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Barroso says progress made in talks with U.S. on climate change

Barroso says progress made in talks with U.S. on climate change

U.S. President George W. Bush said Monday he is stepping up a dialogue with Russia over a planned U.S. missile defense system in Europe in hopes of convincing Moscow that Washington's intentions are friendly.
In a joint news conference during a U.S.-European Union summit at the White House, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso said that talks with Bush had led to progress on climate change, but there was no indication of movement on European calls for the U.S. to accept caps on carbon emissions, an issue that has divided the two sides.
Indicating that he was listening to European concerns on other matters, Bush said that it was at the urging of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, that he has begun trying to better explain his missile defense plans to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Bush administration is planning to install a radar system and interceptors in Eastern Europe as part of its broader missile defense system. Last week, Putin repeated opposition to the U.S. plan and threatened to pull out of a key post-Cold War treaty that set limits on the deployment of military forces in Europe as a result.
"Our intention of course is to have a defense system that prevents rogue regimes from holding western Europe and/or America hostage," Bush said. "Evidently, the Russians see it differently."
Bush said he personally requested of Putin that he give Defense Secretary Robert Gates an audience on a recent trip to Moscow so that Gates could discuss the plan more fully.
"We have started a dialogue, as a result of Secretary Gates' visit, that hopefully will make explicit our intentions, and hopefully will present an opportunity to share with the Russians so that they don't see us as an antagonist force, but see us as a friendly force," Bush said.
Ahead of the talks with Bush, Merkel on Monday proposed that Russia be invited to participate in a common threat analysis to clarify the need for the defense system. She said that talks should take place in the NATO-Russia council.
Though she said she did not expect great progress on the impasse with Russia at the summit, she said she would press her concerns.
"I want to make clear again that things need to be discussed jointly with Russia," she said.
Merkel did not comment on the topic in her joint appearance with Bush after the summit meetings.
Barroso, who led the summit's European delegation with Merkel, said over the weekend that Russia should not have a veto over the proposed missile defense system and criticized Putin's threat.
The missile defense issue overshadowed the meetings, the primary goal of which was U.S.-European unity at a time when the two sides have sidestepped disagreements over global trade and climate change. The leaders promised to continue to press for an agreement on the Doha Round of global trade talks and to discuss policies on global warming more intensely at a meeting of the group of eight industrialized countries in June.
Diplomatic efforts to achieve Middle East peace and to get Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program were also tap at the summit, as were a U.S. visa waiver program that excludes some European nations, the violence in Sudan's Darfur region, and global trade talks.
European leaders and the U.S. have helped push through two sets of United Nations sanctions as part of international efforts to pressure Iran to make nuclear concessions. In response to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Barroso said Tehran should know that the concern about its nuclear program was coming from many parts of the world, not just Washington.
Bush called Iran "a significant threat to world peace today and in the future" because of its nuclear program.
He said that the United States and the European Union are "united in sending this very clear message" to back enforcement of U.N. resolutions on Iran to allow inspections of nuclear facilities.
Merkel has sought to foster closer ties between Europe and Washington, after years of disputes over the Iraq war and the U.S. treatment of terror suspects.
The three leaders praised a new agreement they reached to integrate their economies in such areas as trade, investment and innovation, by finding ways to harmonize regulations and standards.
Officials plan to sign an agreement Monday to establish a body to oversee the negotiations to be led by Allan Hubbard, Bush's director of the National Economic Council, and EU Industry Commissioner Guenther Verheugen.
"It is a recognition that the closer the United States and E.U. become, the better off our people become," Bush said. "And so this is a substantial agreement and I appreciate it."
They also signed a pact to that will permit American and European air transport carriers to have freer access to U.S. and EU cities.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed the agreement as "pro-growth, pro-competitive, pro-consumer."
"This agreement ushers in an era of unprecedented liberalization for an area that encompasses 60 percent of global civil aviation traffic," she said.
German Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs Wolfgang Tiefensee said: "We have made a first and decisive step towards an open and completely liberalized trans-Atlantic aviation market."
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Associated Press writer Michael Fischer contributed to this report.
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Updated : 2021-05-14 16:24 GMT+08:00