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Bush to encourage larger EU

George Bush
Bush's first European trip will conclude on Saturday  


GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- President Bush will push western Europe to embrace ex-Soviet states with military and trade ties while in Poland.

Amid the ongoing debate by the European Union and NATO over the admission of new members, including many in eastern Europe, Bush is expected to outline his views on the subject during a major speech at Warsaw University library.

Bush will meet Polish President Alexandr Kwasniewski, a former communist, lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visit the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial marking the spot where 450,000 people were herded by the Nazis into its disease-wracked confines. Few survived World War II.

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In his visit to Poland -- a day before his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Slovenia -- he will include a celebration of the collapse of communism a decade ago when his father, George Bush, was U.S. president, and reaffirm his commitment to creating a Europe "whole and free."

"I believe that we have an opportunity to form an alliance of peace, that Europe ought to include nations beyond the current scope of the EU and NATO," he told reporters during an EU-U.S. summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Thursday.

"And I believe that the EU ought to expand as well."

He met European leaders on Thursday when the issue of global warming pitted the EU leaders against the president in Sweden, with the opposition sides agreeing to disagree.

Regarding his meeting with Putin, Bush said: "Russia ought not to fear a Europe -- Russia ought to welcome an expanded Europe on her border."

Bush had earlier sought to minimise differences over environmental issues with European Commission President Romano Prodi and Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, whose nation holds the bloc's rotating presidency.

"We don't agree on the Kyoto Treaty, but we do agree that climate change is a serious issue and we must work together," Bush said at a news conference.

Bush's opposition to the Kyoto treaty on climate change prompted Persson to accuse him of pursuing "wrong policies" that endanger the environment.

Thousands of demonstrators outside the summit hurled bottles and cobblestones in a protest against globalisation, the European Union and Bush's policies.

Police arrested more than 200 as the president met with EU leaders at the midpoint of his first overseas trip, the Associated Press reported.

It was the second day of U.S.-European discord after a breach among NATO allies on Wednesday over Bush's plans for a missile defence system.

Bush said he strongly supported the expansion of both NATO and the EU, but he did not say which new states should be admitted or when.

"I believe the stronger Europe is, the better it is also for America ... I strongly believe in NATO expansion and I believe that the EU ought to expand as well," he said.

With senior NATO and EU officials in Macedonia to try to defuse the latest ethnic conflict in former Yugoslavia, Bush and EU leaders stressed the need for political, not military, solutions and deflected any talk of military intervention.

At the talks, the U.S. and EU agreed to move toward a new round of global trade talks when the World Trade Organization meets in November.

The two sides have a series of disputes pending, notably over EU fears that Washington is moving to block steel imports and over European restrictions on genetically modified food imports.

They also urged Israel and the Palestinians to keep their cease-fire





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