WASHINGTON – Fresh off presiding over a global financial summit, President George W. Bush on Sunday conferred privately about the world's economic downturn with the leader of a wealthy Persian Gulf emirate.
Bush was hosting Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, at the president's wooded retreat at Camp David, Md. The visit marked the second time in just five months that the crown prince received a coveted invitation to the secluded compound.
"They always have a good time meeting with each other," White House national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Sunday.
The two leaders were scheduled to discuss the world's deteriorating financial stability, as well as Middle East security. On Saturday in Washington, Bush presided over a gathering of leaders from the world's richest nations and developing economies, who pledged steps to revamp the global financial markets.
Bush's government is prodding leaders in the oil-rich Gulf to invest in the staggering U.S. economy. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt offered that message in a visit to Dubai last month. Johndroe declined comment on whether Bush would urge the crown prince to funnel more money into U.S. interests, but said, "Secretary Kimmitt's comments made in the Gulf stand: We encourage investment in the United States."
The visit on Sunday was decidedly low-key. There was no press coverage permitted at Bush's retreat.
In January, Bush visited Abu Dhabi and traveled to the crown prince's remote desert encampment, where he raises horses and prize falcons.
The sheik was expected to stay overnight at Camp David. Bush returns to the White House Monday morning.