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During Polish Visit, Bush Calls for Strong, Undivided NATO

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2003 – President Bush thanked Poland for its strong support in the global war on terror and for its aid in Iraq. He said NATO, European and other countries must cooperate to build a world of freedom and peace.

Poland is the first stop of the president's trip, which will also take him to Russia, France, Jordan and Qatar. White House officials said the president will use the trip in part to reaffirm U.S. commitment to NATO. In Qatar, he'll meet with Gen. Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command, and will visit U.S. and coalition forces.

In his weekly radio address and during a speech in Krakow May 31, Bush told Europeans what the American vision for the future looks like.

"Poland and America are proud members of NATO, and our military alliance must be prepared to meet the challenges of our time," Bush said during his weekly radio address. "Our common security requires European governments to invest in modern military capabilities so our forces can move quickly with a precision that can strike the guilty and spare the innocent."

He said the United States is committed to a strong Atlantic alliance, to ensure security, to advance human freedom and to keep peace in the world.

And that last is key: NATO must be ready to act beyond Europe. "NATO has agreed to lead security forces in Afghanistan and to support Polish allies in Iraq," he said. "A strong NATO alliance, with a broad vision of its role, will serve our security and the cause of peace."

Bush noted that America owes its heritage of democracy, tolerance and freedom to Europe. "We have sacrificed for those ideals together in the great struggles of the past," he said in Krakow.

"In the Second World War, the forces of freedom came together to defeat Nazism. In the Cold War, our transatlantic alliance opposed imperial communism. And today our alliance of freedom faces a new enemy, a lethal combination of terrorist groups, outlaw states seeking weapons of mass destruction, and an ideology of power and domination that targets the innocent and justifies any crime."

The president said this is the time to unite. "This is no time to stir up divisions in a great alliance," he said.

But military power is only part of the equation. Bush called on Western nations to match the United States' commitment to countering the scourge of AIDS, famine and disease in Africa and other developing countries. This help will address the root causes of the suffering that attracts recruits to terrorist organizations, he said.

Bush indicated he will meet with the Palestinian and Israeli Prime Ministers, and other leaders in the Middle East. "The work ahead will require difficult decisions and leadership, but there is no other choice," he said.

"No leader of conscience can accept more months and years of humiliation and killing and mourning. For peace to prevail, terrorism must end. All concerned must shake off the old arguments and the old ways and act in the cause of peace. And I will do all I can to help the parties reach and agreement and to see that agreement is enforced."

Bush said that defeating terror, hunger and disease and the spread of liberty are at the core of America's policies. "We welcome and we need the help, advice and wisdom of friends and allies," he said. "When Europe and America are united, no problem and no enemy can stand against us."

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