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George Bush arrives in Saudi Arabia as part of his Middle East visit

Monday, January 14, 2008

United States President George Bush has arrived in Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to attempt to encourage support for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and U.S.-led efforts to contain Iran.

George Bush in the Middle East today

Mr. Bush is using this tour of the Middle East to ask Arab allies of the USA to provide diplomatic and financial backing to Palestinian leaders involved in negotiations with Israel.

In a speech on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, the president also urged Gulf states to join Washington in confronting Iran, which he called "the world's leading state sponsor of terror."

Sunni Arab Gulf states have maintained relations with Iran despite their concerns about the Shi'ite country's regional influence.

Mr. Bush's talks with Saudi leaders also are expected to cover arms sales.

Before heading to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Bush visited Dubai briefly. He told a round table of young Arab leaders there that America respects their religion and wants to work together in peace.

Sunday, in Abu Dhabi, Mr. Bush accused Iran of sending arms or financial support to militants in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Iran denies such allegations and accuses Washington of trying to spread anti-Iranian sentiment in the region.

According to many reporters George Bush has kept a strong relationship with the Saudi royal family, who are often considered as allies of the United States.

President Bush is due to leave Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for Egypt, the final stop on his Mideast tour before his return to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.


Sources