Bush talks tough on final visit to Germany
Despite the jovial atmosphere, US President George W Bush is expected to focus hard issues like Iran's nuclear programme during talks with Angela Merkel
Berlin -- Iran's nuclear programme, the situation in Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process and other international issues are set to dominate the programme when US President George W Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet near Berlin today.
Bush arrived on his farewell visit to Germany Tuesday from the EU-US summit in Brdo, Slovenia to spend the night at Schloss Meseberg, the baroque palace 70 kilometres north of the capital that the German government uses as a guesthouse.
Bush and Merkel, together with their spouses, walked in the palace gardens and had dinner together, Merkel returning the hospitality extended to her by the president on his ranch near Crawford, Texas in November last year.
At Wednesday's talks, the two leaders were to be joined by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
After the talks, a 30-minute press conference was to be held before the president heads for Rome.
At the Brdo summit, Bush urged a more hardline approach to Tehran over its uranium enrichment programme. Germany has in the past stressed the path of dialogue, but has also expressed concern about the Iranian nuclear programme.
Bush also outlined ideas on a plan to combat global warming, based on compelling the major emitters to cut their carbon dioxide emissions.
After Rome, Bush flies to Paris, London and Belfast in Northern Ireland, before heading home after his last trip to Europe before leaving office in January next year. DPA