The United States and the European Union have pledged their "full and sustained support" for Iraq's interim government, which is due to take power on Thursday.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Ireland Saturday, President George Bush, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and European Commission head Romano Prodi affirmed their commitment to help the Iraqi people.

President Bush also said he believes the bitter differences over the Iraq war are over and that NATO has the capability and the responsibility to help Iraqis defeat "the terrorist threat facing their country."

An EU-US statement says a "fully sovereign" government in Baghdad will work to "build a free, secure, democratic, unified and prosperous country." The leaders called for easing Iraq's debt burden, promised to help the new government's security forces and emphasized the need for elections no later than January of 2005.

President Bush later left Ireland for Turkey, where he will meet with Turkish leaders and attend a NATO summit in Istanbul.