Singapore PM praises U.S. president

May 4, 2007 at 1:57 PM

WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on a Washington visit Friday praised U.S. President George Bush's leadership in the Middle East and in Iraq.

Responding to remarks by Bush after their meeting in Washington, Lee said he thanked "the president for the steadfastness and resolve with which he's tackling the very complicated problems in the Middle East and Iraq, as well as the Israel-Palestinian issue," a White House announcement said.

Lee said it is important the president continues to give such "strong leadership on that because it affects America's standing in Asia and the world, and also the security environment in Asia because extremists, the jihadists, watch carefully what's happening in the Middle East and take heart, or lose heart, depending on what's happening."

Bush had earlier said Singapore is one of America's strongest partners in a critically important region and an ally in the war on terror and in coalition efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The president also accepted Lee's invitation to visit Singapore "to talk to our partners and friends about trade and security." He last visited the island nation in November 2006.

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