Palesitnian Authority President Abbas to visit Bush next week
( dpa ) - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is to visit US President George W Bush next Thursday, the White House said Friday.
The two men are to discuss progress toward building Palestinian institutions and "toward realizing the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security," the White House said in a statement.
As Bush enters his last four months in office, his administration is pushing to bring about the plan that has been mapped out by the quartet - Russia, the US, the European Union and the United Nations - for peace in the Middle East.
Bush sought to re-energize the process with a summit that included Arab leaders last November in Annapolis, Maryland.
But Israel's refusal to discuss the disputed future of Jerusalem at this stage of negotiations is blamed for the current deadlock in the talks, with the Palestinians refusing to accept a deal that for the time being sidelines Jerusalem.
New uncertainty has been raised with this week's election of Tzipi Livni to lead Israel's ruling Kadima Party. She will have until mid to late November to form a new coalition government once she is formally charged with the task by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
If she fails, new elections will be held within 90 days, by March 2009, when she would face a tough race against Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu of the hardline Likud Party.
Palestinian officials this week welcomed Livni's victory. But Nimr Hamad, a senior advisor to President Abbas, pointed out that Livni too had stiff positions, and warned her election did not mean an automatic breakthrough in the peace process.