US President Sets on Historic European Tour

World | May 23, 2011, Monday // 11:14|  views

US President Barack Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama, are seeing boarding Air Force I to start their European tour. Photo by BGNES

US President Barack Obama took off Monday from Andrew's air force base in the company of First Lady, Michelle Obama, on their way to the Republic of Ireland.

Ireland is the start of a week-long tour of Europe, including visits to the UK, France and Poland. In France, Obama will attend a meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) major world powers.

Security is tight in the aftermath of the murder of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan by US forces three weeks ago and Taliban threats of retaliation.

In Dublin, the President will meet Irish President Mary McAleese and later Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Barack and Michelle Obama are also scheduled to visit the village of Moneygall, Co Offaly, which was the home of the President's great-great-great grandfather on his mother's side, Falmouth Kearney.

Amidst unprecedented security measures, Moneygall, which only has 300 residents, has covered its main street in stars and stripes and prepared a warm welcome for Obama in the village pub. Locals have jokingly renamed the President O'Bama over his Irish origins.

In London, the presidential couple will stay at Buckingham Palace as guests of the Queen. Obama will hold talks with Prime Minister David Cameron and will address both houses of the UK parliament at Westminster Hall - a rare move for a foreign head of state.

On Thursday, he heads to Deauville, France, for the G8 summit where he will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

On Friday, the US leader will travel to Poland to discuss proposals for a US missile shield in Europe.

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Tags: US, president, Barack, Obama, first lady, Michelle Obama, European tour, ireland, Moneygall


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