Bush Calls for New Era in Trans-Atlantic Ties
By Paula Wolfson
— U.S. President Bush is in Brussels, Belgium on a tour designed
to mend frayed trans-Atlantic ties and promote co-operation between
the United States and Europe.
Bush (L) is greeted by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt
at the Prime Minister’s office in Brussels, February 21,
by Francois Lenoir / Reuters
In the first
speech of his European tour, the president will call for a new
era of trans-Atlantic ties.
to excerpts released in advance by the White House, Mr. Bush will
focus his Brussels speech on the need to put past debates aside
and move forward – particularly in meeting the goal of peace in
the Middle East. He will reaffirm support for the Israeli-Palestinian
peace process. And, he will call on the nations of Europe to help
the United States build a democratic Iraq.
decision to invade Iraq, almost two years ago, has been a lingering
source of friction, and the aim of this tour – the first foreign
trip of his second term – is clearly to put relations with Europe
back on a sound footing.
In his speech,
his meetings at NATO and the European Union and in his private
conversations with war critics, Mr. Bush is expected to emphasize
common values and concerns. He will stress that a strong trans-Atlantic
friendship is essential and will vow that no passing disagreement
– indeed, no power on earth – will divide them.
Related to the President’s Trip to Europe:
of the President by International Press
Address of the President to the Nation Regarding His Trip to Europe
** Remarks by the President
at Concert Noble
by the President at Concert Noble
February 21, 2005
2:08 P.M. (Local)
Guy, or Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your kind introduction
and thank you for your warm hospitality. Distinguished guests
and ladies and gentlemen. Laura and I are really glad to be back.
I’m really pleased to visit Brussels again, the capital of a beautiful
nation, the seat of the European Union and the NATO Alliance.
The United States and Belgium are close allies, and we will always
be warm friends.
on this journey to Europe I follow in some large footsteps. More
than two centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin arrived on this continent
to great acclaim. An observer wrote, "His reputation was
more universal than Leibnitz or Newton, Frederick or Voltaire,
and his character more beloved and esteemed than any or all of
them." The observer went on to say, "There was scarcely
a peasant or a citizen ¼ who did not consider him as a
friend to human kind." I have been hoping for a similar reception
— (laughter) — but Secretary Rice told me I should be a realist.
the opportunity, in this great hall, to speak to the peoples of
Europe. For more than 60 years, our nations stood together to
face great challenges of history. Together, we opposed totalitarian
ideologies with our might and with our patience. Together, we
united this continent with our democratic values. And together
we mark, year by year, the anniversaries of freedom — from D-Day,
to the liberation of death camps, to the victories of conscience
in 1989. Our transatlantic alliance frustrated the plans of dictators,
served the highest ideals of humanity, and set a violent century
on a new and better course. And as time goes by, we must never
forget our shared achievements.
Yet, our relationship
is founded on more than nostalgia. In a new century, the alliance
of Europe and North America is the main pillar of our security.
Our robust trade is one of the engines of the world’s economy.
Our example of economic and political freedom gives hope to millions
who are weary of poverty and oppression. In all these ways, our
strong friendship is essential to peace and prosperity across
the globe — and no temporary debate, no passing disagreement
of governments, no power on earth will ever divide us. (Applause.)
and Europe face a moment of consequence and opportunity. Together
we can once again set history on a hopeful course — away from
poverty and despair, and toward development and the dignity of
self-rule; away from resentment and violence, and toward justice
and the peaceful settlement of differences. Seizing this moment
requires idealism: We must see in every person the right and the
capacity to live in freedom. Seizing this moment requires realism:
We must act wisely and deliberately in the face of complex challenges.
And seizing this moment also requires cooperation, because when
Europe and America stand together, no problem can stand against
us. As past debates fade, as great duties become clear, let us
begin a new era of transatlantic unity.
opportunity and immediate goal is peace in the Middle East. After
many false starts, and dashed hopes, and stolen lives, a settlement
of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is now within
reach. America and Europe have made a moral commitment: We will
not stand by as another generation in the Holy Land grows up in
an atmosphere of violence and hopelessness. America and Europe
also share a strategic interest: By helping to build a lasting
peace, we will remove an unsettled grievance that is used to stir
hatred and violence across the Middle East.
are guided by a clear vision: We’re determined to see two democratic
states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and
security. (Applause.) The Palestinian people deserve a government
that is representative, honest and peaceful. The people of Israel
need an end to terror and a reliable, steadfast partner for peace.
And the world must not rest until there is a just and lasting
resolution of this conflict.
All the parties
have responsibilities to meet. Arab states must end incitement
in their own media, cut off public and private funding for terrorism,
stop their support for extremist education, and establish normal
relations with Israel. Palestinian leaders must confront and dismantle
terrorist groups, fight corruption, encourage free enterprise,
and rest true authority with the people. Only a democracy can
serve the hopes of Palestinians, and make Israel secure, and raise
the flag of a free Palestine. A successful Palestinian democracy
should be Israel’s top goal as well. So Israel must freeze settlement
activity, help Palestinians build a thriving economy, and ensure
that a new Palestinian state is truly viable, with contiguous
territory on the West Bank. A state of scattered territories will
not work. (Applause.) As Palestinian leaders assume responsibility
for Gaza and increasingly larger territory, we will help them
build the economic and political and security institutions needed
to govern effectively. And as that democracy rises, the United
States and Europe will help the parties implement the roadmap
steps are also difficult steps, because progress requires new
trust, and because terrorists will do all they can to destroy
that trust. Yet we are moving forward in practical ways. Next
month in London, Prime Minister Blair will host a conference to
help the Palestinian people build the democratic institutions
of their state. President Abbas has the opportunity to put forward
a strategy of reform, which can and will gain financial support
from the international community — including financial support.
I hope he will seize the moment. I have asked Secretary Rice to
attend the conference, and to convey America’s strong support
for the Palestinian people as they build a democratic state. And
I appreciate the prominent role that Prime Minister Blair and
other European leaders are playing in the cause of peace.
We seek peace
between Israel and Palestine for its own sake. We also know that
a free and peaceful Palestine can add to the momentum of reform
throughout the broader Middle East. In the long run, we cannot
live in peace and safety if the Middle East continues to produce
ideologies of murder, and terrorists who seek the deadliest weapons.
Regimes that terrorize their own people will not hesitate to support
terror abroad. A status quo of tyranny and hopelessness in the
Middle East — the false stability of dictatorship and stagnation
— can only lead to deeper resentment in a troubled region, and
further tragedy in free nations. The future of our nations, and
the future of the Middle East, are linked — and our peace depends
on their hope and development and freedom.
reform in the broader Middle East will not be imposed from the
outside; it must be chosen from within. Governments must choose
to fight corruption, abandon old habits of control, protect the
rights of conscience and the rights of minorities. Governments
must invest in the health and education of their people, and take
responsibility for solving problems instead of simply blaming
others. Citizens must choose to hold their governments accountable.
The path isn’t always easy, as any free people can testify —
yet there’s reason for confidence. Ultimately, men and women who
seek the success of their nation will reject an ideology of oppression,
anger, and fear. Ultimately, men and women will embrace participation
and progress — and we are seeing the evidence in an arc of reform
from Morocco to Bahrain to Iraq and Afghanistan.
is to encourage this progress by taking up the duties of great
democracies. We must be on the side of democratic reformers, we
must encourage democratic movements, and support democratic transitions
in practical ways.
America should not expect or demand that reforms come all at once
— that didn’t happen in our own histories. My country took many
years to include minorities and women in the full promise of America
— and that struggle hasn’t ended. Yet, while our expectations
must be realistic, our ideals must be firm and they must be clear.
We must expect higher standards from our friends and partners
in the Middle East. The government of Saudi Arabia can demonstrate
its leadership in the region by expanding the role of its people
in determining their future. And the great and proud nation of
Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can
now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.
commitment to democratic progress is being tested in Lebanon —
a once-thriving country that now suffers under the influence of
an oppressive neighbor. Just as the Syrian regime must take stronger
action to stop those who support violence and subversion in Iraq,
and must end its support for terrorist groups seeking to destroy
the hope of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Syria must
also end its occupation of Lebanon. (Applause.)
people have the right to be free, and the United States and Europe
share an interest in a democratic, independent Lebanon. My nation
and France worked to pass Security Council Resolution 1559, which
demands that Lebanon’s sovereignty be respected, that foreign
troops and agents be withdrawn, and that free elections be conducted
without foreign interference. In the last several months, the
world has seen men and women voting in historic elections, from
Kabul to Ramallah to Baghdad — and without Syrian interference,
Lebanon’s parliamentary elections in the spring can be another
milestone of liberty.
to democratic progress is being honored in Afghanistan. That country
is building a democracy that reflects Afghan traditions and history,
and shows the way for other nations in the region. The elected
president is working to disarm and demobilize militias in preparation
for the National Assembly elections to be held this spring. And
the Afghan people know the world is with them. After all, Germany
is providing vital police training. The UK is helping to fight
drug trade. Italy is giving assistance on judicial reform. NATO’s
growing security mission is commanded by a Turkish General. European
governments are helping Afghanistan to succeed — and America
appreciates your leadership.
we must make clear to the Iraqi people that the world is also
with them — because they have certainly shown their character
to the world. An Iraqi man who lost a leg in a car bombing last
year made sure he was there to vote on January the 30th. He said,
"I would have crawled here if I had to. I don’t want terrorists
to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me. Today I am voting
for peace." Every vote cast in Iraq was an act of defiance
against terror, and the Iraqi people have earned our respect.
nations joined the fight to liberate Iraq, while others did not.
Yet all of us recognize courage when we see it — and we saw it
in the Iraqi people. And all nations now have an interest in the
success of a free and democratic Iraq, which will fight terror,
which will be a beacon of freedom, and which will be a source
of true stability in the region. In the coming months, Iraq’s
newly elected assembly will carry out the important work of establishing
a government, providing security, enhancing basic services, and
writing a democratic constitution. Now is the time for established
democracies to give tangible political, economic and security
assistance to the world’s newest democracy.
In Iran, the
free world shares a common goal: For the sake of peace, the Iranian
regime must end its support for terrorism, and must not develop
nuclear weapons. (Applause.) In safeguarding the security of free
nations, no option can be taken permanently off the table. Iran,
however, is different from Iraq. We’re in the early stages of
diplomacy. The United States is a member of the IAEA Board of
Governors, which has taken the lead on this issue. We’re working
closely with Britain, France and Germany as they oppose Iran’s
nuclear ambitions, and as they insist that Tehran comply with
international law. The results of this approach now depend largely
on Iran. We also look for Iran to finally deliver on promised
reform. The time has arrived for the Iranian regime to listen
to the Iranian people, and respect their rights, and join in the
movement toward liberty that is taking place all around them.
Middle East — from the Palestinian Territories, to Lebanon, to
Iraq, to Iran — I believe that the advance of freedom within
nations will build the peace among nations. And one reason for
this belief is the experience of Europe. In two world wars, Europe
saw the aggressive nature of tyranny, and the terrible cost of
mistrust and division. In the Cold War, Europe saw the so-called
stability of Yalta was a constant source of injustice and fear.
And Europe also saw how the rise of democratic movements like
Solidarity could part an Iron Curtain drawn by tyrants. The spread
of freedom has helped to resolve old disputes, and the enlargement
of NATO and the European Union have made partners out of former
rivals. America supports Europe’s democratic unity for the same
reason we support the spread of democracy in the Middle East —
because freedom leads to peace. And America supports a strong
Europe because we need a strong partner in the hard work of advancing
freedom in the world. (Applause.)
demonstrated this vision in Ukraine. Presidents Kwasniewski of
Poland and Adamkus of Lithuania, Javier Solana of the EU, helped
to resolve the election crisis and bring Ukraine back into the
camp of freedom. As a free government takes hold in that country,
and as the government of President Yushchenko pursues vital reforms,
Ukraine should be welcomed by the Euro-Atlantic family. We must
support new democracies, and so members of our alliance must continue
to reach out to Georgia, where last year peaceful protests overturned
a stolen election, and unleashed the forces of democratic change.
I also believe
that Russia’s future lies within the family of Europe and the
transatlantic community. America supports WTO membership for Russia,
because meeting WTO standards will strengthen the gains of freedom
and prosperity in that country. Yet, for Russia to make progress
as a European nation, the Russian government must renew a commitment
to democracy and the rule of law. We recognize that reform will
not happen overnight. We must always remind Russia, however, that
our alliance stands for a free press, a vital opposition, the
sharing of power, and the rule of law — and the United States
and all European countries should place democratic reform at the
heart of their dialogue with Russia. (Applause.)
As we seek
freedom in other nations, we must also work to renew the values
that make freedom possible. As I said in my Inaugural Address,
we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry
at the same time. We must reject anti-Semitism from any source,
and we must condemn violence such as we have witnessed in the
Netherlands. All our nations must work to integrate minorities
into the mainstream of society, and to teach the value of tolerance
to each new generation.
in our great alliance have many advantages and blessings. We also
have a call beyond our comfort: We must raise our sights to the
wider world. Our ideals and our interests lead in the same direction:
By bringing progress and hope to nations in need, we can improve
many lives, and lift up failing states, and remove the causes
and sanctuaries of terror.
is determined to promote development, and integrate developing
nations into the world economy. And the measure of our success
must be the results we achieve, not merely the resources we spend.
Together, we created the Monterrey Consensus, which links new
aid from developed nations to real reform in developing ones.
This strategy is working. Throughout the developing world, governments
are confronting corruption, the rule of law is taking root, and
people are enjoying new freedoms. Developed nations have responded
by increasing assistance by a third. Through the Millennium Challenge
Account, my nation is increasing our aid to developing nations
that govern justly, expand economic freedom, and invest in the
education and health of their people. While still providing humanitarian
assistance and support, developed nations are taking a wiser approach
to other aid. Instead of subsidizing failure year after year,
we must reward progress and improve lives.
is determined to encourage commerce among nations, because open
markets create jobs, and lift income, and draw whole nations into
an expanding circle of freedom and opportunity. Europe and America
will continue to increase trade, as we do so, we’ll resolve our
trade disagreements in a cooperative spirit — and we should share
the benefits of fair and free trade with others. That’s why we’ll
continue to advance the Doha Development Agenda, and bring global
trade talks to a successful conclusion. We should all pursue fiscal
policies in our nations — sound fiscal policies of low taxes
and fiscal restraint and reform that promote a stable world financial
system and foster economic growth.
is determined to show good stewardship of the earth — and that
requires addressing the serious, long-term challenge of global
climate change. All of us expressed our views on the Kyoto protocol
— and now we must work together on the way forward. Emerging
technologies such as hydrogen-powered vehicles, electricity from
renewable energy sources, clean coal technology, will encourage
economic growth that is environmentally responsible. By researching,
by developing, by promoting new technologies across the world,
all nations, including the developing countries can advance economically,
while slowing the growth in global greenhouse gases and avoid
pollutants that undermines public health. All of us can use the
power of human ingenuity to improve the environment for generations
is determined to meet natural disaster, famine, and disease with
swift and compassionate help. As we meet today, American and European
personnel are aiding the victims of the tsunami in Asia. Our combined
financial commitment to tsunami relief and reconstruction is nearly
$4 billion. We’re working through the Global Fund to combat AIDS
and other diseases across the world. And America’s Emergency Plan
has focused additional resources on nations where the needs are
greatest. Through all these efforts, we encourage stability and
progress, build a firmer basis for democratic institutions —
and, above all, we fulfill a moral duty to heal the sick, and
feed the hungry, and comfort the afflicted.
is also determined to defend our security — because we refuse
to live in a world dominated by fear. Terrorist movements seek
to intimidate free peoples and reverse the course of history by
committing dramatic acts of murder. We will not be intimidated,
and the terrorists will not stop the march of freedom. I thank
the nations of Europe for your strong cooperation in the war on
terror. Together, we have disrupted terrorist financing, strengthened
intelligence sharing, enhanced our law enforcement cooperation,
and improved the security of international commerce and travel.
terrorists wherever they hide. German authorities recently arrested
two terrorists plotting to attack American interests in Iraq.
Both will be prosecuted under new German laws, enacted after the
September the 11th. Just last week, the United Nations added Muhsin
al-Fadhli to its al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee list.
This man is a known al Qaeda operative and Zarqawi associate,
provided support to the terrorists who conducted the 2002 bombing
of a French oil tanker. Working together, America, France and
other nations will bring him to justice. For the sake of the security
of our people, for the sake of peace, we will be relentless in
chasing down the ideologues of hate.
the 11th, America turned first to our immediate security, and
to the pursuit of an enemy — and that vital work goes on. We
also found that a narrow definition of security is not enough.
While confronting a present threat, we have accepted the long-term
challenge of spreading hope and liberty and prosperity as the
great alternatives to terror. As we defeat the agents of terror,
we will also remove the sources of terror.
is not American strategy, or European strategy, or Western strategy.
Spreading liberty for the sake of peace is the cause of all mankind.
This approach not only reduces a danger to free peoples; it honors
the dignity of all peoples, by placing human rights and human
freedom at the center of our agenda. And our alliance has the
ability, and the duty, to tip the balance of history in favor
We know there
are many obstacles, and we know the road is long. Albert Camus
said that, "Freedom is ¼ a long-distance race."
We’re in that race for the duration — and there is reason for
optimism. Oppression is not the wave of the future; it is the
desperate tactic of a few backward-looking men. Democratic nations
grow in strength because they reward and respect the creative
gifts of their people. And freedom is the direction of history,
because freedom is the permanent hope of humanity.
these values because of ideals long held on this continent. We
proudly stand in the tradition of the Magna Carta, the Declaration
of the Rights of Man, and the North Atlantic Treaty. The signers
of that Treaty pledged "To safeguard the freedom, common
heritage, and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles
of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law." In
this new century, the United States and Europe reaffirm that commitment,
and renew our great alliance of freedom.
May God bless
you all. (Applause.)
END 2:39 P.M.