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CIA Director, Meeting with Pope, G8/Middle East

White House Report, June 3: CIA Director, Meeting with Pope, G8/Middle East

Bush announces resignation of Tenet, to meet pope, discuss Middle East at G8 meeting


Iraq and the Middle East will be topics on the agenda of the meeting June 4 between President Bush and Pope John Paul II.

The meeting comes during Bush's visit to the Italy for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Rome in World War II. He will later travel to France for a D-Day commemoration in Normandy.

According to news reports, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Jim Nicholson has given several interviews with Italian media to indicate the areas of agreement on Iraq by Bush and the pope.

"Above all, it's important to clarify that the American and Vatican positions are not diametrically opposed on the question of Iraq," Nicholson said, adding that both want Iraq to be a self-governing country that maintains freedom.

A senior administration official said that President Bush would give his assurances to the pope that there will be a thorough investigation into the abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.


President Bush told reporters June 3 that he had accepted a letter of resignation from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tenet, effective in July.

"He told me he was resigning for personal reasons. I told him I'm sorry he's leaving. He's done a superb job on behalf of the American people," Bush said.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters that Director Tenet called White House Chief of Staff Andy Card June 2 and requested a meeting with the president. He met with President Bush that evening and told him of his decision to resign.

McClellan denied that President Bush had any prior knowledge of Tenet's resignation before his meeting with Tenet on June 2.

"It is my understanding that the CIA will be making his letter of resignation available publicly," said McClellan.

Bush said Tenet would serve until mid-July following which Tenet's deputy, John McLaughlin, will temporarily lead the CIA until a successor is found.

"He's been a strong and able leader at the agency, and I will miss him," the president said of Tenet as he got ready to board Marine One for a trip to Andrews Air Force Base and then on to Europe for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Normandy Invasion on June 6,


President Bush and his counterparts in the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries will discuss Middle East reform initiatives and will further their cooperation with regional leaders during the G8 summit scheduled for June 8-10 at Sea Island, Georgia.

The G8 -- the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia -- will devote a special session to advancing cooperation with the Middle East.

According to news reports, the Bush administration has proposed several new institutions that could be endorsed by the G8 to permanently promote fledgling regional economic, political and social reform efforts in the Middle East.

These institutions reportedly include an assistance group to coordinate American and European nongovernmental democracy programs and a multilateral democracy foundation focused on the Middle East.

The initiatives also place emphasis on cooperation and partnership between the G8 and willing Arab governments, rather than prescribing remedies from outside.

A senior U.S. official noted that the administration was in close contact with both Egypt and Saudi Arabia on the progress of the initiatives.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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