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Dispatches The Buzz

Washington is rife with speculation that President Bush may soon visit U.S. troops and key allies in the Middle East. Kuwait and Qatar are strong possibilities, but the White House isn't yet saying where or when. One possible destination later this year: a presidential trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories to jump-start stalled vehicles on the administration's controversial "roadmap" to peace. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon canceled his visit to Washington after a rash of five suicide bombings in a single weekend. The president spoke with Mr. Sharon by phone. He made his first phone call to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen. He urged Mr. Abbas to take "concrete steps" to dismantle terrorist cells in the West Bank and Gaza.

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