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Bush again Says Isreal’s Apartheid Wall Is ‘a Prob


Bush again Says Isreal’s Apartheid Wall Is ‘a Problem’

US President George W. Bush on Wednesday renewed labeling the Apartheid Separation Wall Israel is building on the occupied Palestinian West Bank “ a problem,” which hinders peace - making between Palestinians and Israelis.

"We're talking to Israel about all aspects of the fence. I made it clear I thought the fence was a problem, and so we're talking with them and we'll continue to work on this issue, as well as other issues," Bush told reporters Wednesday.

Bush urged Palestinians and Israelis to assume their “necessary responsibilities.”

"The key for a peace to happen is for both parties to assume their necessary obligations and responsibilities, to create the conditions so that people have confidence, that people know that their lives will be safe and that prosperity can break out. And we're making progress there," Bush added.

Bush however added the United States will continue to work on the issue.

The US president told reporters in Crawford, Texas, that the key to peace is for both parties to create conditions that would build confidence.

Bush spoke after meeting at his ranch with Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In a broadcast to Arab countries this week, Powell had signaled his disapproval of the Israeli construction of the Wall on the West Bank. Powell said the Israeli fence "crosses over onto the land of others."

By pressuring Israel on the Wall, US sources in said, Washington hoped to correct the impression created during Sharon's visit that the administration is acquiescing in the construction of the Wall, most of which is being built on land expropriated from Palestinians inside the West Bank.

According to official Israeli data, 85% of the land on which the Wall has risen so far was expropriated from Palestinians and just 15% was expropriated from Israelis.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said last week that the Wall confiscates 58 percent of the West Bank area.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon claims that the wall is a "moveable fence" (i.e. temporary), in an attempt to satisfy the illegal Jewish settlers It has cost $1 million a kilometre and devastated so much Palestinian land and homes.

Following his meeting with the Israeli prime minister on June 29, Bush said: "I think the wall is a problem and I've discussed that with Prime Minister Sharon. It is very difficult to develop confidence between the Palestinians and the Israelis with a wall snaking through the West Bank."

Separately, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns has arrived in Moscow ahead of a tour in the Middle East, announced State Department Deputy Spokesman Philip Reeker.

Reeker, speaking at the August 4 State Department briefing in Washington, said Burns will meet with Russian officials to discuss Iraqi reconstruction and Middle East peace efforts by the United Nations, European Union, Russia and United States, collectively known as the Quartet when dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Obviously, they'll be talking about pursuit of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, as well as joint efforts to counter terrorism and promote regional stability and prosperity, the goals that we have in the region," said Reeker.

The assistant secretary will also visit Iraq, Egypt and Israel, he added.


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