Bush starts Gulf tour in Kuwait
American president George Bush on Friday arrived in Kuwait after concluding a three-day visit to Israel and the West Bank aimed at promoting negotiations on an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Kuwait is the second leg of Bush's week-long trip to the region, which will include visits to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Before departing Israel, the US leader said he hoped to return to Israel for its 60th independence celebrations in May.
Soon after arriving in Kuwait, the Kuwaiti ruler Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received Bush for talks. According to Kuna, during the meeting Bush has promised to "seriously" take into consideration Kuwait's request for the return of its four citizens held in Guantanamo prison, said Kuwait's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah.
"His Highness the Amir brought up the issue of Kuwaitis detained in Guantanamo ... and President Bush promised to take this request into serious consideration and notify us as soon as possible with measures that will be taken in this regard," he told KUNA following a meeting between the two leaders. Sheikh Mohammad said the Amir said at the meeting that the continued detention of the four Kuwaitis at Guantanamo was "an insult to the principle of American justice, and hoped that they would be handed over to Kuwaiti authorities." The Kuwaiti ruler noted that the former eight Kuwaitis detained at Guantanamo that were handed back were now "good citizens and work hard to prevent youth from falling victims to extremist ideologies, which is proof of Kuwait's ability to contain its sons and rehabilitate them for the good of the nation."
The Kuwaiti minister conveyed the two leaders also spoke about Iran, adding that it was "important for the Iranian government to clarify any ambiguity with regard to its nuclear program, especially as IAEA reports still indicated the need for greater transparency in this regard."