Bush to start tour of Italy, France before G-8 summit

Bush to start tour of Italy, France before G-8 summit

WASHINGTON, June 3 Kyodo

U.S. President George W. Bush will leave for Rome on Thursday, setting off on a four-day tour of Italy and France to discuss Iraqi issues with local leaders and attend a ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

Bush will directly fly back to Sea Island, Georgia, on Sunday to host a three-day Group of Eight summit starting there Tuesday. The G-8 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

On the first leg of his European tour, Bush will hold talks with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in Rome on Friday before meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican later in the day.

On Saturday, Bush will meet with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome before holding talks with French President Jacques Chirac in Paris.

Through the talks with Berlusconi and Chirac, Bush is expected to seek support for a new U.N. Security Council resolution to endorse the June 30 transfer of sovereignty from the U.S.-led coalition to the Iraqi interim government inaugurated last Tuesday.

Bush will depart for Sea Island after attending a ceremony in Normandy on Sunday to commemorate D-Day.

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