Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas met with President Bush in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, where he received praise from the U.S. leader for taking steps toward democracy.
In addition to his comments, Bush announced that the U.S. will direct $50 million in aid to help Palestinians in Gaza once the Israelis leave this August.
Before he met with Bush on Thursday, Abbas sat down for a one-on-one interview with MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell.
To watch the video, click the link above. An excerpt of the interview follows:
Mahmoud Abbas: We want President Bush to help us to reach to the independent Palestinian State, living side-by-side with security and stability with Israel.
Norah O'Donnell: Let me ask if you could respond to English to this question, which I think is very critical. President Bush, his advisors say, is going to demand tomorrow that you must crack down on terrorist groups. Why have you not done this thus far?
Abbas: I don't think that within four months we can do everything. We started with a truce, with a cease fire and we started also with our elections. All the Palestinian factions are now committed to the truce and committed to the cease fire and they are running for elections and running for democracy. Now we are going to be in a Palestinian political system. We are dealing with our people in our way. We don't want to do anything beyond that.
O'Donnell: If you are serious about reaching peace. Why not promise here, that when you return to Washington next, you will return with the Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and you will meet with President Bush together, and the three of you can hammer out the details on the road map for peace.
Abbas: If there is any need, I will return back to Washington with Prime Minister Sharon to sign an agreement on the final status issues if it is necessary. I don't have any objection to meet or to see Mr. Prime Minister. Not only in Washington, but also in Jerusalem in Ramallah or any other place.