UAE | Government

US President Bush arrives in Dubai

US President George W. Bush tours famous landmarks in Dubai, where most roads were closed for his visit.

  • Staff Report
  • Published: 12:52 January 14, 2008
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • US President George W. Bush with Shaikh Mohammad during a visit to the Shaikh Saeed Al Maktoum House on Monday.
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Dubai: US President George W. Bush spent the day in Dubai on Monday on the latest leg of his Middle East tour.

Bush toured famous landmarks in the city, which has declared a national holiday due to the road closures imposed for his visit.

Click on the links below to listen to President Bush's speech:
Bush speech part 1 (mp3)
Bush speech part 2 (mp3)

Bush began with a stop at the historic home of the former ruler of Dubai, now a museum loaded with photos and artifacts of the emirate's history.

The president grinned and tapped his foot as a group of girls stepped rhythmically to Arabic music, their long hair swinging from shoulder to shoulder. The light rain that fell during Bush's arrival did not dampen the mood.

Bush then had lunch with students of the Dubai School of Government, a research and teaching institution that focuses on public policy in the Arab world.

The president and his hosts sat on cushions, set in a circle, their food in bowls on the carpeted floor before them.

"I'm most impressed with what I've seen here. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong, and equally importantly, the desire to make sure all aspects of society have hope and encouragement," Bush later told a gathering of entrepreneurs and others affiliated with a young leaders' group.

The session was held in a conference room high atop one of Dubai's signature buildings, Burj Al Arab.

Bush flew into Dubai from Abu Dhabi, and was received at the airport by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Earlier, Bush toured an exhibit on Masdar, a planned renewable energy project in Abu Dhabi and praised the UAE for investing and using its oil wealth judiciously.

The multi-faceted, multi-billion dollar initiative aims to develop and commercialize renewable and alternative energy, and clean technology in the country.

"I hope my visit shines a spotlight on the Middle East, the opportunities to work constructively with our friends," Bush said.

On Sunday, Bush praised the UAE is a "model of a Muslim state that is tolerant of other faiths", and said women in the UAE have achieved equality and attained "high political positions".

He described the December 2006 elections in the UAE as "historic" and the "first step in a wider reform" and urged other Arab countries to embrace democracy and give their people the freedoms "they desire".

Bush is heading to Saudi Arabia to rally support for Palestinian-Israeli peacemaking and seek help in maintaining pressure on Iran.

His main message for Gulf Arab allies has been to support peace efforts and isolate Iran to contain its growing influence in the region, which is crucial to world crude oil supplies.

- With inputs from agencies

 

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