President George W Bush hosted Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, for a stay at the Camp David presidential retreat. Mr Bush welcomed Sheikh Mohammed to the rustic wooded retreat in the Maryland mountains yesterday, a return favour for the US president’s stay in Abu Dhabi in January. During that visit, Mr Bush travelled to Sheikh Mohammed’s desert property, where he raises horses and prize falcons.
Sheikh Mohammed’s stay at the Maryland property puts him in an elite class of world leaders who have been awarded visits to locales prized by Mr Bush, including the presidential retreat and his own ranch in Central Texas. As Sheikh Mohammed’s helicopter landed on a large hilltop meadow at Camp David yesterday, the flag of the United Arab Emirates was hoisted alongside the American flag.
Mr Bush greeted Sheikh Mohammed at the white-topped helicopter’s steps and they walked down a double phalanx of Marines and Navy sailors. After chatting and posing for cameras, the two leaders climbed into a golf cart and Mr Bush squired his guest off for a tour of the grounds. They were having a picnic dinner of fried chicken, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, potato salad and slaw.
Their official meetings – all private and closed to any media coverage – were scheduled for this morning, followed by a lunch of hamburgers, french fries, onion rings and ice cream. Sheikh Mohammed was expected to leave Camp David this afternoon.