WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George W. Bush departed Washington Monday for meetings with European leaders ahead of the G8 summit in Germany.
Bush is first scheduled to arrive in Prague to discuss the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the United States' plans for a European missile defense system, the Voice of America said.
The president is expected to arrive in Germany on Wednesday to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel before a reception for the world leaders attending the summit in the northern city of Heiligendamm.
The missile defense system is expected to be a controversial topic at the summit after Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the plan as the start of a new arms race and pledged that his country would not be left behind.
U.S. National Security Adviser Steve Hadley said the Bush administration has tried to convince the Russian government that the missile defense system is not meant to antagonize Russia.
"It's a very limited capability about other states, like Iran, who are developing ballistic missiles and potentially the weapons of mass destruction that those missiles could deliver," he said. "So it's all about Iran."
Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.