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Kosovo Tops Bush's Agenda for Talks With Portuguese PM


The situation in Kosovo was high on the agenda when President George Bush met Monday with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House.

The Portuguese prime minister says he is trying to forge a unified stand on the future of Kosovo across the Atlantic, and within Europe.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with President Bush, Jose Socrates said Americans and Europeans agree on the need to find a solution to the Kosovo dilemma.

"Our discussions about Kosovo show that the cooperation between Europe and the United States is very important for safety and for stability in the world," he said. "And I guaranteed to the president that the first priority I have in my mind regarding Kosovo is keep Europe united."

International talks on Kosovo are currently deadlocked, as the Serbian government, backed by Russia, has refused to accept the territory's demand for independence.

Prime Minister Socrates hinted at the difficulty of reaching a European consensus on the issue, but made clear he was determined to succeed.

"And I will do my best in order to face the delicate problem, but [it is] important for Europe in order [to meet the challenge] to show a strong and united Europe," he said.

Kosovo was just one of the world trouble spots discussed during the White House meeting. President Bush left no doubt they had a lot to talk about, including the bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur region and the outlook for global trade negotiations.

"We talked about issues like Darfur, Doha," he said. "We talked about Kosovo and the Middle East. And both of us are committing to working together to see if we can't solve those problems, or at least put them in a better position."

Mr. Bush also made mention of Portuguese efforts to help the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. He said those seeking freedom appreciate Portugal's support.

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