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Bush to confront G8 Summit

Bush and Blair at their news conference on Thursday.
Bush and Blair at their news conference on Thursday.  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush has arrived in Italy to attend his first G8 Summit -- and the prospect of confrontations on global warming, trade and missile defence.

Bush, who made his first visit to Britain on Thursday, vowed to stand by his views on Friday despite likely opposition from both inside and outside the conference centre in Genoa.

Tens of thousands of anti-globalisation and environmental activists are expected to take to the streets in the northwestern port town where the world's leading economic powers are meeting amid high security.

Bush discusses the Kyoto treaty and missile defense in Britain. CNN's John King reports (July 19)

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Before flying to Genoa from Britain, Bush said on Friday he planned to explain U.S. concerns on maintaining its economy, namely a newly passed reduction in taxes and Federal Reserve actions on interest rates.

He said making progress in increasing world prosperity "really begins with each of our own countries making sure our economic houses are in order."

He said protesters attempting to disrupt the summit were doing a disservice to people living in poverty.

"There are some who will try to disrupt the meetings claiming they represent the poor," he said. "To those folks I say, instead of embracing policies that represent the poor, you embrace policies that lock poor people into poverty. That is unacceptable to the United States."

Britain is one of the U.S.' closest allies in Europe and he received backing from British Prime Minister Tony Blair during a joint press briefing at RAF Halton airbase in Buckinghamshire on Thursday.

Blair said he hoped the protesters at Genoa would make their point peacefully because global trade is of "huge importance, not just to the most prosperous parts of the world, but also to some of the poorest countries of the world."

Missile defence and global warming

The two leaders affirmed the strong ties between the U.S. and Britain and downplayed differences over missile defence. The two countries, Blair said, "are and always will be key allies."

The prime minister stopped short of endorsing Bush's plan for a missile defence system -- a sore point with Russia -- but he praised the administration's approach in its talks.

"Well, first of all, on the subject of missile defende we await a specific proposal from the U.S. administration," Blair said.

"But I want to say this and say it clearly, that I think President Bush is right to raise the issue of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and say that that neew and imaginative solutions, because it's a huge threat facing the whole of the world."

In return, Bush saluted Blair as a man willing to listen to new ideas -- unlike "some leaders who just out of hand reject any willingness to think differently about security."

Bush also held firm to his opposition to the Kyoto protocol, an international treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. Bush said his administration would craft a better way, although it has yet to offer specifics.

"We want to reduce greenhouse gases. ... But first things first, as far as I'm concerned," the president said. "Our strategy must make sure working people in America aren't going out of work."

Most of Thursday was devoted to ceremony and sightseeing.

The Bushs dined with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace after a visit to the British Museum.

The president and his wife were also given a VIP tour of the once-secret underground Cabinet War rooms, where Winston Churchill -- one of Bush's heroes -- plotted World War II strategy.

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