GeriGündem Bush says Turkey should be a member of EU
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Bush says Turkey should be a member of EU

Bush says Turkey should be a member of EU
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Turkey should be allowed to join the European Union, U.S. President George W. Bush told on Tuesday at a news conference after a summit with the 27-nation bloc's top officials in Slovenia. (UPDATED)

"We strongly believe Turkey should be a member of the EU," Bush was quoted by Reuters as saying at the news conference.

The United States appreciates Turkey's record of democratic and free market reforms and working to realize its EU aspirations, he added.

The EU opened entry talks with Turkey in 2005, but there has been little progress amid disagreements over Cyprus and opposition from France and other EU countries, including Austria and Germany. The bloc also suspended negotiations in eight policy chapters because of Turkey's refusal to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels.   


But President George W. Bush also acknowledged Tuesday the limits of U.S. influence over Tehran and, in the twilight of his presidency, appeared resigned to leaving the standoff to his successor, Reuters reported.

"I leave behind a multilateral framework to work on this issue," Bush told a news conference after a U.S.-European Union summit at a Slovenian castle.

"A group of countries can send a clear message to the Iranians, and that is: We're going to continue to isolate you ... we'll find new sanctions if need be, if you continue to deny the just demands of the free world, which is to give up your enrichment program," he said.

He stopped short of repeating the U.S. position that all options, including military action, remain open, suggesting that no drastic steps were likely before he leaves office. "Now is the time for there to be strong diplomacy," Bush said.

The United States and the European Union sought to turn up the pressure on Iran to drop its nuclear enrichment program, saying they were ready to go beyond a latest round of U.N. sanctions.

He met Slovenian leaders, who hold the EU's rotating presidency, as well as European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who has led efforts to get Iran to drop its enrichment program.


Solana is expected to travel to Iran soon to present a new offer by major powers of incentives for it to suspend uranium enrichment, but he has played down prospects of a breakthrough.

"Iran with a nuclear weapon would be incredibly dangerous for world peace," Bush said before setting off for Germany.

He is also due this week to visit France, Britain and Italy. All have roles on the Iranian issue.

A statement released after the three-hour summit said the United States and EU were ready to deploy extra measures against Iran on top of existing U.N. sanctions.

All agree Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, a possible outcome of its uranium enrichment program. Tehran insists the program is strictly for civilian purposes.

But it remained unclear how far the Europeans, who rarely echo Bush's harsh rhetoric against Iran and have sometimes been reluctant to get tougher, would be willing to go.

Washington has pressed the EU to deny some Iranian banks access to the world financial system.

"We want to indeed show to Iranians that we mean it very seriously. ... (We are) particularly thinking of asset freezes," European External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told reporters after the summit:

An Iranian newspaper said Iran was withdrawing assets from European banks and converting some foreign exchange assets into gold and equities to neutralize the impact of sanctions.


Bush was accused by critics of "cowboy diplomacy" during much of his presidency, but has tried to take a more cooperative approach with allies in his second term.

He acknowledges he is unpopular in Europe, as well as at home. "A lot of people like America. They may not sometimes necessarily like the president," he told Slovenia's Pop TV before setting off from Washington.

On climate change, EU policymakers say they have given up trying to get Washington to join with the bloc in signing up now to binding cuts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Bush reiterated on Tuesday that the United States would not agree to cuts until big developing nations made commitments too:

"Unless China and India are at the table, unless they agree to a goal, unless they agree to firm strategies to achieve that goal, I don't see how any international agreement can be effective" he was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Reflecting on a seeming indifference among locals to a visiting U.S. president with less than eight months left in office, no demonstrators were seen in the heavily guarded streets of Slovenian capital Ljubljana, near the summit venue.

Photo: Reuters   









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