Cheney to meet with King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia

Date: 11-22-06

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney will travel to Saudi Arabia on Friday for a meeting with King Abdullah to discuss issues of "mutual interest" in the Middle East, Cheney's office said.

Their talks come as the White House weighs a shift in strategy on Iraq amid raging violence there and after huge losses for President George W. Bush's Republican Party in U.S. elections dominated by voter frustration over his war policy.

Bush will go to Jordan, another U.S. ally in the Middle East, next week for a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on how to speed up the transfer of security responsibilities from U.S. forces to the Baghdad government.

Cheney's talks in Saudi Arabia also are likely to encompass Washington's anxiety about stability and democracy in Lebanon after the assassination this week of cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel, an outspoken critic of Syria.

The killing plunged the Western-backed government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora deeper into crisis and spurred fears of factional violence.


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