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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:25, February 23, 2005
Bush wins token pledge from EU
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On Day Two of his first summit with European leaders since the Iraq War, US President George W. Bush has won a largely symbolic pledge from NATO allies to help train Iraqi security forces.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer trumpeted the agreement of all 26 allies to make some contribution to the Iraq training mission as a sign of the alliance's rediscovered unity.

After the meeting, Bush said it was a strong statement.

"NATO is involved in Iraq, and NATO is doing a vital mission which is to help an officer corp emerge," said Bush.

The NATO alliance has been struggling for months to get a commitment from all allies to mount a training mission for Iraqi security personnel.

Officials said they now had enough resources to increase the mission to include 160 instructors and 200 guards and support staff on the ground in Iraq.

The European Union also offered to stage a conference to rally international support for Iraq together with the United States.

Meanwhile, at the closing of a summit with the 25 European Union leaders in Belgium, Bush denied that the US is ready to attack Iran, but he did not rule out the possibility.

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table," said bush.

Bush also says he looks forward to working with his European allies to find a peaceful solution in the Middle East.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says the meeting has been a turning point in relations with the United States.

But despite Barroso's optimism, Bush and his European partners still don't see eye-to-eye on several issues.

France, Germany and other opponents to the Iraq war will not send instructors to Iraq, limiting their contribution to training outside the country or funding for the operation.

Other differences include the US' refusal to join the Kyoto climate accord on global warming and Europe's proposal to end a 15-year-old embargo of arms sales to China.


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