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The president praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as "a man of peace. I'm confident he wants Israel to be able to exist at peace with its neighbor."

Two weeks after demanding that Israel withdraw its troops immediately, Bush said he was satisifed that Sharon was acting in good faith.

"History will show that they responded," Bush said. "He gave me a timetable and he met the timetable."

He said he understood why Israel was keeping troops in Bethlehem and in Ramallah. He noted that five suspects in the killing of an Israeli Cabinet minister are believed to be holed up in Arafat's Ramallah headquarters.

"These people are accused of killing a Cabinet official of the Israel government. I can understand why the prime minister wants them brought to justice," he said. "They should be brought to justice if they killed a man in cold blood."

Neither Bush or Powell said what steps they plan to build momentum from the secretary's trip. Powell said Arafat must "not only denounce violence but take actions against those" who commit terrorist acts.

Bush praised Powell of laying out a vision of hope for a region that was at a "boiling point" two weeks ago.
 
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