President Bush welcomed the Amir of Kuwait to the White House for talks about bringing peace to the Middle East
He thanked the Amir for what he called Kuwait's steadfast support for the U.S. military. There are currently about 22,000 U.S. troops in Kuwait backing U.S. military operations in Iraq. Kuwait was the base from which U.S. commanders launched the bulk of the 2003 invasion to topple then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Mr. Bush says he appreciates what he calls the Amir's clear vision for how the United States and Kuwait can work together both commercially and diplomatically. "We've had an important strategic dialogue about how to work together to promote peace and stability in the Middle East. I thank you for your leadership," he said.
President Bush congratulated the Amir for Kuwait's ongoing political reforms including broader rights for women. Those changes serve as what Mr. Bush calls a notable example for others in the region.
Speaking to reporters after their meeting, the president said he fully understands America's obligation to work to promote peace in the region.
The Amir says his White House talks were fruitful and focused on bilateral economic issues as well as regional matters of mutual interest.
Speaking through an interpreter, the Amir said there are many different views about how to achieve Middle East peace but the common goal is one of stability. "Yes, I do agree that there are differences between points of view from the United States and some in our region. But nevertheless I would like also to say that there are differences between ourselves in the region," he said.
The two men had a working lunch after their Oval Office meeting. This was the Amir's first visit to Washington since he assumed power seven months ago. In addition to Middle East peace, the Kuwaiti Embassy says the Amir also intended to discuss the fate of Kuwaiti detainees at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.