Bush to Host Schroeder Next Month

President Bush (search) and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (search) have set their second meeting of the year amid talks on Germany's drive for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and concerns over Iran's nuclear program.

Bush and Schroeder are to meet June 27 at the White House for meetings and a working lunch, Bush spokesman Trent Duffy said Friday.

"Germany is a strong ally and partner of the United States, working with us to advance freedom and reform, promote prosperity and development, and counter terrorism and proliferation around the world," Duffy said.

The top matter on Schroeder's agenda with Bush is sure to be his desire for a Security Council (search) reorganization that would give Germany and some other countries permanent seats. The Bush Administration has been cool to the idea of Germany having a permanent place on the council.

Germany also is taking the lead, alongside Britain and France, in seeking a negotiated settlement with Iran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons pursuits. The United States has backed those talks from the sidelines, and has won a commitment from the allies that the matter would be taken before the Security Council for possible sanctions if talks fail.

The meeting comes after a long freeze in U.S.-German relations that has begun to thaw recently. Bush and Schroeder last met in Mainz, Germany, in February.

Even though Germany, a vocal critic of the Iraq war, still refuses to go into the war-torn country, it is training Iraqi security officers in the United Arab Emirates and is helping the new Iraqi government draft a constitution and establish ministries.

Germany also is playing a leading role in the NATO (search) security forces helping to stabilize Afghanistan.