President George W. Bush arrived in Riyadh today for a three-day official visit to Saudi Arabia. It is President Bush’s first state visit to Saudi Arabia, and the first by a current US president since Bill Clinton met with King Fahd in 1994.
In honor of the occasion, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz gave President Bush a red-carpet welcome at the King Khalid International Airport.
A number of Saudi and US officials were also present, including Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Riyadh Governor Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Chief of Royal Protocol Muhammad Al-Tobaishi and Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel A. Al-Jubeir.
This evening, King Abdullah hosted a dinner in honor of President Bush at the royal palace. The King presented Bush with the King Abdulaziz Medal, an honor that is awarded to world leaders and heads of state.
During the visit, the two leaders will hold talks that are expected to cover a number of key issues, including the Middle East peace process and Iraq. They will also discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation.
The president’s trip is part of a regional tour that includes Israel, the West Bank, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt. He is accompanied by an official delegation that includes Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, National Security Adviser Steve Hadley and other members of the administration.