Bush Cuts Summer Vacation Short

By: Katie Weber / ABC's Andrea Canning
By: Katie Weber / ABC's Andrea Canning

President Bush spent the day conducting a review of foreign policy – particularly the flashpoints in the Middle East – and the renewed threat of international terrorism.

ABC’s Andrea Canning reported from Washington that on day one of the Middle East truce, President Bush dealt with national security problems around the world by conferring with senior advisors at the Pentagon and the State Department.

“We live in troubled times, but I’m confident in our capacity to not only protect the homeland, but I’m confident in our capacity to leave behind a better world,” Bush said.

While the Middle East crisis has been front and center, the list of challenges facing the President goes far beyond the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah. At the Pentagon, Mr. Bush met with experts on Iraq to discuss the surging sectarian violence in Baghdad.

Nearly 12,000 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers are being sent into Baghdad in attempts to calm the region.

At the State Department, the President participated in three sessions dealing with terrorism, foreign aid and the volatile Middle East. The White House urged Hezbollah and Israel to respect the newly imposed cease fire in their month-long war.

Also on the agenda were stalled talks to get North Korea and Iran to restrict their nuclear ambitions.

The President’s visits to the Pentagon and the State Department were the first of several that he plans with key advisors. Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006, Bush will meet with his homeland security team at the National Counterterrorism Center.

Meanwhile, President Bush says the Mideast is at a pivotal moment. He calls the cease fire between Israel and Hezbollah an important step forward, although it has already broken briefly when Israel troops killed six Hezbollah fighters who supposedly advanced on their positions.

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