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Bush touts U.S. generosity, calls on Europe for 'similar commitment'

Faults European opposition to 'bio-crops'

President Bush:
President Bush: "America will not relent in the war against global terror."

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NEW LONDON, Connecticut (CNN) -- Touting U.S. generosity in fighting AIDS and poverty, President Bush said Wednesday he would challenge European allies to make a "similar commitment" on those fronts when he travels to the continent next week.

Bush, speaking to graduating cadets during a commencement exercise at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, said he would ask European nations, along with Japan and Canada, to "match their good intentions with real resources."

He cited the spread of AIDS in Africa, saying nearly 30 million people are afflicted with the deadly virus. Bush has proposed spending $15 billion on an AIDS relief initiative over the next five years, and he called on allies to join that effort, as well as initiatives targeting famine and promoting economic development.

The president accused Europe of hindering efforts to tackle famine in Africa because of its objections to the use of genetically modified crops.

"They have blocked all new bio-crops because of unfounded, unscientific fears," Bush said.

Speaking one day after the government raised the terror alert level to orange -- the second highest level in the color-coded scale -- Bush did not refer to that decision.

But he saluted the Coast Guard's role in the war on terrorism, saying its men and women "confront terror before it comes to our shores."

As he has during other speeches, the president gave a general outline of progress in the war on terrorism. And he cast the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq as battles in that broader war.

start quoteWe will hunt the terrorists in every dark corner of the Earth. And we're making good progress.end quote
-- President Bush

"America will not relent in the war against global terror," Bush said. "We will hunt the terrorists in every dark corner of the Earth. And we're making good progress."

Bush has come under increasing criticism from Democrats -- particularly those seeking their party's presidential nomination in 2004 -- who say his administration has failed to dismantle the terrorist network al Qaeda and failed to bolster security at home.

Bush made no direct mention of his critics, but he said the war on terrorism was going well, saying that half of al Qaeda's senior operatives had either been captured or killed.

"We will press on until this danger to our country and to the world has ended," he declared.

-- Written by CNN.Com Producer Sean Loughlin in Washington.

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