Bush calls for united Europe
WARSAW, Poland (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush cast his vision for a larger, more prosperous Europe on Friday, saying it was time to eradicate political divisions in creating a democratic and unified continent.
"It is time to put talk of East and West behind us," Bush said in a speech in Poland, his fourth stop on a five-nation European tour. "We welcome a Europe that is truly united, truly democratic and truly diverse."
The president said the United States would support Poland's entry into NATO as well as the European Union.
He also said the Ukraine and Russia should play a prominent role in the new Europe.
"We share more than an alliance; we share a civilization," Bush said of U.S. ties to Europe. "Its values are universal, and they share a ... partnership in a unique way."
Bush's speech followed his meeting earlier in the day with Polish President Aleksander Kwasiniewski. On Saturday, Bush will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Polish leg of the trip -- Bush's first to Europe -- offered the president the chance to reiterate his administration's support for a strong and united Europe, including Russia, that will work closely with the United States.
"I strongly believe in NATO expansion, and I believe that the EU should expand, as well," Bush said after meeting EU leaders in Gothenburg, Sweden earlier this week.
'The United States is no longer your enemy'
Bush said his upcoming meeting with Putin would give him the opportunity to tell the Russian leader that "the United States is no longer your enemy."
"Our country doesn't want to diminish the nation. We want to elevate the nation," Bush said at a news conference on Friday in Poland.
Bush said he wanted Russia to be a "partner" and an "ally" and would like to see the country succeed.
The president said he plans to discuss democracy and capital investment during his first official face-to-face encounter with Putin, but the overriding purpose is "to share a vision."
He remarked that Russia has "vast potential" and "enormous resources."
"If Russia makes the right choices, she will attract a lot of capital," Bush said.
Concern over weapons proliferation
The president said he was concerned about weapons proliferation along Russia's southern border, calling it a reason for nations to rethink the issue of missile defense and the Cold War doctrine codified in the Antiballistic Missile Treaty of 1972.
"It's important for Russia to hear that our nation is concerned about the spreading of weapons of mass destruction and I'll bring it up in the context of explaining why it is important for us to think differently on missile defences," Bush said.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice sought to play down expectations for major policy breakthroughs at Saturday's meeting.
"I don't think that anyone should expect there to be specific proposals on the table tomorrow," she said. "This is an opportunity for the two presidents to get to know each other."
Rice said, however, that there are "several ideas that we want to put on the table with the Russians about how we might be able to cooperate on missile defense, on nonproliferation policy, what mechanisms might be available to us to discuss these issues as well as what kinds of ideas we might have."
Kwasniewski was supportive of the proposed missile-defense initiative. He said the United States wanted to pursue a system for world security -- not just for its own interests -- and that it wanted to pursue research on missile defense and enter into dialogue with other nations about it.
"I think this is a very rightful and very appropriate position," said Kwasniewski, who said Bush's presentation of his stance on missile defence at the NATO summit in Brussels lessened their fears.
As for expanding NATO membership, Bush said: "My government believes NATO should expand" and that no country should be excluded because of its geography or history."
"Since joining the alliance two years ago, Poland has contributed greatly to its success and serves as a fine example for all future members of NATO."
Poland is one of three Central European nations -- along with the Czech Republic and Hungary -- that joined NATO in 1999.
Bush and Kwasniewski adopted a joint resolution that -- while it doesn't relate to diplomacy -- stresses the close relations between the two nations.
The leaders discussed Poland's move toward membership in the European Union, the economy and security.
At the news conference, Bush said that "joining Poland's economy to that of the EU is in all our interests and will only strengthen America's ties with all our Atlantic partners."
Also, Bush said that "it is important that Poland's military remain well-equipped. To that end, I'm pleased to announced that the United States is making the necessary legislative preparations to transfer a second frigate to the Polish navy."
Bush also said at the news conference that he told Kwasniewski "the Polish American Enterprise Fund will transfer $20 million to the new Polish American Freedom Foundation."
Bush arrived in Poland earlier Friday after leaving behind the thinly veiled acrimony of an EU summit in Sweden, where he encountered stiff opposition in some quarters to his administration's plans to abandon the Kyoto Treaty on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Bush's Poland visit is his fourth stop on a maiden tour of five European nations that will culminate on Saturday when Bush meets Putin in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Bush said Saturday's meeting, during which the two leaders are expected to discuss defense and security issues, would also be an opportunity to discuss an enlarged Europe.
|Back to the top|