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Cheney Visits Saudi, Egyptian Leaders

January 17, 2006|From Associated Press

CAIRO — Vice President Dick Cheney began a Mideast visit Monday to confer with the United States' top allies in the region -- Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- on Iraqi politics and the West's standoffs with Syria and Iran.

Cheney meets today with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before heading to Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah. Cheney added a stop in Kuwait on Wednesday after the recent death of Sheik Jabbar al Ahmed al Sabah, the emir.

On the agenda, Arab diplomats said, will be Iraq, Syria's possible role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the conflict over Iran's nuclear program.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been reluctant to publicly criticize Iran, urging that all of the Middle East, including Israel, be declared a nuclear-free zone. The U.S. has rejected that idea.

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