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Bush Congratulates Sharon in Win

February 6, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush congratulated Ariel Sharon for his overwhelming victory over incumbent Edhud Barak in the race for Israel prime minister Tuesday, telling the new leader he looked forward to working with him to bring ``peace and stability″ to the Middle East, the White House said.

Bush placed the telephone call to the hard-line leader shortly after Barak conceded defeat.

``The president told Prime Minister-elect Sharon he looked forward to working with him, especially with regard to advancing peace and stability in the region,″ said a statement released by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

Calling the U.S.-Israeli relationship ``rock solid,″ Fleischer added: ``The United States deeply appreciates Ehud Barak’s friendship to the United States and his commitment to regional peace throughout his tenure as prime minister. We wish him well.″

The statement said Bush congratulated Sharon ``on his election as prime minister of the state of Israel.

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