Bush starts UAE visit to review bilateral ties

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Abu Dhabi, Jan 12: US President George W Bush will arrive here tomorrow on a historic visit to the UAE as part of his broader tour of West Asia, marking the first official trip by a US President to this Gulf state.

Security has been beefed up across the emirates in view of a threatening message posted on the net by an al-Qaeda member calling for disrupting the visit. UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan will hold talks with the US President on issues of bilateral cooperation and ties and the situation in the region. He will also meet a number of senior UAE officials.

Mr Bush will deliver speech at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) and meet members of the US-UAE Business Council, which is a collaboration of leading companies based in the United States and United Arab Emirates.

The council is committed to expanding bilateral commercial opportunities between the two countries.

President Bush will also tour the Saadiyat Island, a signature development in Abu Dhabi, which will host a number of global architectural landmarks, including arts museums and centres for art and culture, the official news agency WAM said.

He will also visit the Masdar Initiative, where the US President would be briefed about the multi-faceted, multi-billion dollar initiative to develop and commercialise renewable and alternative energy, and clean technology.

The initiative reflects Abu Dhabi's comprehensive investment in future energy solutions and clean technology-- from design to research laboratory to mass deployment, the agency reported.

Hailing the visit, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, ''We warmly welcome the US President to the United Arab Emirates. This is the first visit of a sitting US president to the country.'' Sheikh Abdullah praised the existing political, economic, military and cultural ties between the UAE and the US.

The UAE is also the US' biggest economic partner in West Asia. Sheikh Abdullah expressed confidence that the visit would open up new avenues of cooperation between the two countries.

He pointed out that the UAE is a partner in the war against terror. He also reiterated the significant role the United States plays in maintaining security and stability in the Arabian Gulf region and Washington's major role in activating the West Asia peace process in the light of President Bush's vision of the establishment of a viable Palestinian State, the roadmap and the Arab peace initiative.

UNI

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