4-21-02

Bush tells Israelis, Palestinians, other Arabs to make hard choices for peace; cool response to Clinton role
Sat Apr 20, 5:55 PM ET

By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush said Saturday that peace in the Middle East requires "hard choices and real leadership" by Israelis, Palestinians and their Arab neighbors. The White House was cool to former President Bill Clinton's offer to play a role in peacemaking.

Republican Sen. Arlen Specter urged Bush to take up Clinton's overture. "I think his advice would be invaluable," said Specter, who met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat three weeks ago.

But Bush plans to stay the course he has charted, and is discouraging attempts by lawmakers to step into the conflict with legislation.

"The president has outlined a clear blueprint for the pathway to peace in the Middle East," and the administration has made progress, White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said. "We and the international community are focused on bringing the parties together."

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