January 31, 2005


Triumphant White House now looks to Europe (Julian Borger, February 1, 2005, The Guardian)

The high turnout in the Iraqi election has strengthened President Bush's hand at home and abroad, administration officials and the president's supporters said yesterday.

The courage of Iraqi voters was the perfect illustration of the Mr Bush's "freedom speech" at last month's inauguration, Bush supporters said.

They also said it would have an impact on transatlantic ties, making it harder, for example, for European critics to reject his calls for greater involvement in Iraq's stabilisation.

Yesterday, Mr Bush phoned the two European leaders who most vocally opposed the war in Iraq, the French president, Jacques Chirac, and German chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

A phone call served cold.

Europe to step up Iraq security effort (Judy Dempsey, February 1, 2005, International Herald Tribune)

European Union governments, which were divided over the U.S.-led war against Iraq, pulled together Monday and agreed to step up efforts to improve security after Iraqis held their first democratic elections in 50 years.

President Jacques Chirac of France, who along with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany had spearheaded the opposition in Europe to the war, spoke by telephone Monday with President George W. Bush and said the election Sunday "was an important stage in the political reconstruction of Iraq."

"The strategy of terrorist groups had partly failed," Chirac told Bush, according to Chirac's spokesman, Jérôme Bonnafont.

Germany, which has been slowly mending fences with Washington, praised the courage of Iraqi voters. "They deserve great recognition for the will they have shown to shape the future of the country peacefully and democratically, despite massive intimidation," said Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

The sense of European unity, at least for the moment, was made during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels and came three weeks before Bush visits Europe, stopping off in Brussels, where he will meet European and NATO leaders.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 31, 2005 11:09 PM
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