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President Bush Starts Trip to Europe


President Bush is in Germany at the start of a week long trip to Europe for a meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations in Russia.

President Bush begins his day here in Germany with a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in the district she has represented in parliament since shortly after German reunification.

Local political observers liken the Chancellor's personal approach to President Bush's practice of inviting world leaders to his Texas ranch. On the menu here: a barbeque of wild boar.

White House National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley says it is a chance for the president to build a more personal rapport with the new German Chancellor.

"The chancellor is providing strong, principled leadership, and the president believes she is helping to strengthen a German-American alliance committed to making this world safer, more democratic, and more prosperous," said Stephen Hadley.

After Germany, President Bush travels to Russia for bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin that are expected to focus on efforts to convince Iran to stop enriching uranium.

White House officials say those talks will also include discussion of North Korea's recent missile tests and how best to address Pyongyang's nuclear weapons through six-party talks involving North Korea, South Korea, the United States, Russia, China, and Japan.

In St. Petersburg, President Bush and President Putin will take part in the G-8 summit with the leaders of Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada.

President Putin has chosen three priorities for this summit: energy security, fighting infectious disease, and education. But Iran and North Korea are likely to dominate those talks as Russia and China are both resisting the threat of economic sanctions on Iran and North Korea.