Author`s name Ира Лумпова

Egypt's Mubarak arrives in Rome

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak travels to Rome on Thursday for talks with Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

The visit to Rome is the first leg of the Egyptian president's tour of European capitals that includes Berlin and Vienna.

Mubarak is expected to meet Monday with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on his way back to Egypt. The pontiff suspended all his audiences this week to perform spiritual exercises at the start of the Roman Catholic Church's solemn Lenten season.

Mubarak was scheduled to meet Thursday with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and then with Berlusconi at the premier's office. The Middle East and the fight against international terrorism were expected to top the agenda of the talks.

Berlusconi has previously praised Egypt as an indispensable partner in efforts to combat terror, reports the AP.

I.L.