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Last Updated: Monday, 25 April, 2005, 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK
Saudi Prince meets Bush at summit
President George W Bush and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah
President Bush held his visitor's hand as he led him into the ranch
Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has met US President George W Bush at his ranch in Texas.

The pair discussed soaring global oil prices, the war on terror and prospects for peace in the Middle East at their first meeting for three years.

The Saudis presented a plan to raise oil production but said it would make little difference to US prices.

US-Saudi relations have been strained since most of the 9/11 hijackers were revealed to be Saudi nationals.

'Productive visit'

The Saudis spoke of broadening and deepening an important relationship while the Americans called it a very good and productive visit.

But the BBC's Lesley Curwen in Washington says the main question for the US media was whether the president could persuade the Saudis to boost oil production.

She says that record high prices of US gasoline are damaging the president's popularity ratings.

The issue is not really one of crude oil production... it is one of product-refining and distribution
Adel al-Jubeir
Saudi foreign affairs adviser

"The crown prince understands that it is very important to make sure that prices are reasonable," Mr Bush said before the pair met.

"High oil prices will damage markets. He knows that. We'll talk about his country's capacity."

The Saudis presented a plan to increase production capacity to 12.5m barrels a day by 2009 from the current 11m limit.

After the meeting, the crown prince's foreign affairs advisor, Adel al-Jubeir, said there was some capacity to produce extra oil but it would make little difference on US prices.

Mr Jubeir said high prices in the US were due to lack of adequate refining capacity.

"The issue is not really one of crude oil production. The issue is one of product - refining and distribution," he said.

Among other issues dominating the agenda for Mr Bush were democratic reform in Saudi Arabia and the wider war against terror.

Correspondents say Washington wants reform within Saudi Arabia, but it also wants the kingdom to remain stable in the face of regular attacks by Islamic militants within its borders.

The US is yet to comment on a recent landmark national election in Saudi Arabia that saw Islamist parties dominate a men-only vote.

The crown prince emphasised other issues, notably the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

The Saudis have suggested this should be linked to a wider Arab peace initiative which would offer Israel full recognition in return for a full withdrawal from the occupied territories.

But our correspondent says the US was unwilling to change track, just as Israel is trying to push through its disengagement plan from the Gaza strip.

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