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European Union Pledges Support to New Iraqi Government

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2004 – The 25-nation European Union today pledged its support for Iraq's new interim government, President Bush said in his weekly radio address.

Bush has been attending a U.S.-European Union summit in Ireland, and then will take part in NATO's 17th summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

"The international community has a responsibility to promote the rise of a free Iraq, and it is meeting that responsibility," the president said. "Today, the nations of the European Union pledged their support for the new government of Iraq. Next week, at the NATO summit, we will discuss Iraqi Prime Minister (Ayad) Allawi's request for NATO help in training Iraq's security forces."

NATO, the president said, is capable of helping Iraq defeat the terrorist threat it faces. "As Iraq moves toward the transfer of sovereignty next week," Bush said, "NATO, the European Union and the United States are united in our determination to help the people of that nation."

Noting that Iraq's interim government takes charge June 30, Bush said the enemies of freedom have become increasingly desperate as that day approaches. He cited last week's slaying by terrorists of South Korean hostage Kim Sun-il.

"That cold-blooded act demonstrated once again the evil nature of the enemy," he said. "Their barbaric violence is designed to destabilize Iraq's new government, intimidate the Iraqi people and shake the will of our coalition. Yet, our will is firm."

Bush pointed out that South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun has reaffirmed his determination to send more troops to help rebuild Iraq, and that despite the violence, Iraq's leaders "refuse to be deterred from their dream of democracy, stability and prosperity for the Iraqi people."

At both summits, Bush said, the United States and other participating nations are seeking to strengthen the security of their homelands from the threat of terror. "We have taken steps to freeze and block terrorists' finances, make transportation safer and improve information sharing," he said. "We will discuss ways to further improve transportation safety and border security. Travel between our nations is the lifeblood of our friendship, our economies and our alliances, and that travel must be safe."

Bush said the nations represented at both summits believe freedom has the power to defeat poverty, hopelessness and ignorance. "We believe the advance of freedom makes the world safer for all nations," he said. "And we believe that when free nations work together, freedom will always prevail."

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Related Sites:
Eurpoean Union
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
United States-European Union Summit
NATO Istanbul Summit
Text and Audio of President Bush's Radio Address, June 26, 2004

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