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Transcript: Bush's Remarks on Conflicts in the Middle East

The American people are on your side. Millions across the Earth are on your side. The momentum of freedom is on your side. And freedom will prevail in Lebanon.

(APPLAUSE)

America and other nations are also aware that the recent terrorist attack in Tel Aviv was conducted by a radical Palestinian group headquartered in Damascus.

Syria as well as Iran has a long history of supporting terrorist groups determined to sow division and chaos in the Middle East. And there's every possibility they will try this strategy again.

The time has come for Syria and Iran to stop using murder as a tool of policy and to end all support for terrorism.

(APPLAUSE)

In spite of attacks by extremists, the world is seeing hopeful progress in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There's only one outcome that will end the tyranny, danger, violence and hopelessness and meet the aspirations of all people in the region.

BUSH: We seek two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

(APPLAUSE)

And that goal is within reach if all of the parties meet their responsibilities and if terrorism is brought to an end.

Arab states must end incitement in their own media, cut off public and private funding for terrorism, stop their support for extremist education, and establish normal relations with Israel.

Israel must freeze settlement activity, help the Palestinians build a thriving economy and ensure that a new Palestinian state is truly viable with contiguous territory on the West Bank.

Palestinian leaders must fight corruption, encourage free enterprise, rest true authority with the people and actively confront terrorist groups.

The bombing in Tel Aviv is a reminder that the fight against terrorists is critical to the search for peace and for Palestinian statehood.

In an interview last week, Palestinian President Abbas strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv declaring, quote, "ending violence and security chaos is, first and foremost, a Palestinian interest."

He went on to say, "We cannot build the foundations of a state without the rule of law and public order."

President Abbas is correct, and so the United States will help the Palestinian Authority build the security services that current peace and future statehood require, security forces which are effective, responsive to civilian control, and dedicated to fighting terror and upholding the rule of law.

BUSH: We will coordinate with the government of Israel, with neighbors such as Egypt and Jordan, and with other donors to ensure that Palestinians get the training and equipment they need.

The United States is determined to help the parties remove obstacles to progress and move forward in practical ways so we can seize this moment for peace in the Holy Land.

(APPLAUSE)

In other parts of the Middle East, we're seeing small but welcome steps. Saudi Arabia's recent municipal elections were the beginning of reform that may allow greater participation in the future.

Egypt has now the prospect of competitive, multi-party elections for president in September.

Like all free elections, these require freedom of assembly, multiple candidates, free access by those candidates to the media and the right to form political parties. Each country in the Middle East will take a different path of reform and every nation that starts on that journey can know that America will walk at its side.

(APPLAUSE)

Progress in the Middle East is threatened by weapons of mass destruction and their proliferation. Today Great Britain, France and Germany are involved in a difficult negotiation with Iran aimed at stopping its nuclear weapons program.

We want our allies to succeed, because we share the view that Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons would be destabilizing and threatening to all of Iran's neighbors.

The Iranian regime should listen to the concerns of the world and listen to the voice of the Iranian people who long for their liberty and want their country to be a respected member of the international community.

BUSH: We look forward to the day when Iran joins in the hopeful changes taking place across the region. We look forward to the day when the Iranian people are free.

(APPLAUSE)

Iran and other nations have an example in Iraq. The recent elections have begun a process of debate and coalition-building unique in Iraqi history and inspiring to see.


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