Israel's Olmert meets with America's Bush
Some leaders might keep their heads down amidst overwhelming controversy, but not US President Bush or Israel's Prime Minister Olmert, who are meeting today in the states to discuss Iran's nuclear capabilities and the middle east.
Olmert, who left behind a parliament reeling from corruption allegations, and Bush, who is suffering the lowest presidential approval rating in history, are meeting to discuss Israel's fears that Iran could obtain nuclear weapons,
They will also be talking about the Israeli government's efforts to negotiate peace with the Palestinians and Syria.
Those developments are jeopardizing Mr. Bush's already ambitious timetable for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement by year's end and are making it unlikely that Mr. Bush or Olmert will be able to shepherd the process to completion.
For Olmert, a friendly meeting with a stalwart ally like President Bush is a marked change from what he left behind in Israel, where his political allies are conspicuously refusing to come to his defense and jostling for his job.
Topping the list of discussion points at the Bush-Olmert meeting is Iran, a prime concern for both countries, though each has a different intelligence assessment on the state of Iran's nuclear program. Israel believes that Iran has not suspended its nuclear weapons program, despite a report to the contrary by U.S. intelligence.
"I think they both made their points very clear, and Israel has made it clear that they think ... that intelligence is wrong, and that Iran is still pursuing a nuclear weapon," White House press secretary Dana Perino said ahead of the meeting.