Tags: Berlin | Leftists | Protest | Bush

Berlin Leftists Protest Bush

Wednesday, 22 May 2002 12:00 AM

The president landed at Tegel International Airport shortly before 9 p.m. and traveled to the historic Theodor Tucher Café for coffee and apple strudel with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder before retiring to Hotel Adlon, which faces the Brandenberg Gate on Unter den Linden, the city's most famous thoroughfare.

For hours before his arrival, youthful left-wingers gathered to protest the war in Afghanistan, though some in the largely peaceful crowd had Palestinian flags and other protest signs. German television said that 10,000 police were on hand to contain crowds. Police ringed the Adlon and other locations along the street with vans and armored cars. Water cannons were at the ready, although they were not used by mid-evening.

Bush made no public remarks in Berlin. As he left Washington early Wednesday, however, Bush said, "As an alliance, we must continue to fight against global terror."

Germany is one of 15 nations, including the United States, with troops in Afghanistan. In sharp contrast to World War I and World War II, many Germans now deplore sending troops to foreign combat.

Bush is scheduled today to address the Bundestag, Germany's legislative body, in the historic Reichstag building, reportedly the first American president to do so.

Bush's stop is the first leg of the most historic trip of his presidency, a mission to sign a major arms agreement and reintroduce Russia to the West, 85 years after the Bolshevik revolution set the giant nation's course to totalitarianism.

The trip is filled with symbolism. Bush landed in the World War II capital of the Third Reich, nearly flattened by Russian artillery and Allied bombers and then divided in the Cold War between the West and East.

The White House staff released a transcript of a Bush news conference Tuesday with European correspondents, in which the president said he saw his trip to Europe as a chance to refocus attention on the war on terrorism and to continue the reintegration of Russia into Western Europe.

"We want our friends to be strong and competitive. We want the economies to grow," he said. "I think it is essential for American policy makers to recognize that a healthy Europe and a healthy Russia is in our nation's interest."

Bush also told reporters he was not satisfied with the notions that Iraq was "contained" and that the urgency of inspections had passed.

"The word 'contain' doesn't work if someone's got the capacity to deliver a weapon of mass destruction. How can you when they've got the ability to blackmail or launch a weapon?" Bush asked.

He reiterated his demand that dictator Saddam Hussein allow unfettered inspections. "Every time they talk about inspections, he's got a certain kind of caveats and strings," Bush said. "We'd like to see inspections: unfettered, whole, free inspections."

Bush was scheduled to travel today to Moscow, where he was to sign an agreement Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin to reduce each nation's strategic nuclear arsenal by two-thirds over the next decade.

From Moscow Saturday, Bush will travel to St. Petersburg, which is not only Putin's birthplace, but also the city that symbolizes the deep desire of Russians to be part of the world of Western Europe and not an isolated people on the edge of the tundra.

By late Sunday, the president will be in Paris for a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac.

On Monday, Memorial Day in the United States, Bush goes, as other presidents have, to the beaches of Normandy, where thousands of young men died in 1944 to achieve the peace in Europe that might be now at hand. He will attend a service at Saint Marie Eglise, the small town where U.S. paratroopers landed.

Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said Bush would address the nature of this new peace in a speech today to the Bundestag, Germany's elected legislature.

"The president is going to lay out the hopeful future that we and our trans-Atlantic allies ... now with a growing relationship with Russia, that hopeful future for bringing others into the community of democratic, market-oriented states," Rice said.

The core of the trip remains the signing of the arms agreement, which Bush and Putin announced a little over a week ago. Under its terms, the United States and Russia will each reduce its stockpile of strategic nuclear warheads from about 6,000 each to some 1,700 to 2,200 over the next decade. Each nation can decide how to reduce its nuclear forces, perhaps by choosing air-launched missiles over submarines.

The Russians wanted the warheads dismantled, but the Bush administration held for simply placing many of them in a strategic reserve, where in the event of conflict they could be reconstituted as weapons. The Russians wanted a written agreement to solidify this pact, and that will be signed Friday in Moscow.

"I think it is good,"

The agreement, he said, will have more permanency than an agreement between Putin and Bush. On Tuesday, Bush is to be in Rome for a meeting with Pope John Paul II and for an address to NATO at its first meeting with Russian officials.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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The president landed at Tegel International Airport shortly before 9 p.m. and traveled to the historic Theodor Tucher Café for coffee and apple strudel with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder before retiring to Hotel Adlon, which faces the Brandenberg Gate on Unter den...
Wednesday, 22 May 2002 12:00 AM
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