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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2008, 14:19 GMT
Bush tour ends on democracy call
Hosni Mubarak greets George W Bush on arrival
George Bush's stop in Egypt was scheduled to last only a few hours
US President George W Bush is wrapping up an eight-day Middle East tour with a brief visit to Egypt.

Speaking in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh Mr Bush said that he hoped Egypt would build on moves towards greater democracy.

Standing with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, he stopped short of directly criticising Egypt's government.

The US has in the past raised concerns over Egypt's human rights record and its treatment of the independent press.

Mr Bush said that Egypt had "taken steps towards... democratic reform and my hope is that the Egyptian government will build on these important steps and give the people of this proud nation a greater voice in your future".

Smuggling

Egypt's banned opposition Muslim Brotherhood - which holds a fifth of the seats in parliament - staged a protest in Cairo on Tuesday against Mr Bush's visit, which was only due to last three or four hours.

My hope is that the Egyptian government will build on these important steps towards democratic reform
George W Bush

Relations between the two allies have cooled, particularly over US calls for Egypt to do more to secure its border with the Gaza Strip.

The BBC's Matthew Price, who is travelling with Mr Bush, says the US is pushing Cairo to do more to stop militants smuggling weapons from Egypt into the Palestinian territory, which has been under the control of Hamas since June.

Last month, the US Congress suspended $100m (51m) of its annual military aid to Egypt over the issue.

During his trip, Mr Bush also visited Israel, the West Bank and Gulf states.

While in Israel and the West Bank, Mr Bush predicted that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal could be sealed before his term ends in January 2009.

On his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, the US president raised concerns over oil prices.

He also criticised Iran and spoke about progress in Iraq during his tour, which included Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Highlights from the news conference in Egypt



SEE ALSO
Middle East tour diary
17 Jan 08 |  Middle East
Country profile: Egypt
24 May 01 |  Country profiles
Bush concern over high oil prices
15 Jan 08 |  Middle East
Arms offer as Bush visits Saudis
15 Jan 08 |  Middle East
Bush to discuss Iran with Saudis
14 Jan 08 |  Middle East
Confront Iran danger early - Bush
13 Jan 08 |  Middle East
Massive disruption for Bush visit
09 Jan 08 |  Middle East

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