to undermine the process."
The two leaders also discussed the situation in Iraq. Mr. Bush said the decision to send more troops there is working. Violence is down, and life is returning to normal for many Iraqis. President Bush stressed that the U.S. will continue to help the Iraqi people in their effort to establish democracy.
President Bush pointed out that Egypt has undertaken limited economic and political reforms. "My hope," said Mr. Bush, "is that the Egyptian government will build on these important steps, and give the people of this proud nation a greater voice in [the] future."
In order to succeed in the twenty-first century, the countries of the Middle East need to become part of the modern global economy. This will require social, economic, and political reform – not easy tasks. "But I'm absolutely confident," said President Bush, "the people of the Middle East are working hard to build a society based upon justice. And I've assured them that as they make the journey, the United States will be a steady friend and partner."