February 22, 2005


President challenges Europe to step outside the comfort zone (Roland Watson and Rory Watson, 2/22/05, Times of London)

PRESIDENT BUSH gave a stern warning to Israel yesterday as he set the bruised transatlantic alliance a series of grand goals for the 21st century.

Mr Bush used the keynote address of his European visit to lay out tough terms for Israel before peace could be established in the Middle East.

He said that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, must stop all settlement activity in the West Bank. And he went further than ever before in insisting that an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank had to be large-scale rather than piecemeal.

Referring to the resulting Palestinian state, Mr Bush said: “A state of scattered territories will not work.” The line produced one of the biggest rounds of applause, which was polite if hardly enthusiastic, from the audience of 300 European dignitaries in Brussels.

Mr Bush later delivered his toughest words to Syria since the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon. He said that Syria had to end its “occupation” of Lebanon, the first time he has described it as such.

The President and Jacques Chirac, the French leader, issued a joint statement telling Damascus to do so before Lebanon’s parliamentary elections this spring. [...]

Stability, a theme sounded by Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, in a landmark foreign policy speech this month, could be over-rated, Mr Bush said. “In the Cold War, Europe saw the so-called stability of Yalta (the division of postwar Europe into communist and capitalist spheres of influence) as a constant source of injustice and fear,” he said. Only the spread of freedom would guarantee Europeans peace.

Mr Bush also delivered a sharp rebuke to President Putin of Russia, whom he is meeting on Thursday in the Slovak Republic. “For Russia to make progress as a European nation, the Russian Government must renew a commitment to democracy and the rule of law,” he said in an elegant reception room in the Concert Noble. [...]

Mr Bush referred to the divisions over Iraq in a manner some could have regarded as loaded. “Some European nations joined the fight to liberate Iraq, while others did not,” he said.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 22, 2005 12:00 AM

"...some could have regarded as loaded."? You think? Don't you notice the sucking chest wound? Oh, that's right, you have no need of it, do you.

Posted by: Luciferous at February 22, 2005 2:50 PM