Bush to visit Middle East

Media report says the US president will visit Israel and possibly other countries.

    The White House has not yet announced the
    itenerary of Bush's visit [AFP]

    If he were to go to Israel, it would be his first visit as president, and his first since traveling there as governor of Texas in 1998.
    'Israel visit'

    Yediot Ahronoth, a daily Israeli newspaper, cited sources in the office of Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, as saying that Bush would arrive in Israel on January 9, but that it was unclear whether he would also meet Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, or visit neighbouring countries.

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    Bush played down the importance of traveling to the region, saying  "going to a region in itself is not going to unstuck negotiations".
    He said: "This idea that somehow you are supposed to travel and therefore good things are going to happen is just not realistic."
    The last visit to Israel by a US president was by Bush's  predecessor, Bill Clinton, in December 1998.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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