DEAUVILLE, FRANCE -- President Obama has arrived in France, continuing his European swing to huddle with leaders for the G-8 summit where issues of the global economy , national security and democratic uprisings in the Middle East are expected to be at the forefront of topics.
In the picturesque resort town of Deauville, French President Nicolas Sarkozy welcomed leaders Thursday morning, where they will kick off two-days of working sessions and meetings.
Obama is expected to bring themes of his vision for the Middle East, which he laid out in a speech last week, and democratic protests in Tunisia and Egypt will come up. Prime ministers from both countries will be present and meet with leaders Friday.
The global economy is also likely a main topic, but with unrest in Libya and other Middle Eastern countries amidst the so-called Arab Spring, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and nuclear arms issues dangling in front of the leaders, the host of national security issues will be a prominent discussion.
The president's day kicked off with a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev where they discussed the sensitive issue of America's plans for a missile defense shield in the Central and Eastern European region.
Obama will also hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Kan of Japan and White House officials say he'll talk about earthquake and tsunami recovery, including their nuclear security problems, and their roles in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The White House said one if its main foreign policy objectives was to "reset" the U.S.' relationship with Russia, and that getting a nuclear arms deal, or START treaty ratification, an important step for toward that goal.
Thursday Obama called the relationship "outstanding," and Medvedev said the relationship had improved after the START ratification.
Friday Obama is expected to have a meeting with Sarkozy and then he heads to Poland for meetings with Central European leaders. They'll also have sessions with the head of the World Bank, the IMF, and the U.N. Secretary General.
The summit will end with a meeting with nine leaders from African countries, which continues an ongoing dialogue the G-8 has about developing that region.