( dpa ) - US President George W Bush was set Thursday to visit Ramallah for talks with President Mahmoud Abbas and other members of the Palestinian leadership on the second day of a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Hours before the presidential party was due to arrive in the West Bank's political, economic and cultural hub, thousands of Palestinian policemen and security personnel were out on the streets, clad in blue uniforms or in camouflage, wearing capes for protection against the intermittent rain and armed with semiautomatic rifles.
Regular roadblocks were set up, and the streets surrounding Abbas' headquarters were sealed off to traffic and pedestrians.
Snipers were also stationed on roofs around the headquarters, and residents had been warned not to venture out into the nearby streets or stand on the rooftop of their buildings.
After talks with Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and lead Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia, Bush was slated to hold a news conference before traveling to the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem.
Bush arrived in Israel Wednesday afternoon and held talks with Israeli leaders. The visit is his first to Israel as president, and he is the first sitting US president to visit Ramallah.
Bush is to leave Israel Friday for Kuwait, the next stop on his eight-day regional swing.