Bush to visit Egypt as Middle East tour ends
( RIA Novosti ) - U.S. President George W. Bush is to fly to Egypt on Wednesday from Saudi Arabia as his eight-day Middle East tour winds down.
Bush will have about four hours of discussions with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh before leaving for Washington.
Aside from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the situation on the border between Egypt and Gaza looks set to dominate the brief meeting.
Israel accuses Egypt of insufficient control of the border it shares with Gaza, claiming that lax security allows Palestinian militants to bring arms and explosives into the enclave. The U.S. Congress suspended $100 million of its annual military aid to Egypt last month in response to the claims. Egypt has, however, denied the allegations.
Iran and its controversial nuclear program are also on the agenda. The Arab media have portrayed Bush's Middle East tour as an attempt to isolate Iran in the region.
Bush reiterated that "all options were on the table," as regards the Islamic Republic during the tour, echoing his statement last month that, " Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the know how to make a nuclear weapon. The best diplomacy - effective diplomacy - is one in which all options are on the table."
A U.S. intelligence community report stated in December that Tehran had put a stop to weapons production in 2003, although it was continuing to enrich uranium.
Before Bush's arrival in Egypt, the Arab country was swept by a series of anti-Bush protests, including a demonstration by the banned opposition Muslim Brotherhood movement.
In an interview with ABC News, Bush said he was concerned about his policies being misunderstood in the Arab world.
"My image [is] 'Bush wants to fight Muslims.' And, yes, I'm concerned about it. Not because of me, personally. I'm concerned because I want most people to understand the great generosity and compassion of Americans," he said.
"I'm sure people view me as a warmonger and I view myself as peacemaker," the president said.
Bush said he hopes to change that image by beginning a dialogue with the Arab world and letting "the results speak for themselves."
As for his own rating at home, which according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll stands at 32%, its lowest point since he took office, Bush said he was not overly concerned.
"I really don't pay attention to your polls," the president said. "I haven't analyzed your polls, and you don't want a president making decisions based upon polls... And really what matters is the results, rather than paying attention to your polls."