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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
World leaders head for Edinburgh
Scottish Parliament
World leaders will attend a major summit at the Scottish Parliament
World leaders will head to the Scottish Parliament for a prestigious summit of top international politicians.

Business leaders such as Bill Gates will also join ministers at Holyrood during next year's Microsoft Government Leaders' Forum.

It is the first time the renowned conference has been staged in the UK and the first time that a parliament has played host.

As many as 350 political leaders are expected to attend.

The annual event brings together prime ministers, ministers and policy advisers from across Europe to discuss issues such as digital learning, employment skills and the knowledge economy.

Bosses at Microsoft opted for Holyrood after the Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer George Reid spoke at this year's event in Lisbon.

Mr Reid told delegates there how the parliament used new technology, such as the e-petitions system and webcasting, to connect with people.

He said: "From my attendance at this year's forum in Lisbon, it is clear that the Scottish experience has much to share with the political institutions of Europe.

"This conference provides an opportunity to debate key issues of engagement and economic development which affect citizens and states across Europe."

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