Tags: Chirac | Bush: | U.S.-Europe | Ties | 'Fundamental'

Chirac, Bush: U.S.-Europe Ties 'Fundamental'

Sunday, 26 May 2002 12:00 AM

"I think that there is a very real, a deep-rooted link between Europe and the United States," Chirac told reporters through a translator at a news conference at the Palace de L'Elsyee, "the bedrock of that link, the roots of it, is the shared values that we have together."

The French president said that was "precisely why we welcome the trip of an American President [to] Europe – President Bush in this case." He warned the assembled reporters, "these are really marginal demonstrations. They do not reflect a so-called natural aversion of such-and-such a people in Europe to the President of the United States or to the U.S. people as a whole."

Paris Prefecture of Police officials said there were an estimated 4,500 demonstrators who were orderly and quiet. There were no arrests, they said.

From the beginning of the Bush administration, Paris has been a hotbed of snide editorials and columns – sometimes, Bush insiders claim, encouraged by private remarks that Chirac made. Bush's decision to scrap the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty would spark a new Cold War, some here said. His unwillingness to sign the Kyoto protocol limiting industrial gases and withdraw from germ warfare protocols was viewed as unacceptable "unilateralism" in American foreign policy.

Now in Paris with an arms agreement in hand, heading for a meeting where Russia will become associated with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Bush had a warm reception at the Elysee Palace.

Chirac said he welcomed the change in the U.S.-Russian relationship. "And I think that the relationship between Russia and the U.S. are crucial in the world today."

"It was good to see President Chirac note that," said one senior administration official, who asked not to be quoted by name. "So that was a very nice ... that was a very classy moment by President Chirac."

Chirac acknowledged there were places the two governments "diverged" – on steel, farm subsidies and Kyoto. "Yes, we do have diverging views on this or that issue; it's only normal.

"We should express our diverging points views, and that we should find democratic answers to these questions," Chirac said, stressing, "the relationship between Europe and the United States, it is a very old relationship, as you know. It is a fundamental relationship for the balance, for the equilibrium of our world.

"It would be the sign of short-sightedness to refuse to acknowledge that," Chirac concluded.

At the news conference in the ornate Elsyee, Bush seemed tired and stumbled over several questions. When one reporter asked him a series of questions, he admitted after answering one that he could not remember the others. "I'm jet-lagged – what's the first couple of questions?"

When reminded, Bush – to the amusement of reporters and Chirac, aged 72 – responded, "thanks, that's what happens when you're over 55. You know what I mean."

In both Moscow and St. Petersburg, Bush, a man who likes to get to bed around 9:30 p.m., was up until midnight with President Putin – in Moscow at Putin's residence and in St. Petersburg having dinner on a boat on the Neva River.

Bush is on day five of a weeklong trip to Europe, which has seen him in Berlin, Moscow and St. Petersburg – from where he flew to Paris Sunday morning. Tomorrow he flies to Normandy and then on to Rome, from where he will return to the United States on Tuesday evening.

In the Italian capital, he will take part in a summit where a new relationship between NATO and Russia will be inaugurated, and meet the pope.

In an answer on the nuclear facility Russia is building in Iran, Bush said Putin had told him that "he is convinced [it] will not ... enable Iran to develop weapons of mass destruction, and is willing to allow for international inspection teams to determine whether it is true or not."

Later a senior administration official, who asked not to be identified by name, told reporters that the inspections were just one idea that Putin had and had never been broached with Iran.

When NBC's White House Correspondent David Gregory asked Chirac a question in French, Bush interjected, to laughter from the press corps: "Very good. The guy memorizes four words and he plays like he's intercontinental. I'm impressed. Que Bueno. [quite good] Now I'm literate in two languages."

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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I think that there is a very real, a deep-rooted link between Europe and the United States, Chirac told reporters through a translator at a news conference at the Palace de L'Elsyee, the bedrock of that link, the roots of it, is the shared values that we have together. ...
Chirac,,Bush:,U.S.-Europe,Ties,'Fundamental'
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2002-00-26
Sunday, 26 May 2002 12:00 AM
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