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Bush to lobby Iraq war critics

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Bush's lobbying efforts will follow Saturday's three-way European summit on Iraq.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush will personally lobby his most vocal war critics when he presents his case for rebuilding Iraq at the United Nations this week.

Bush will meet privately with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a senior U.S. administration official said.

It is expected to be the first meaningful meeting between Bush and Schroeder since the chancellor was re-elected a year ago after campaigning against Washington's Iraq policy.

Bush's lobbying efforts come on the heels of a three-way summit in Berlin Saturday with Schroeder, Chirac and British Prime Minster Tony Blair -- Bush's chief ally in the Iraq war.

The summit ended with a symbolic show of unity among the leaders -- who also acknowledged they differed over how quickly U.S. forces should turn over power to Iraqis. (Full story)

After the summit, Blair returned to his country residence Chequers outside London for a Sunday meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, an ally in the Iraq war.

On Tuesday, Bush speaks to the U.N. General Assembly and will issue a "call to action" to member states to get involved in shaping the future of Iraq, the administration official said.

Bush is seeking support for a U.S.-sponsored U.N. Security Council resolution that would create a multinational force in Iraq. The White House is hoping to attract financial contributions from allies as well.

In an appeal for assistance in rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan, the president will acknowledge the bitter dispute that divided the Security Council last year over whether to authorize war in Iraq, the official said.

But the president will urge members to put that aside and move forward, arguing that it is in the interest of Iraq's neighbors, the Middle East, Europe and the rest of the world that Iraq succeed.

Bush will focus on the progress inside Iraq and will attempt to justify the war by highlighting the fact that Iraqis are now liberated and that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is no longer in power, the official said.

The president also will address other global problems, including the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction should they get into the hands of unstable regimes; the spread of AIDS; and the "organized exploitation of human beings including slavery and human trafficking," the official said.

During his two-day trip to New York, Bush also will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss the the next steps for Afghanistan, and Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, whose government was instrumental in toppling the Taliban, the official said.

CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report


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