Berlin welcomes Bush pledgeto help nations 'find voice'

21st January 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 January 2005, BERLIN - The German government on Friday welcomed US President George W. Bush's inaugural pledge to help other countries in the world "find their own voice" on the path to freedom. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, in a message of congratulations on Bush's second term in office, was gratified to see that the president stressed America's intention to work with its allies in promoting democratic values, a spokesman said in Berlin. In his inaugural address on the steps of the US Capitol, Bush sai

 21 January 2005

BERLIN - The German government on Friday welcomed US President George W. Bush's inaugural pledge to help other countries in the world "find their own voice" on the path to freedom.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, in a message of congratulations on Bush's second term in office, was gratified to see that the president stressed America's intention to work with its allies in promoting democratic values, a spokesman said in Berlin.

In his inaugural address on the steps of the US Capitol, Bush said, "America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal, instead, is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom and make their own way."

Schroeder welcomed that stance and planned to discuss it at length in talks between the two leaders in Mainz, Germany, on 23 February, said spokesman Béla Anda.

His comments coinicded with The European Commission welcoming Bush's promise to promote closer relations with Europe.

The Commission - the executive arm of the European Union - said it was significant that the American leader had decided that his first foreign trip during his second presidential term would be to Europe.

The European Commission was "very satisfied," at President Bush's announcement, said spokeswoman Francoise Lebail.

The American leader's statements in favour of multilateralism were also "very appreciated," she said.

The Commission's statements highlight the search on both sides of the Atlantic to give a fresh start to frayed transatlantic relations during President Bush's second term.

Calls for stronger transatlantic cooperation are not only emanating from America's traditional allies - Britain, Netherlands, Poland and the Nordic states - but also from Germany and France, which had strongly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The new mood is also very much on display in Brussels where EU policy makers have put repairing relations with the US on the top of their foreign policy and trade agenda.

However, reviving transatlantic relations will be a long-haul effort following the acrimony provoked by differences over the Iraq war, EU diplomats admit.

Many are heartened by the US President's decision to visit EU and NATO headquarters in Brussels on 22 February. 

Diplomats in Brussels say the trip signals Washington,s readiness to mend fences with Europe, replacing years of tension with sweet talk of common transatlantic values and shared global concerns.

Repairing damages to the Atlantic alliance will not be achieved overnight, however.

The two sides still disagree over EU plans to lift the arms embargo on China.

Disagreement over how to tackle Iran's nuclear ambitions also continue to be a source of transatlantic friction. 

 DPA

Subject: German news

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