US President George W Bush arrives in Kuwait
( dpa )- US President George W Bush arrived in Kuwait Friday on the second leg of a nine-day Middle East tour which will also see him travel to Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Bush began his first regional tour with talks in Israel and the Palestinian areas.
The US leader was met at Kuwait City Airport by the country's ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al- Sabah , ministers, senior officials and dignitaries.
He was scheduled to hold talks Saturday with senior Kuwaiti officials as well as inspecting US troops and meeting with General David Petraeus , commander of multi-national forces in Iraq.
Bush was expected to discuss with Petraeus the further stabilization of Iraq in light of positive developments and a decrease in violence emanating from last year's troop surge.
Kuwaiti leaders are meanwhile expected to renew their call for the release of four Kuwaitis imprisoned at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Earlier, Kuwaiti's foreign minister, Sheikh Muhammad al- Sabah al- Salim al- Sabah , said the fate of the detainees is an issue that concerned all Kuwaitis.
"The country cannot accept the continued detention of Kuwaiti nationals without trial. All we want is justice. We will call for their release," the minister told parliament on Wednesday.
Twelve Kuwaitis were arrested by US troops during conflict in Afghanistan in 2001 and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Eight have since been released.
Bush's visit comes as tension simmers with Tehran over a naval standoff in the Gulf. A confrontation between Iranian boats and US warships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz has further stoked the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme .
" Iran was a threat, Iran is a threat to world peace," Bush said Thursday during his visit to Israel.
But Iran's Arab Gulf neighbours , including Kuwait, want the confrontation to ease despite their growing concerns over Tehran's increasing regional influence, especially in Lebanese and Palestinian affairs.