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U.S. Official: Bush Latvia, Georgia Visits Not Message To Russia

Washington, 4 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A senior U.S. official says President George W. Bush's planned visit to Latvia and Georgia around the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II is not meant to send any message to Russia.

Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, told reporters today that Bush's upcoming trip to Latvia, Russia, and Georgia is meant to mark the wartime alliance that defeated Nazi Germany. It will also, he said, stress the common values binding Europe together.

"The trip as a whole is an opportunity, taken together, to obviously celebrate the defeat of fascism and Nazism in Europe. It is also to acknowledge and celebrate the end of communism in Europe and the advent of what we're beginning to see increasingly -- a Europe whole and free where democracy and freedom are increasingly practiced by all the states," Hadley said.

Hadley said during the trip Bush will deliver speeches stressing that democracy is more than elections. He said Bush will emphasize the importance of respect for minorities, rule of law, and inclusion of minorities in political systems.

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