Source AP ©

French president Sarkozy to lunch with Bush in Maine during his vacation

The White House announced Wednesday that president George W. Bush and French president Nicolas Sarkozy are going to meet this week at Bush's parents' house located on the coast in the northeastern state of Maine.

Sarkozy is vacationing at an estate on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) away from Kennebunkport, Maine, where former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, own a seaside compound called Walker's Point.

The president arrives in Kennebunkport on Thursday, staying through the weekend for a wedding. The Bushes are having Sarkozy and his wife, Cecilia, to a private lunch on Saturday, presidential spokesman Tony Snow said. Laura Bush extended the invitation during meetings of world leaders in Germany in June, press secretary Tony Snow said.

"The U.S. and France share the deepest of friendship," Snow said. "They've worked together since the founding of our nation to protect freedom around the world."

The Sarkozys have been staying at an estate on that is owned by former Microsoft Corp. executive Michael Appe. The estate can be rented for US$30,000 (euro21,900) a week, according to a rental Web site.

Politicians from France's opposition Socialist Party on Monday demanded to know who was footing the bill for conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy's New England vacation.

Sarkozy told reporters earlier this week that some friends had rented the house and invited him.