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Bush: NATO Leaders Agree to Put Aside Past Disputes

President Bush has called NATO the cornerstone of transatlantic relations.

Speaking after talks with leaders of all 26 alliance countries in Brussels, Mr. Bush said they agreed to put aside past disputes, such as that over the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer noted that all of the allies backed operations in Afghanistan, the Balkans and Kosovo, and agreed to fully staff and finance the Iraqi officer training mission.

Mr. Bush is on a three-nation European tour aimed at mending transatlantic ties strained by the Iraq war. In his comments, Mr. Bush reaffirmed his commitment to assist the spread of democratic reform.

Earlier Tuesday, he praised the Iraqi people for defying terrorism and going to the polls in the January 30 elections.

President Bush meets Tuesday with European Union leaders ahead of talks in Germany Wednesday with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and a summit in Slovakia Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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