Biden to meet Medvedev, Berlusconi in Rome

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US Vice President Joe Biden will join a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi while visiting Rome this week, the White House said Tuesday.

The three-way lunch meeting will come just a week after President Barack Obama met Medvedev in France, a meeting which saw Russia change its position on Libya and concede that it was time for Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi to go.

It will also take place as Washington and its European partners seek to keep up the pressure on Kadhafi, who is clinging to power after months of NATO-led air strikes designed to protect civilians and bolster opposition forces.

Biden will also meet Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili during the visit to Rome, the official purpose of which is to take part in the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy on June 2.

Biden, who left Washington earlier Tuesday, will hold talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Berlusconi, the White House said in a statement.

Biden and Berlusconi "will also participate in a trilateral lunch meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. In addition, Vice President Biden will meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili," the statement said.

The statement did not give exact details and timings on Biden's schedule.

But it said the vice president and his wife Jill would visit US service personnel in Naples and that Biden would speak to NATO forces and their families.

© 2011 AFP

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