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By Debasree S.

“We respect you, we respect your religion and we want to work together for the sake of freedom and peace,” – these words of visiting US President, George Bush in Dubai will indeed go a long way in dispelling the growing anti-US sentiments in the Arab world and build trust between the two, even though the Middle East peace process still remains a distant dream.

Steering clear of the anti-Iran rhetoric that has dominated his Middle East tour so far, the US President was visibly relaxed on his tour of Dubai on Monday as he sampled its rich historic past and upcoming iconic projects.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and the Ruler of Dubai offered the US Head of State a taste of the famed Arabic hospitality as he took him around the historic Shaikh Saeed Al Maktoum House in Shindagha, where a special reception was held in his honour.

President Bush was greeted with folk dances, incense and flowers. He was accompanied by the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister.

He also toured the Shaikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in Bastakiya, the Dubai School of Government and iconic seven-star hotel, Burj Al Arab.

“I am most impressed with what I have seen here. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong and equally importantly the desire to make sure that all aspects of society have hope and encouragement,” he said while interacting with young Emiratis who are a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Programme for Leadership development at the Arab Council. He congratulated Shaikh Mohammed for his vision in strengthening bridges of cultural understanding between today’s Emiratis and the rest of the world.
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