U2 star Bono took time out of his concert preparations on Monday night (12DEC05) to dine with North Carolina's right-wing senator JESSE HELMS.

The pair have become unlikely friends in recent years after discovering they share a common cause: fighting AIDS in Africa.

And before U2 performed in North Carolina on Monday night, Bono joined Helms for dinner.

Helms' spokesman JOHN DODD says, "Bono called us a couple of weeks ago and said he wanted to see his old friend, the senator."

According to Dodd, Helms, 84, joined the U2 frontman for "a casual meal" backstage before the show.

The spokesman adds, "It was nothing fancy. They ate in the cafeteria with the roadies and the rest of the crew."