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Bush wants to know Israeli leader's real plans

Bush and Olmert have only met once before - in 1998 when Bush, then governor of Texas, visited Jerusalem where Olmert was mayor.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 08:31 IST

US President George W Bush, who will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the White House on Tuesday, would like to hear about the Israeli leader's real plans with regard to the Jewish state's new borders.

"What the president really wants to know here is what is Prime Minister Olmert thinking," said a senior US administration official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

"The main purpose of this visit is for the two leaders to get to know and understand each other better," the official added.

The two men met only once before - in 1998 when Bush, then governor of Texas, visited Jerusalem where Olmert was mayor.

On Tuesday, the Israeli prime minister will be received at the White House where he will hold talks with Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other top officials of the US administration.

On Wednesday, he will address a joint session of Congress, an honour reserved to the closest allies of Washington, and will hold talks at the Pentagon.

But despite a warm welcome that is evidently being prepared for Olmert, the US administration remains cautious toward his plan for Israel's partial and unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, believing that it calls into question the "roadmap for peace," an international plan for the Middle East that Washington continues to support.

As she met Thursday with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, Secretary of State Rice reminded that the US favoured a negotiated solution of the Middle East conflict.

First Published: May 21, 2006 08:31 IST