SLUG: 2-280962 Bush / Terror Diplomacy (L)
TITLE= BUSH TERROR DIPLOMACY (L only)
BYLINE= PAULA WOLFSON
DATELINE= WHITE HOUSE
INTRO: President Bush is meeting almost daily with foreign leaders as he tries to build an international coalition to fight terrorism. V-O-A's Paula Wolfson reports Canadian Jean Chretien is the latest to come to the White House for talks with Mr. Bush.
TEXT: The United States and Canada share the longest undefended border in the world. And as they emerged from the White House, President Bush and Prime Minister Chretien spoke of the strong bond between their countries.
But there have been a few irritations in recent days. President Bush did not mention Canada by name when he addressed the U-S Congress last Thursday. And Prime Minister Chretien's Canadian critics have complained his response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was far too slow.
As they emerged for a few minutes from the Oval Office after their formal talks, President Bush said these are the kinds of misunderstandings that arise between brothers.
Somebody said to me, "well, in your speech to Congress there was somebody who took affront in Canada because you did not mention their name. I didn't think it was important to praise a brother. After all, we are talking about family.
Mr. Bush accused critics of trying to drive a wedge between the United States and Canada.
///BUSH ACT TWO///
When nations are under attack, now is not the time for politics. /// OPT /// Now is the time to develop a strategy to fight and win the war. And Mr. Prime Minister I would like to thank you for being here to continue those efforts with me. /// END OPT ///
Prime Minister Chretien responded by re-affirming his commitment to fighting terrorism.
You have the support of Canadians. If you need us, we will be there.
/// BEGIN OPT /// Border security was, in large part, the focus of their discussions. Canadian immigration regulations are less strict than those in the United States, and there are concerns that terrorists are entering Canada and then slipping across the border. President Bush indicated some progress is being made on this issue, noting both countries are committed to the goal of protecting people from terrorist activity. /// END OPT ///
Prime Minister Chretien is the first of several high level visitors to the White House this week. They include the Prime Minister of Japan and Belgium, and Jordan's King Abdullah.
In all, Mr. Bush has consulted with more than two dozen world leaders since September 11th, when terrorists slammed hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Some of the discussions have taken place at the White House, others by telephone.
The list of contacts is long. In just four days last week, Mr. Bush hosted the Presidents of France and Indonesia; Britain's Prime Minister, and the foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and China.
Calls have been placed to every corner of the globe - - from Europe to South Africa to Thailand. But the lengthiest conversations appear to have been with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
/// BEGIN OPT /// There have been three such calls since the terrorist crisis began. On Saturday, President Bush spoke with Mr. Putin for almost an hour.
Vladimir Putin clearly understands that the Cold War is over, and that the United States and Russia can cooperate. We can cooperate with a new strategic arrangement. We can cooperate in the battle against terrorism.
///END ACT /// /// END OPT ///
Presidents Bush and Putin are expected to meet in person next month at the Pacific Rim summit in Shanghai (China). White House officials say despite the terrorist attacks, they are going ahead with the trip to Asia. (signed)
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