France, Russia, European Union support Bush's Middle East mission

France, the European Union and Russia "unanimously support" US President George Bush's Middle East mission, the French president who is chairing the G8 summit has stated.

On Monday evening, Bush leaves for Sharm-al-Sheikh /Egypt/.

At today's meeting with the US president Chirac wished Bush success in his Middle East tour. He expressed regret that the US President would have to leave Evian earlier than other summit participants and stressed that his departure "was connected with the common objective - peace in the Middle East".

Chirac called the summit participants' meeting on economic issues held on Monday morning "very positive". All G8 member states - the USA, European countries, Japan and Russia - have given the world economy a "clear signal of confidence".

When answering a question concerning the Iraqi settlement jointly with the USA, Chirac pointed out that "there was a firm basis" for such co-operation, the UN Security Council resolution.

According to a RIA Novosti correspondent, in comparison to yesterday's short meeting of welcome, when the two presidents seemed rather reserved, today Bush and Chirac were rather natural and relaxed. Their handshake was strong and quite long. Afterwards the two leaders, half-embracing each other, headed to Hotel Royal to start bilateral negotiations.

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