Bush thanks Mubarak, calls Abbas for first time

U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday called Palestinian and Egyptian leaders about four days of Israeli air strikes, the White House said.

Bush thanks Mubarak, calls Abbas for first time

It was the first time that Bush had spoken with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad since Israel started bombarding Gaza on Saturday.

"President Bush and the two Palestinian leaders discussed their efforts for a sustainable ceasefire. They agreed that for any ceasefire to be effective, it must be respected, particularly by Hamas," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

The Bush administration, with three weeks left in office, has backed Israeli bombardments over Gaza and has not called on Israel to stop to the four days of air strikes that have killed more than 350 Palestinians.

President-elect Barack Obama, still on vacation in Hawaii, has not commented on the Israel violence.

Demonstrators gathered near Obama's holiday home on Tuesday to protest against the Israeli air strikes.

Bush, on vacation at his Texas ranch, also called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to thank him for "the positive role" that Egypt is playing, Johndroe said.

"Bloodstained hands"

The attacks on Gaza have angered the world, and Mubarak on Tuesday said Israel had bloodstained hands over its savage aggression.

He also argued Hamas was partly to blame for rejecting a truce with Israel, which did not comply its conditions including siege-lifting.

Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas' aide Nabil Aburdaineh as saying Abbas "urged President Bush and the American administration to find a political solution quickly to the dangerous situation in the Gaza strip."

Israel said may bomb Gaza for weeks.

"We don't want a ceasefire agreement that isn't worth the piece of paper it's written on. We want something that's lasting and, most importantly, respected by Hamas," Johndroe said.

Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordanians, and others are in touch with Hamas and "as they have been in the past, are committed to assisting with the current situation," he said.

To address a worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, the United States announced it would give $85 million to the U.N. agency providing aid to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

The funds would pay for urgently needed food, medicines and other humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees, the State Department said.


Agencies

Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2008, 12:41
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