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President, EU Leaders Affirm Commitment in Iraq

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2005 – The upcoming international summit on support for Iraq sends "an important signal for people to hear loud and clear," President Bush said today during a news conference in the East Room of the White House.

Bush said the summit, to be jointly hosted by the European Union and the United States, demonstrates that countries are putting past differences over Iraq aside so they can work together to support its progress. "There may have been past differences over Iraq, but as we move forward, there is a need for the world to work together so that Iraq's democracy will succeed," he said.

Iraq remains dangerous "because there's cold-blooded killers that want to kill Americans or kill innocent Iraqis in order to try to drive us out of Iraq," Bush said.

Yet progress continues on the political front and in preparing the Iraqis to provide their own defense, he said.

"The report from the field is that while it's tough, more and more Iraqis are becoming battle-hardened and trained to defend themselves," Bush said. "That's exactly the strategy that's going to work, and it is going to work. And we will complete this mission for the sake of world peace."

The president joined European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President-in-Office Jean-Claude Juncker in sharing with reporters the details of their meeting today.

In addition to Iraq, the leaders discussed progress in Afghanistan and the broader Middle East, and the need "to continually support democratic movements," Bush said.

The leaders discussed the threat terrorism poses to that peace and agreed to continue working together to counter it, Bush said. "We talked about the need to continue to share information, to make sure that we cut off money flows to terrorist groups and prevent terrorist organizations from attaining weapons of mass destruction," he said.

They also reaffirmed their commitment not to tolerate Iran's development of a nuclear weapon and to work together to support Africa and the developing world.

The United States and members of the European Union share common values and aspirations in a partnership Bush said has helped build stability and maintain peace in Europe.

"The United States continues to support a strong European Union as a partner in spreading freedom and democracy and security and prosperity throughout the world," he said. "And democratic nations are nations that will help us keep the peace."

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Transcript of President Bush's news conference

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