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Bush begins Hungary state visit

His day-long visit to the European state comes after Bush attended a US-EU summit in Austria. President Bush will lay a wreath to commemorate the 1956 uprising. He is expected to hold up Hungary, which joined the EU two years ago, as an example for its peaceful transition to democracy and a market economy. The wreath will be laid in Kossuth Square, where his father, George Bush senior, addressed crowds in 1989 as the first US head of state to visit Hungary.

The current US leader touched down in Budapest on Wednesday evening, where he was met by Hungarian Foreign Minister Kinga Göncz and USHungary paid in its struggle for independence. ambassador George Herbert Walker. "The president is coming to Budapest because he wants to tell those capitals to the south and east of us - if you walk the same path that the Hungarians did, you, too can count on our support," Hungarian newspaper Népszabadság said ahead of the visit. Bush's keynote speech is expected to acknowledge the high cost

Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest in 1956 after a national uprising and then Prime Minister Imre Nagy's call for the country to pull out of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. Thousands of people died in the ensuing crackdown by Soviet forces, while hundreds of thousands more fled the country. In 1958, Soviet authorities announced Nagy had been executed.

Bush is accompanied on his visit by his wife Laura and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Bush's visit is four months early. The official commemoration is not until October but the US president is unable to attend then. (BBC)