WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush plans to meet with Denis Sassou-Nguesso, the president of the Republic of Congo and head of the 53-nation African Union, at the White House on Monday.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said the two leaders will discuss the Darfur region of Sudan, where nearly 200,000 people have died from fighting or related hunger and disease in a three-year-old ethnic conflict.

The African Union has a 7,300-member peacekeeping force in Darfur and is mediating the conflict. The AU troops are getting support from NATO and the European Union and are due to hand over to a United Nations force in September.

The two presidents also will discuss ways to strengthen democracy and improve the lives of the Congolese people, Snow said.

___

On the Net:

http://www.whitehouse.gov