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Bush to Visit Europe

U.S. President George Bush heads to Europe Monday for a week-long visit aimed at strengthening the trans-Atlantic partnership between the U.S. and European nations.

Mr. Bush will begin his trip in Slovenia, where he will take part in an annual summit between the U.S. and European Union Tuesday. Mr. Bush also will make stops in Britain, France, Italy, Germany and at the Vatican.

During his trip, the president is expected to ask for Europe's help in Afghanistan and for more pressure on Iran, which the U.S. and its allies accuse of working to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

Talks between the U.S. and Europe also are expected to cover the Middle East peace process and climate change.

Ties between the U.S. and Europe have been strained through much of the Bush presidency, in large part because of the war in Iraq. Those tensions have begun to ease a bit in recent years.

Mr. Bush, along with his wife, Laura, will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, which provided U.S. reconstruction aid to Europe after World War ii.

They also will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift - a U.S. operation to bring much-needed supplies into the western half of the divided German city, which was cut off by a Soviet blockade.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.