Bush speech to hail US-European ties in Paris speech
United States President George W Bush was expected to arrive in Paris later Friday to deliver a speech praising a new era in US-European ties, the Paris-based International Herald Tribune reported on Friday.
"Instead of dwelling on our differences, we are increasingly united in our interests and ideals," Bush is expected to say in an address to be delivered at the headquarters of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to parts of the speech released by the White House and published by the newspaper, reported dpa.
The speech at the OECD is viewed as a high point of Bush's farewell tour of Europe, which has seen him travel to Slovenia, Germany and Italy, with the Paris stop preceding visits to Britain and Northern Ireland.
In the speech he is to deliver later Friday, Bush will reportedly also speak about the coming US presidential elections.
"When the time comes to welcome a new American president next January 1, I will be pleased to report to him that the relationship between the United States and Europe is the broadest and most vibrant it has ever been," the speech says.
Bush's address will be packed with praise for the current European leaders with whom he has met with or is still to meet on the week- long trip, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
"In leaders like Berlusconi and Brown, Merkel and Sarkozy, I see a commitment to a powerful and purposeful Europe that advances the values of liberty within its borders and beyond," Bush was expected to say.
Following the address at the OECD, he will be welcomed by Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace for a gala dinner. The two leaders will then sit down for talks early Saturday, before Bush leaves for London, the next leg of his trip.
One of the topics of the meeting with Sarkozy is certain to be Afghanistan and the 21.4 billion dollars pledged Thursday at a conference in Paris to aid in the reconstruction of that country.
Of that total, the US pledged nearly half, or 10.2 billion dollars. The announcement was made at the conference by the US president's wife, Laura Bush