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President Bush Blasts Protesters

July 19, 2001

PARIS (AP) _ President Bush says anti-globalization protesters are hurting the chances for poorer nations to develop economically.

Speaking to a group of foreign journalists before leaving for the Group of Eight summit in Genoa, Italy, which begins Friday, Bush criticized the protesters for getting in the way of international development.

``The protesters in Italy have the right to express their opinion in a peaceful way,″ Bush said, the French newspaper Le Monde reported Wednesday. ``But they hurt the case of the poor when they argue against trade, they hurt the opportunities for developing nations to grow.″

Officials have been on guard for massive protests that have disrupted other summits in Prague, Czech Republic; Goteborg, Sweden; and Seattle in recent years. Italy is expected to call out as many as 20,000 police officers to provide security during the summit.

Bush arrived in London Wednesday, the first stop of his six-day visit to Europe.

Bush said his strategy in Genoa will be to call on prosperous nations ``to put policies in place to enhance prosperity: lower taxes, less regulation and free trade.″

The economic health of the world’s wealthy nations is necessary to help developing countries, Bush said.

``If our economies don’t grow, it’s very difficult for African nations to grow,″ he said.

On defense matters, Bush said the United States is committed to expanding NATO and said the suggestion by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia might join the alliance is ``interesting.″

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