Bush meets Pope Benedict

The U.S. President George W. Bush has met Pope Benedict XVI for the first time during his visit to the Vatican. The President arrived in Rome with his wife Laura on Friday.

The Pope asked the President about his meetings with leaders of other industrialised nations in Germany and then changed the topic to international aid.

The American leader promised the Pope he would work to get the Congress to double the current U.S commitment for combating aids in Africa to $US 30 BLN over the next five years.

Meanwhile, thousands of protestors have gathered in central Rome to protest against the visit of the U.S. President.

Anti-globalists and far-left activists plan to march through the city criticising President Bush and his policies.

Up to 10.000 police officers have been deployed in the area to prevent possible violence

And in Bulgaria, President Bush's final stop in his European tour, around 200 people have taken part in an anti-U.S. demonstration.

People walked down the main boulevard of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, chanting anti-war slogans and calling for the agreement to host American bases to be cancelled.

President Bush is scheduled to arrive in the Bulgarian capital on Sunday.