WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with United States President George Bush in what was likely the farewell meeting between the two leaders as their term in office draws to an end.
During their meeting at the Oval Office, the two leaders declared that the two-state vision remains the preferable solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"We strongly believe that Israel will benefit by having a Palestinian state, a democracy on its border that works for peace," President Bush said, adding: "Mr. Prime Minister, that vision is alive because of you."
The president also praised Olmert for delivering on his pledges and thanked him for his friendship.
Olmert, who appeared emotional, thanked Bush and lauded him as a friend who helped Israel immensely throughout his term in office.
"You have set forth in motion the Annapolis process, which I was very proud to take part in," PM Olmert said. "It continues with your guidance and support and inspiration. And this is very important because, as you say, a two-state solution is the only possible way to resolve the conflict."
Olmert also thanked President Bush for removing what he characterized as one of the greatest threats faced by Israel, the Iraqi threat.
The prime minister also met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and senior National Security Agency officials. In the meeting, Olmert expressed his alarm at Western attempts to engage in dialogue with Hamas, despite the terror group's failure to meet the conditions set forth by the International Quartet.