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|Wednesday, September 19, 2001, updated at 08:34(GMT+8)|
Bush Welcomes Israeli, Palestinian Efforts to Reduce TensionU.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday welcome Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's announcement to unilaterally enforce a cease-fire and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's order to halt military actions.
"The president welcomes the positive statements by Chairman Arafat, including a call for a complete cease-fire, for the exercise of maximum self-restraint, and for a resumption of direct contacts between the parties," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told a news briefing.
"The president hopes to see these steps implemented immediately on the ground," he added.
Fleischer said that Bush also welcomes the Israeli government's statement that it has called a halt to its offensive military operations.
He said that Bush has called on all parties to seize this moment and do everything possible in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States to move forward with the peace process in the Middle East.
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