ABU DHABI Ñ U.S. President George Bush has canceled a trip to Kuwait
because of insufficient security.
Bush had been scheduled to visit Kuwait on Tuesday as part of his Middle
East tour. But U.S. diplomatic sources said an advanced U.S. team determined
that security in the sheikdom was inadequate for a visit.
Instead, Bush will visit Qatar and meet U.S. soldiers at the Al
Udeid air base on Thursday. U.S. Central Command has facilities in Al Udeid.
Kuwaiti officials were said to have been taken aback by the cancellation
of the Bush visit because of insufficient security. Last week, British Prime
Minister Tony Blair visited Kuwait and spent 24 hours in the Gulf
Cooperation Council state.
Over the weekend, Kuwaiti authorities investigated a report of a
shooting near the U.S. embassy in Kuwait City. U.S. embassy officials termed
the shooting a mistake, but witnesses said at least one Kuwaiti officer from
the National Guard was seen firing his weapon toward the embassy compound.
Earlier, Kuwait arrested two suspected Al Qaida members. The suspected
were said to have been interrogated for any link to the suicide strikes in
Riyad on May 12.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah said over the weekend
that Bush has not canceled his visit to the sheikdom. Instead, the foreign
minister said, Bush has postponed his scheduled arrival and will come to the
sheikdom at a later unspecified date.
"The postponement of the visit was for several reasons, including those
of security," Al Sabah said.