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U.S./Poland: Bush Arrives In Krakow On First Leg Of Week-Long Tour

Krakow, 31 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush yesterday arrived in Poland on the first leg of a week-long tour aimed at mending fences with Europe over the Iraq war and seeking support for his Middle East peace efforts. The Air Force One presidential plane landed yesterday evening in the southern city of Krakow. It is the second time Bush is visiting Poland.

Today, he will pay a visit to the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz.

His program also includes talks with Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and a speech at the Wawel Castle to outline the future of the trans-Atlantic partnership and the challenges facing Western countries.

Poland supported the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq and contributed troops to the war. It has also pledged to commit additional troops to peacekeeping efforts in the war-torn country.

In an interview broadcast on Polish television ahead of his visit, Bush defended Poland -- a candidate for entry into the European Union -- against criticism of its war support. Bush said that, to his view, Poland can be a friend of the United States and a member of the European Union.