President George W. Bush is continuing his tour of the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia the next big stage after a brief stopover in Dubai. The US leader has two main objectives. He is trying to drum up active Saudi support for Middle East peacemaking, including financial backing for Palestinian leaders involved in the process.
He also wants help in maintaining American pressure on Iran, which he labelled “the world’s leading state sponsor of terror,” in a speech in Abu Dhabi. But while Gulf Arabs want to curb their large Shi’ite neighbour, they are also eager to avoid another war on their doorstep.
It is unclear what may be discussed on the subject of oil prices when Bush meets King Abdullah.
The Bush administration is expected to notify Congress this week about part of a huge US arms package for Saudi Arabia.