Bush warns Europe, Russia on Mideast

Friday, May 24, 2002

MOSCOW -- Bearing words of warning across a continent, President Bush told wary European leaders Thursday "we've got to use all means at our disposal to deal with Saddam Hussein" and urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to sever nuclear ties with Iran.

"If you arm Iran, you're liable to get the weapons pointed at you," the president said on the eve of signing a historic U.S.-Russian nuclear arms reduction treaty. Bush considers Russia's dealings with Iran the single greatest proliferation threat on the globe, a senior adviser said en route to Moscow.

On a day that took him from the old East-West divide of Berlin to the heart of the former Soviet Union, a defiant Bush answered critics of his expanding anti-terror war plans. He denounced anyone who would appease terrorists or ignore threats to Europe.

"We will and must confront this conspiracy against our liberties and against our lives," the president said in an address to the Bundestag, Germany's parliament.

Hours later, squinting into an evening Moscow sun, Bush strode off Air Force One and stood on a small red carpet fringed in gold as a Russian military band played the American national anthem.

Bush and Putin meet Friday to sign a 10-year treaty binding the nations to reduce their nuclear stockpiles by about two-thirds -- to a range of 1,700 to 2,200 each.

The three-page treaty has a preamble and just five articles. Article III establishes a commission to ensure that the terms are carried out and to handle any issues that arise.

Hundreds of Communists and leftists staged a protest at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

The German capital was quiet Thursday, as Bush responded to anti-war protesters who clogged city streets a day before -- and to European leaders balking at his hopes of toppling Saddam.

"Wishful thinking might bring comfort, but not security. Call this a strategic challenge. Call it, as I do, axis of evil. Call it by any name you choose, but let us speak the truth: If we ignore this threat, we invite certain blackmail and place millions of our citizens in grave danger," Bush said to polite applause from lawmakers.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: