President's 'final' Euro tour

George Bush arrives in Slovenia tomorrow at the start of a European tour that has been billed as his final attempt to gain support on the continent for his international agenda.

"The more lame duck a president, the more they tend to travel the world," one veteran US political observer noted.

But the White House has dismissed the idea that this is a valedictory trip, stressing various policy goals that the President wants to advance in Germany, Italy, France and Britain, including an increased role for the European powers in Afghanistan. "The President will seek to strengthen a transatlantic partnership which promotes democracy, combats terror, and prevents proliferation," said national security adviser Stephen Hadley.

Mr Bush's visit to the UK at the end of the eight-day tour is likely to be more fraught, with anti-war demonstrations planned.