. ( AP ) - President Bush sought Arab support on Friday for a U.S.-backed Mideast peace deal, but the Bush administration said not to expect a "blinding flash" of Arab cooperation for the restarted Israel-Palestinian negotiations.
Secretary of Rice Condoleezza Rice, traveling with Bush, said it is unrealistic to expect Arab leaders to suddenly reach out to Israel, their historic enemy.
"Some of this will happen over time," Rice told reporters aboard Air Force One, en route to Kuwait. "There isn't going to be a blinding flash in any of this, not on this trip, not on the next trip. But this is a process that is moving forward."
"The Arab states took a big step in coming to Annapolis" where Bush brought together Israeli and Palestinian and other officials to launch the first peace negotiations in seven years, Rice said. She added that as talks move forward between Israelis and Palestinians, the "Arabs will do more and more."
Rice said Bush's trip to the region and his return to Israel in May give both sides incentives to move ahead with the difficult discussions. She said progress from the negotiations would come slowly, and that the two sides would seem far apart at times.
Bush visited this tiny oil-rich nation his father fought a war over and one of only two invited guests to skip the splashy Mideast conference in Annapolis, Md., that Bush hosted for the new peace negotiations. Arriving to a ceremonial red-carpet welcome, Bush accepted a bouquet of flowers and greeted dignitaries as he began the next chapter of his eight-day journey to the troubled region.