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Bush Falls Ill at G-8

President Bush was feeling better after a stomach ailment forced him to miss some meetings at an international summit on Friday.

"He feels well enough to continue with his full activities," White House counselor Dan Bartlett told reporters. "He feels terrible about any disruption he may have caused."

Even while ill, Bush taped his radio address, met as planned with France's new president and prepared for talks in Poland on a missile defense system.


The president was already dressed when he began feeling ill in the morning, Bartlett said. The aide said Bush's illness was "probably more viral in nature" and did not appear to be the result of anything he ate at the summit of eight industrialized democracies being held at a luxury resort here.

Bush stayed in bed for several hours to rest and recuperate. He missed one session with African leaders and another with leaders from China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, all developing nations not G-8 members.

Members of the Group of Eight agreed on a program worth more than $60 billion to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and fight malaria and tuberculosis in Africa. Critics have said all the G-8 nations are lagging on the promises they made two years ago, at the British-hosted summit, to double assistance to the troubled continent by 2010.

The leaders also worked on a possible deal with Russia over the future of the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Bush returned to the talks in time for the closing lunch. The president was "fully expected" to keep to his original travel itinerary, Bartlett said. Bush was scheduled to fly from Germany to Poland to meet and have dinner with Polish President Lech Kaczynski and then on to Rome.


His sit-down with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the sidelines of the summit meetings went ahead in the morning in Bush's private chambers instead of a meeting room.

Bartlett joked that Bush's decision to steer clear of the other leaders for a while was a "precautionary step" to avoid following in the footsteps of his father, former President George H. W. Bush.

The elder Bush fell ill, fainting and vomiting, in January 1992 at a state dinner in Tokyo. The first sign that something was amiss with the current president came when Sarkozy appeared alone before reporters after their meeting. Speaking in French, he said only that Bush was in

his bedroom and that Bush's spokesmen would have to explain further.

Bartlett said the two leaders discussed a myriad of issues, including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, trade and missile defense. It was their first meeting since Sarkozy took

office less than a month ago and only their second overall; the first was September in Washington.

Sarkozy said Bush had invited him to come to the United States.

"The president felt that they established a real personal rapport," Bartlett said.

The new French president, seen as friendly to the United States, will likely be a welcome change from the merciless tormenting Bush received from Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac.

From The Associated Press

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