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Bush Travels to Vienna for EU Talks


President Bush is on his way to Vienna for talks with leaders of the European Union that are expected to focus on Iran's nuclear program, the war against terror and trade. There is a full agenda for the annual trans-Atlantic summit, including security and economic issues.

White House National Security Adviser Steve Hadley says promoting freedom and democracy and winning the war on terror top the list.

"We are seeking to enhance cooperation in promoting democracy in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America," he said. "On the security front, the leaders will set priorities for U.S. - EU counter-terrorism cooperation, particularly countering terrorist financing and efforts to prevent terrorist access to weapons of mass destruction."

Hadley says diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program will be reviewed in Vienna. Iran is now studying a package of incentives designed to convince Tehran to suspend uranium processing. The package, which was drafted by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, was formally presented to Iran by the EU's top foreign policy official, Javier Solana.

"Iran will certainly be a topic with the EU leadership, but I think it will be simply to review the bidding, where we are, and reaffirm what has been very good cooperation and solidarity on the international community," he said.

Hadley made clear no major announcements on Iran are expected.

"I think what you will hear is simply an opportunity to assess where we are headed with the EU leadership and a reaffirmation of where we are," he said.

Trade is another issue that will come under scrutiny in Vienna, particularly the outlook for progress in the current round of world trade negotiations.

Members of the World Trade Organization are struggling to meet a year-end deadline for completion of the so-called Doha round of trade talks. In a recent Washington address, President Bush acknowledged the talks are in trouble, and called on all nations to make concessions.

"Now is the time for the world to come together, and make this world a free trading world, not only for the benefit of our own economies, but as an important part of the strategy to reduce poverty around the world," the president said.

But European trade officials complain the United States is calling on others to take action, but is not willing to make enough concessions of its own, particularly in the area of agricultural trade.

President Bush will be discussing all these matters and more in Vienna with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, who holds the revolving presidency of the European Union. European Commission President Jose Barroso and other officials will also take part in the summit, part of a regular series of consultations between the United States and the EU leadership.

Mr. Bush will remain in Vienna for less than 24 hours, before heading on to Budapest, Hungary, where he will take part in ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian revolution that was crushed by Soviet troops. Aides say the overriding theme of his stay will be the power of democracy.

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