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Bush in Vienna for US-EU Summit


President Bush is in Vienna for high-level talks on Wednesday with European Union leaders. They have a full agenda for their annual U.S.-EU summit.

They will talk about Iran, Iraq, trade, and a host of other issues.

President Bush says there is much they can accomplish together. "America and Europe must work together to advance freedom and democracy. We will cooperate to expand trade and prosperity. We will strengthen our efforts to combat terrorism. And we will stand together to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," he said.

The comments came in a speech on the eve of his departure to graduates of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Mr. Bush spoke of the ties that bind the United States and Europe and the challenges that lie ahead. At the top of his list: the dispute over Iran's nuclear intentions.

Iran is considering a package of incentives put together by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany that is designed to convince Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment.

The package was presented to the Iranian government by the EU senior foreign policy official, Javier Solana, who will attend the meetings with Mr. Bush. "Iran's leaders have a clear choice. We hope they will accept our offer and voluntarily suspend these activities, so we can work out an agreement that will bring Iran real benefits," he said.

White House officials say the U.S.-EU summit will provide an opportunity to assess the situation. But they also say no announcements on Iran are expected to emerge from Vienna.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel is hosting this summit because he currently holds the EU presidency. He will hold a joint news conference after the talks with President Bush and European Commission President Jose Barroso.

Protesters are also vowing to be heard in the Austrian capital during the summit. Security is tight in some neighborhoods as the meeting approaches, but in most of the city people are talking more about the unusually warm weather that has brought tourists and Viennese out to the city streets to enjoy the sunshine.

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