Accessibility links

Bush to Seek Saudi Support for Middle East Peace Talks, Containing Iran


President Bush travels to Saudi Arabia Monday to encourage support for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and U.S.-led efforts to contain Iran.

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

In a speech 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.

Before heading to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Bush makes a brief visit to Dubai, which has declared a public holiday in his honor. Many of the emirate's main roads and bridges have been closed for security reasons.

Saudi Arabia invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit last month for the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. U.S. officials have tried to play down the significance of that visit.

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

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

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

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

XS
SM
MD
LG