WASHINGTON: US President George W. Bush telephoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday to wish him a happy birthday and congratulate him on his son Gamal s marriage.
Serving his fifth 6-year term, Mubarak celebrated his 79th birthday on Saturday, the day of the marriage of his 43-year-old son, who is for all intents and purposes the heir apparent to the presidency.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush thanked Mubarak for agreeing to see Vice President Dick Cheney during Cheney s coming trip to the Middle East to shore up support for Iraq s struggling government.
They discussed the recent conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, the president commenting that the meetings had been very well organized and led by Egypt and provided important support for Iraq and its government, Snow said.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice represented the United States at the meeting last week in the resort at the tip of the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.
Snow said the presidents also discussed the violence and deprivation in Darfur, the embattled region in Western Sudan.
Asked whether Bush spoke to Mubarak about his government s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, a group banned in Egypt but normally allowed to operate unofficially, Snow said he did not.
Since December, Mubarak s security apparatus has rounded up more than 300 Brotherhood members, and a secret military trial of 40 top figures on terrorism and money laundering charges began in late April.
The Brotherhood has 88 adherents in the Egyptian parliament. They campaigned and were elected as independents.