Sunday, November 29, 2009
Bush and Dubai
"The president grinned and tapped his foot as a group of girls stepped rhythmically to Arabic music, their long hair swinging from shoulder to shoulder. The light rain that fell during Bush's arrival did not dampen the mood. Bush then had lunch with students of the Dubai School of Government, a research and teaching institution that focuses on public policy in the Arab world. The president and his hosts sat on cushions, set in a circle, their food in bowls on the carpeted floor before them. "I'm most impressed with what I've seen here. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong, and equally importantly, the desire to make sure all aspects of society have hope and encouragement," Bush later told a gathering of entrepreneurs and others affiliated with a young leaders' group. The session was held in a conference room high atop one of Dubai's signature buildings, Burj Al Arab. Bush flew into Dubai from Abu Dhabi, and was received at the airport by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Earlier, Bush toured an exhibit on Masdar, a planned renewable energy project in Abu Dhabi and praised the UAE for investing and using its oil wealth judiciously. The multi-faceted, multi-billion dollar initiative aims to develop and commercialize renewable and alternative energy, and clean technology in the country. "I hope my visit shines a spotlight on the Middle East, the opportunities to work constructively with our friends," Bush said. On Sunday, Bush praised the UAE is a "model of a Muslim state that is tolerant of other faiths", and said women in the UAE have achieved equality and attained "high political positions". He described the December 2006 elections in the UAE as "historic" and the "first step in a wider reform" and urged other Arab countries to embrace democracy and give their people the freedoms "they desire"."
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:12 AM