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Bush Looks For Fresh Start With Europe

Bush is to deliver his message in Brussels today (file photo) 21 February 2005 -- U.S. President George W. Bush is calling for a fresh start to U.S.-European relations, saying that what he calls the "great duties" of the trans-Atlantic partners in the future are becoming clear.

Bush's remarks come in a speech he is to deliver later today in Brussels, the first stop of a five-day tour of Europe. A text of the speech was made available to the press early.

Bush says the United States supports a strong Europe because it needs a strong partner "in the hard work of advancing freedom in the world."

He says sound trans-Atlantic friendship is essential to peace and prosperity across the globe. Referring to the strains caused by the Iraq war and other differences, Bush said "no passing disagreement" could ever divide the allies.

On 23 February, Bush goes to Germany for talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and then Slovakia, where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 24 February.