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Arabs outraged at Bush backing for Sharon's plan

CAIRO, APRIL 15. Arabs said prospects for Palestinian-Israeli peace had been crippled by an endorsement from the U.S. President, George W. Bush, of Israel's plan to withdraw from Gaza, hold onto part of the West Bank and bar the return of Palestinian refugees.

Mr. Bush's change to long-standing U.S. policy came after a White House meeting on Wednesday with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. It also followed his meeting earlier this week with the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, and a speech in which Mr. Bush called for Arab support of his Iraqi policies.

Amr Moussa, head of the Cairo-based Arab League, said Mr. Bush's stance was ``negative and very regrettable because it cancels all frameworks and it represents dangerous developments in the Arab-Israeli conflict.'' The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, has reportedly backed Malaysia's call for an urgent meeting of Islamic countries to discuss the latest development in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. — AP

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