WASHINGTON – President Bush is venturing to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in May to try to speed up the Mideast peace process and celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary.
The six-day trip, from May 13-18, comes as the president tries to help secure a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians before he leaves office in January. The White House confirmed Bush's itinerary on Monday.
Bush will meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and speak to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, which will be a first for Bush. In Saudi Arabia, Bush will meet with King Abdullah. And in Egypt, Bush will visit Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Bush last visited the Mideast in January.
White House press secretary Dana Perino said all of the issues entwined in the Mideast peace process are "dynamic and fluid," and that Bush's visit is aimed at pushing them in the right direction. "We're going to have to push them faster than they've been going," she said.