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In a speech in Brussels, Mr Bush will dismiss the transatlantic rift over the Iraq war as a "passing disagreement"
US President George W Bush is to urge European nations to give greater support to the new Iraqi government - "the world's newest democracy". In a speech in Brussels, Mr Bush will dismiss the transatlantic rift over the Iraq war as a "passing disagreement". The speech to EU and Nato leaders comes at the start of the US president's five-day visit to Europe. Divisions also remain over Iran's nuclear programme, EU plans to end the China arms embargo, and global warming. In Brussels, Mr Bush will host a private dinner with French President Jacques Chirac, one of the most outspoken critics of the US-led Iraq war. He will meet German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder - another critic of the Iraq war - in the German city of Mainz on Wednesday, tells BBC News. According to Xinhuanet, in a speech setting the tone for his Europe visit this week, Bush will offer a conciliatory message, saying "America supports a strong Europe because we need a strong partner in the hard work of advancing freedom in the world," according to excerpts of the address released by the White House. And after two years of bitter divide over the wisdom of the Iraq war, Bush will tell European leaders that "now is the time for the established democracies to give tangible political, economic, and security assistance" to Iraq. At a time of promise between Palestinians and Israelis, Bush will say "our immediate goal is peace in the Middle East," arguing that creation of a Palestinian state "can add to the momentum of reform throughout the broader Middle East." Despite Bush's public appeal for unity in the heart of Europe, policy differences remain -- over how hard to push Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions, and whether to impose new penalties to prod Syria to pull its troops out of Lebanon and to deny support for the Hizbollah guerrilla group. Washington is also worried about EU wishes to lift an arms embargo to China, but is seeking to play down differences in hope of casting the relationship in a cooperative light
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