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Bush to talk war, peace, trade in Berlin

Bush waves to the crowd as he exits Air Force One in Berlin.
Bush waves to the crowd as he exits Air Force One in Berlin.  


BERLIN (CNN) -- President Bush arrived in Berlin Wednesday, the first step of a week long European tour intended to reinvigorate allied cooperation in the U.S.-led war on terror and to sign an arms reduction treaty with Russia.

Among other topics, the president is expected on Thursday to explain why he believes the U.S.-led war on terror should be expanded when he addresses a special session of the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament.

"He will outline his vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace and discuss Europe's and the United States' hard work and joint success in realizing the vision," National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday.

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Germans and other Europeans have complained that the United States too often has acted without adequately consulting them in diplomatic, military and trade policies.

Many countries have stated they would not support a U.S.-led attack on Iraq. Although Bush did not speak to reporters upon his arrival in Berlin, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell did, answering a question about Iraq and allegations it is developing weapons of mass destruction.

"We are in constant discussion with our German friends about these nations that are pursuing these kinds of weapons and Iraq certainly is one of these foremost advocates of getting this kind of capability and they are working on it," Powell said.

"And for that reason it is important for us to stay in close communication with the Germans as to what we might be required to do both in a multilateral setting within the U.N. and in other ways to deal with this regime that shows total lack of responsibility with respect to the opinion of the world and the danger it presents to the world," he said.

Other possible issues to be discussed during the visit include the European Union's opposition to Bush efforts to protect domestic steel, and the possibility that the EU, Japan and other countries may impose tariffs on U.S. steel.

The Bush administration has downplayed the disputes, saying they are part of any relationship between democratic countries. The administration also says the World Trade Organization is the appropriate forum for the steel and other trade disputes.

Rice said the president would "consult with some of our oldest friends and most important allies" about NATO's role in counter terrorism, among other topics.

Germany is also where the president will meet up with Laura Bush, who has been on her first solo European tour as first lady.

The high point of the president's trip will take place Friday in Moscow when he and Russian President Vladimir Putin sign a treaty reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces by roughly two-thirds over 10 years.

Rice said the pact closes the door on yet another vestige of the Cold War and opens another door on a "new era of cooperation and friendship."

While Rice praised Moscow's diplomatic role in Southeast Asia between India and Pakistan, she said Bush intends to talk a lot about the Russian-Iranian relationship.

Russia is helping Iran build nuclear power plants, and the United States is concerned the facilities might be diverted to other uses and some of the items that Iran wants could later be aimed at U.S. forces.

"We also want to talk about weapons of mass destruction, their control, controlling the materials so that biological, chemical, nuclear leakage doesn't happen," said Rice.

On Saturday, Bush will join Putin in the Russian leader's hometown of St. Petersburg, where both men will address students at a university and take questions. Later, Bush and his wife will tour the famed Hermitage museum.

Then, it is on to France Sunday, where Bush is scheduled to meet with President Jacques Chirac and discuss French cooperation in the war on terror and upgrading NATO's capabilities.

Bush will spend Monday's Memorial Day -- the U.S. holiday in remembrance of those who gave their lives for their country -- in Normandy where he will tour the Normandy American Cemetery and lay a wreath.

Bush is also scheduled to visit Italy.

In Rome, Bush is to meet with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson. Members of the NATO-Russian Summit will sign a new agreement marking Moscow's new relationship with the trans-Atlantic alliance.



 
 
 
 







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