Bush visit to forge new US-European understanding

9th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 December 2004 , BRUSSELS - US President George W. Bush's planned visit to Europe represented an opportunity to forge a new understanding in transatlantic relations, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said.

9 December 2004

BRUSSELS - US President George W. Bush's planned visit to Europe represented an opportunity to forge a new understanding in transatlantic relations, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said. 

After the tensions unleashed by European opposition to the US-led war in Iraq, Fischer said the Bush visit represented "a chance for a new transatlantic consensus." He was speaking on Thursday during a NATO summit in Brussels.

Taking the floor as NATO's longest-serving foreign minister, Fischer on Thursday bid an emotional farewell to US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

A German foreign ministry spokesman said Fischer hailed Powell as a "fair and professional partner" who had shown a spirit of "outstanding cooperation" in dealing with Europe even during the difficult Iraq war period. Germany and France opposed the US-led invasion of Baghdad.

Ministers from the 26 nation NATO are currently meeting in Brussels for day-long talks focusing on Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

This is widely believed to be Powell's last visit to Europe before he leaves the Bush Administration at the end of the year. Powell's replacement, subject to Senate confirmation, will be National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Meanwhile, diplomats said NATO governments may hold summit talks in Brussels on 22 February to coincide with Bush's planned visit to alliance headquarters.

"We expect this will be a summit, but we have to confirm," a NATO official told reporters as alliance ministers met in Brussels. 

Powell told his NATO counterparts that President Bush would visit the alliance and the European Union on 22 February.

[Copyright DPA with Expatica]

Subject: German news

 

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