US President George W. Bush has told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Iran poses a serious threat to peace. The White House talks came a day after Olmert issued his toughest warning yet to Tehran, saying its nuclear program must be stopped by all means possible.
Bush said: “I am glad to see my friend. I am looking forward to our discussions on the issues that we have spent a lot of time discussing up until now. We will, of course, be talking about the Palestinian issue, the peace process. We will be talking about Lebanon. I am looking forward to your wisdom about how you see the Syrian issue. And finally, we are going to spend a lot of time talking about Iran.”
No questions were allowed in the Oval Office, avoiding potentially embarrassing inquiries about Olmert’s ongoing corruption inquiry.
The two leaders are also finalising a US military aid package that includes F35 stealth fighter jets and an advanced missile early warning system, seen as an effort to bolster Israel in the face of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
There is concern that Olmert’s political woes could disrupt the already flagging Annapolis peace effort.
There was no mention of reaching a deal before Bush leaves office in January, an oft-repeated deadline viewed by many with scepticism.
In the West Bank, an official said that meeting that deadline would require a “miracle”. The Palestinians also urged the EU not to upgrade ties with Israel unless West Bank settlement expansion is halted.