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Bush to revisit agenda, Europe

On his second European trip in five weeks, President Bush hopes to rally the world's richest nations to fight AIDS, poverty and economic isolationism.

He will test his personal charm when he sees Queen Elizabeth II and Pope John Paul II and will rally U.S. troops in Kosovo.

But he will not be able to dodge some of the thorny issues that hampered his first overseas visit: missile defense, global warming and the gnawing perception among U.S. allies that Bush ignores their pleas with a go-it-alone approach to foreign policy.

To French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, it is a "unilateralist mind-set."

"We must hope that this trip . . . will help the American administration evolve toward more negotiating and openness to our points of view," Vedrine said in advance of the president's seven-day trip _ beginning Wednesday _ to Britain, Italy and Kosovo.

Unlike that first trip, when Bush toured five nations in five days, the president is easing his way into action. He arrives in London on Wednesday night, then goes sightseeing Thursday before meeting the queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace. That evening, he meets with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Though the closest of U.S. allies, even Britain declined last week to support setting aside the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to make way for Bush's missile defense system.

The issue will shadow Bush the next three days in Italy, where he attends the G8 economic summit.

Because many oppose his missile shield plan, Bush hopes to shift focus to:

Trade. Advisers predict summit participants will seek a new round of global trade talks.

AIDS. An international AIDS fund, started by the United States with a $200-million pledge, could top $1-billion after donations from other nations and groups are combined at the summit.

Poverty. The president's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said the AIDS proposal is critical to alleviating poverty in developing countries. Bush is expected to push for an increase in World Bank grants, as opposed to loans, for nations in need.

Organizers are bracing for thousands of protesters against globalization, poverty and other issues. Inside the secure zones, Bush plans to argue that wealthy nations have a moral imperative to fight poverty by promoting economic development and trade.

Also in Genoa, he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin _ the second in a series of sessions this year that Bush hopes will thaw Moscow's objections to his missile shield dreams.

Despite talk of compromise during his first meeting with Bush, Putin has continued to warn the United States against scrapping the arms control treaty.

Aides expect the pair to announce a schedule for future meetings between their ministers, including top military advisers, aimed at closing differences.

Predicting no major breakthroughs, Rice said, "They're going to try to move the ball forward."

On global warming, Bush hoped to blunt widespread criticism of his rejection of a 1997 international climate change treaty by pledging last week to spend nearly $200-million on research.

Junichiro Koizumi, the popular new Japanese prime minister, may emerge as a mediator between the United States and its European allies during the Genoa summit.

Though Japan supports the treaty, Koizumi said during his recent meeting with Bush that Japan does not want to go forward without the United States.

A report prepared in advance of the summit urges the leaders to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels and devote more money for nonpolluting energy sources such as wind, water and solar power.

Such a plan is opposed by the White House, based on the president's desire to let the market determine how quickly renewable sources are adopted and his belief that many developing countries are not ready to make the transition from fossil fuels.

Objections to the phase-out from the United States would likely keep it from the summit's final communique, U.S. officials said. But they said the communique was expected to include language, supported by the Bush administration, that strongly embraces the expanded use of renewable energy.

From Genoa, Bush goes to Rome, where he will meet Italian leaders, and then to the papal retreat. Bush is trying to decide whether to fund embryonic stem cell research, which the Catholic hierarchy staunchly opposes.

His last stop is Pristina, Kosovo, for an update on peacekeeping operations and lunch with the troops at Camp Bondsteel.

Analysts such as Antony Blinken, chief European adviser to President Bill Clinton, said Bush's first trip was a modest success. He left a favorable impression with foreign leaders, even as they vented their differences.

President Bush's European itinerary

Wednesday: Departs for London.

Thursday: Tours Winston Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms; has lunch at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip; meets with Prime Minister Tony Blair at his country estate.

Friday: Arrives in Genoa, Italy, for a summit of the world's seven wealthiest nations, plus Russia.

Saturday: Summit continues; holds one-on-one meetings with French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

July 22: Summit continues; meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

July 23: Meets with Pope John Paul II at the papal retreat; meets with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Premier Silvio Berlusconi in Rome.

July 24: En route to Washington, stops in Pristina, Kosovo, and Camp Bondsteel for an update on peacekeeping operations and lunch with U.S. troops.