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Bush: Russia Is Not an Enemy

June 12, 2001

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ President Bush opened his first European trip on the defensive Tuesday as European allies rejected his stand on global warming and opposed his plans for a missile defense system. ``I look forward to making my case,″ Bush said.

The president spoke in a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar after the two leaders’ private meetings launched Bush’s maiden European tour.

Bush, who is scheduled to meet Vladimir Putin for the first time on Saturday in Slovenia, said he will offer the Russian president ``a strong normal relationship with America.″

``Russia is not the enemy of the United States,″ Bush said, defending his position to abrogate the two nations’ Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to build a missile defense shield for the United States.

As it is, the treaty prevents America ``from exploring other opportunities,″ Bush said.

Bush had still been behind closed doors with Aznar at the Spaniard’s whitewashed ranch house south of Madrid when the European Union served notice from Brussels, Belgium, that U.S. allies rejected Bush’s new initiatives on climate change, calling them short on action.

They urged Bush to change his mind and back the Kyoto treaty on global warming.

Bush said the treaty was flawed, ``unrealistic″ and not based on sound science. He said his administration is committed to reducing greenhouse gases in the United States.

As to his critics in the European Union, whom Bush meets Thursday, he said: ``I come to the conference believing that every leader is sincere about his desire to clean the world and so are we. We have a different approach, but we have the same goals.″

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