Bush Promises U.S. Involvement In Search For Middle East Peace Agreement

Wednesday, November 28th 2007, 1:21 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush, capping an intense flurry of diplomacy, said Wednesday the agreement by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to resume long-stalled peace talks was ``a hopeful beginning.''

Bush was joined in the Rose Garden by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a brief ceremony a day after they agreed to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008.

``One thing I have assured both gentlemen is that the United States will be actively engaged in the process,'' Bush said. ``We will use our power to help you as you come up with the necessary decisions to lay out a Palestinian state that will live side-by-side in peace with Israel.''

``Yesterday was an important day, and it was a hopeful beginning,'' Bush said with the leaders at his side. ``No matter how important yesterday was, it's not nearly as important as tomorrow and the days beyond. I appreciate the commitment of these leaders, working hard to achieve peace. I wouldn't be standing here if I didn't believe that peace was possible, and they wouldn't be here either if they didn't think peace was possible.''

Unlike their three-way handshake on Tuesday, the leaders did not shake hands in the Rose Garden.

``I appreciate your courage and leadership,'' Bush said. ``It's an honor to call you friends. And it's an honor to have watched you yesterday as you laid out your respective visions for something we all want, which is peace in the holy land.''