Chirac had sought to broaden the meeting to focus on the developing nations, steering it away from Bush's primary agenda - fighting terrorism, reducing the threat from Iran and North Korea, and focusing on peace in the Middle East, including the rebuilding of Iraq. Those issues are to be the focus of today's meetings.

A senior official in the Bush administration, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bush will propose a "counterterrorism action group" that would provide training and funding for countries that want to assist in the fight against terrorism but cannot afford it.

The future of Iraq

Bush and Chirac are scheduled to meet one-on-one today, and French officials said the future of Iraq would be discussed but that there were no plans to rehash prewar disagreements. Bush administration officials were particularly incensed at Chirac because he lobbied other countries to oppose U.S. and British war plans, and the French president has not backed off his stance that the war was "illegitimate."

"I can't imagine that they would meet again without discussing the question of Iraq," Chirac spokeswoman Catherine Colonna told reporters yesterday. "But if they discuss it, it won't be to go back over the past - that would not be useful - but to look toward the future."

Blair told reporters that disagreements on the necessity of the war would probably never be reconciled, but he said a decision by the countries to move forward could help energize the faltering economies of the United States and Europe. Likewise, he said, it is vital to take a clear and unanimous position on the need to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

"The most important thing, particularly after all the differences there have been over Iraq, is that the international community comes together and gives a very strong statement," Blair said. "It will be the quality of intent that is as important as anything else."

Protest in Switzerland

Outside Evian, a picturesque spa on the shores of Lake Geneva, disagreements went beyond the subtleties of handshakes. In a scene that has become almost a signature of gatherings of world leaders, thousands of protesters clashed with police as they accused the G-8 of exploiting developing countries rather than helping them.

In Lausanne, Switzerland, across Lake Geneva from the site of the summit, demonstrators wearing black masks flung rocks at police, blocked highways and bridges, and set fire to barricades. Police responded by firing tear gas and rubber pellets.

Protesters represented a variety of causes, from anti-globalization to environmental protection to relief for Third World countries facing billions of dollars in debt.

China is attending the G-8 summit for the first time, and Chirac and Bush met with President Hu Jintao yesterday in separate meetings.

Bush seemed to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. At a news conference in St. Petersburg, where the leaders had gathered to help Putin celebrate the 300th anniversary of his hometown, Bush said relations were stronger having survived the disagreement over Iraq, in which Putin had sided with France, Germany and Canada.

"We will show the world that friends can disagree, move beyond disagreement and work in a very constructive and important way to maintain the peace," Bush said, with Putin at his side.

"The fundamentals between the United States and Russia turned out to be stronger than the forces and events that tested it," Putin said, with Bush nodding in agreement.

But the source of the most serious disagreement between the United States and Russia was left unresolved. Russia has promised to continue building a nuclear power plant in Iran, which the United States objects to, fearing that it could be used in the production of nuclear weapons.

Bush plans to leave the summit today, a day early, for meetings in the Middle East. His staff said his early departure has nothing to do with the disagreements with his host.