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EU, US Vow to Strengthen Transatlantic Partnership

The European Union (EU) and US leaders said on Tuesday that their transatlantic partnership should be strengthened in order to tackle with common challenges such as terrorism, regional security and global warming.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Juncker, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said the visit of US president George W. Bush represented the start of a new relationship between Europe and the United States.

"The world would be much safer and more prosperous if the EU and the US work together," Juncker told a joint press conference after a EU-US summit held here on Tuesday afternoon.

Visiting US President Bush reiterated that "it is in our interest to have Europe as our strong partner," said that "it is not doubt that my government wants the European project to succeed."

The US president made conciliatory tone on the differences between the EU and the United States, saying that the two sides should resolve their differences "in a sensible way."

As for the Middle East peace process, President Bush said that his government would be "very much involved" in this process and said the objective of the process would be the peaceful coexistence of Israel and Palestine state.

Bush said that he also discussed with his European counterparts on issues of common interest such as AIDS, anti-poverty and global warming. He said that the United States and the EU should work together on the research capacity to make the air cleaner.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters that the visit of Bush is "very, very important" since the EU and the United States have reconnected. He underlined the importance of the transatlantic partnership, saying that there are many challenges, such as poverty, Aids and global warming, which no country can tackle alone.

"Europe knows that and the United States knows that," said Barroso. He also said the world would be much safer and more prosperous if the EU and the United States work together.

As for the Iraq issue, President Barroso said the EU would continue to provide political and financial support to the reconstruction of Iraq. "If the Iraqi government wants to make concrete proposals on action plan, we are ready to assist," he added.

President Bush kicked off his five-day Europe visit on Sunday night. He is also scheduled to visit Germany and Slovakia.

(Xinhua News Agency February 23, 2005)

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