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Current, Former World Leaders Attend Reagan Funeral - 2004-06-11


President Bush will be among a host of past and present world leaders at former President Ronald Reagan's funeral Friday. Mr. Bush will lead the eulogies during the services at Washington's National Cathedral.

Mr. Bush will pay tribute to the life and legacy of the 40th U.S. president, highlighting the contributions Mr. Reagan made to the world, according to a White House spokesman.

Others who will deliver eulogies include Mr. Bush's father, former President Bush, who served as Mr. Reagan's Vice President for eight years and succeeded him in the White House.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who is in ill health but will attend the funeral has recorded a eulogy to be played at the service.

Also on hand for the services will be former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, with whom Mr. Reagan developed a friendship during the waning days of communism and the aftermath of its collapse.

Besides former President Bush, the other surviving former U.S. presidents, Republican Gerald Ford, and Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton will also be there.

Current foreign leaders who will be at the funeral include U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, South African President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Romania's President Ion Iliescu, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, and Iraq's new president, Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar.

On the eve of the funeral, tens of thousands of Americans paid tribute to Mr. Reagan at the U.S. Capitol, where his body lies in state.

President Bush, accompanied by his wife Laura, were among them. In a brief stop before the casket, the two bowed their heads and Mr. Bush ran his hand over the flag draping the coffin.

Other dignitaries paid their respects Thursday included Mr. Gorbachev and Iraqi President al-Yawar.

Friday morning, Mr. Reagan's coffin will be taken to the National Cathedral for the funeral. From there, it will be flown back to California for burial services at sunset on the grounds of his presidential library.

Mr. Reagan died Saturday at the age of 93, following a 10-year battle with Alzheimer's disease.

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