- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 20, 2005

Bush’s outreach

The European Union’s representative in Washington hopes President Bush’s trip to Europe this week will demonstrate how strongly the United States is reaching out to critics of the Iraq war.

“I think we’re going through a phase of intense rapprochement,” EU Ambassador John Bruton told reporters last week.

European critics such as French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder are hoping for “an increase in the level of trust” between Europe and the United States, Mr. Bruton added.

He explained that many European leaders want to feel that Mr. Bush is listening to their concerns.

“We’re all part of the world community. We should be more involved in the decision-making,” he said. “Most Europeans would feel that, basically, while they don’t expect to have a vote in the presidential election, they do expect to have an input in U.S. policy.”

Although France and Germany led the opposition to the removal of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, many other European leaders supported the war and contributed troops. Most of the supporters represented countries freed from communist domination with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Bruton said the discussions between Mr. Bush and European leaders will also include Syria’s occupation of Lebanon and whether Syria had any connection with the assassination last week of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

“This is an area where, I think, Europe and America can do a lot together,” Mr. Bruton said.

He also said the Europeans expect Mr. Bush to discuss the Kyoto global-warming treaty, which the United States believes would damage its economy.

Mr. Bush began his visit yesterday with talks at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

He is due to have dinner tonight with Mr. Chirac and meet Mr. Schroeder on Wednesday. On Thursday, Mr. Bush will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Tomorrow

• Eliane Karp de Toledo, the first lady of Peru, who discusses “emerging democracies and indigenous peoples” at the Center for Latin American Issues of the George Washington University. The free event is open to the public, but reservations must be made by calling 202/994-5225. On Thursday, she holds a 10 a.m. press conference at the National Geographic Society at 1600 M St. NW to open an exhibit on Peru. She will be joined by art professor Rafael Lopez Guzman of Spain’s University of Granada.

• Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil, who delivers the annual Kissinger lecture at the Library of Congress. On Thursday, he addresses the Inter-American Dialogue on U.S. policies in the Western Hemisphere.

• Canadian political science professors Gerry Boychuk of the University of Waterloo and David Docherty of Wilfrid Laurier University. They join a panel discussion about Canada’s minority government at the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Wednesday

• Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez Araque, who addresses a special session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States. He holds an 11 a.m. press conference at the OAS headquarters at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

Thursday

• Mokhtar Benabdallaoui, head of the philosophy department at Morocco’s Hassan II University. He discusses Islam and democracy with invited guests at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

• Jean-Marie Guehenno, U.N. undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, who discusses peace efforts in Congo with invited guests of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.


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