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Bush urges Europe to end Iraq rift

Bush:
Bush: "The British people are the type of partners we want."

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President Bush calls for Europe to reconsider Iraq.
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Diana Muriel on protests as Bush arrives in London.
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BUSH'S UK ITINERARY
Thursday, November 20
• Visits Westminster Abbey and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
• Meets soldiers who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and their families.
• Holds talks with Blair.
• Co-hosts roundtable discussion on HIV/AIDS with Blair
• Hosts reciprocal dinner for the queen.

Friday, November 21
• Travels to Blair's northern England constituency of Sedgefield before returning to Washington.

Source: Reuters
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
George W. Bush
Tony Blair
Queen Elizabeth II
London

LONDON, England (CNN) -- George W. Bush has urged Europe to end the rift with the United States and help to build democracy in Iraq or risk returning the nation to terrorists.

The U.S. president reached out to the many critics of his foreign policy in a speech in London as tens of thousands of anti-war protesters prepared for a march on Thursday.

Bush, who is in Britain on a state visit, conceded that differences remained over Iraq, even between close allies Washington and London.

But he said "we did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins."

Bush's speech at Banqueting House followed a welcoming ceremony for him and his wife Laura from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, which included a 41-gun salute and the playing of the U.S. national anthem by a military band.

The queen later hosted the Bushes at an ornate state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

In a toast, the queen referred to the "special relationship" between Britain and the United States, noting that the expression had been coined 60 years ago by former British leader Winston Churchill.

"The leadership you showed in the aftermath of the terrible events of September 11, 2001 won the admiration of everyone in the United Kingdom," she said.

In his toast, President Bush also recalled World War 2, and said once again Britain and the United States had been "asked to secure the peace of the world".

He said the U.S. and Britain were on a "mission of freedom" in Afghanistan and Iraq and that soldiers from their two nations were sacrificing themselves in a common and noble cause.

Throughout Wednesday there were isolated protests across London. At one point as Bush arrived to make his speech at Banqueting House, noisy demonstrators could be seen and heard a short distance away.

CNN's Gaven Morris said there were isolated scuffles between police and protesters outside Buckingham Palace but the mood was generally peaceful and only about 30 people had been arrested for minor offenses.

In his earlier speech, Bush accepted opinions differed about how postwar Iraq should be rebuilt, but said: "Whatever has come before, we now have only two options: To keep our word or to break our word."

"Failure of democracy in Iraq would throw its people back into misery and turn that country over to terrorists who wish to destroy us," Bush told about 400 invited academics and dignitaries who warmly applauded him. (Full story)

Bush also discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying Israel "should freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people and not prejudice final negotiations with the placements of walls and fences."

He also said Arab nations "should end incitement in their own media, cut off public and private funding for terrorism, and establish normal relations with Israel." (Full story)

Bush, who arrived in London late Tuesday amid heavy security, has received strong support for his Iraq policy from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the president emphasized the historic ties between the U.S. and the UK.

Blair, answering questions in the House of Commons Wednesday, defended Britain's close relationship with the United States and the coalition's handling of the situation in Iraq.

"It really is about time we started to realize who are allies are, who our enemies are, stick with the one and fight the other," he told lawmakers to loud cheers.

The three-day state visit has prompted an unprecedented security operation. Thousands of British police are on alert over fears of possible terrorist threats and demonstrators planning massive street protests.

There was also concern over a breach of security by a British journalist who says he went under cover for two months at Buckingham Palace posing as a servant. (Full story)

The Daily Mirror reporter, Ryan Parry, said he delivered meals to the royals, including the queen, and was due to serve breakfast Wednesday to U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Police officials say the security measures for the visit -- estimated to cost British taxpayers 5 million ($8.5 million) -- are needed to ensure demonstrations are orderly and peaceful.

The largest demonstration is expected Thursday, when an estimated 100,000 people are expected to march to Trafalgar Square.

Demonstrators plan to topple an effigy of Bush in a display evoking the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein by U.S. forces in Baghdad in April.

On Monday, a 61-year-old woman climbed the palace gates and unfurled an upside-down U.S. flag with the inscription "Elizabeth Windsor and Co. He's not welcome."


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