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Mideast Peace, Iran Are Topics on Bush Trip

  • VOA News

President Bush says he will discuss Iran as well as the Middle East peace process during his trip to the region this week.

Mr. Bush has not provided details, but said in pre-trip interviews he is working on a plan to counter what he calls Iran's "aggressive ambitions" and to assure Arab leaders that Washington's commitment to regional security is strong and enduring.

Iran has criticized Mr. Bush's trip to Israel and five Arab countries. An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman (Mohammad Ali Hosseini) said today (Sunday) that Mr. Bush is interfering in the region, but has failed to isolate Iran.

Mr. Bush told Israeli journalists last week he did not believe an Iranian attack on Israel is imminent, but the country remains a threat.

REST OPT

Mr. Bush first travels to Israel and the West Bank to promote peace efforts to achieve a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said his country will welcome President Bush with "open arms" when he arrives this week. Mr. Olmert also said the two would discuss security issues, including ongoing militant rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Bush will also visit Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

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