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Bush: Every Government Has 'Duty' to Fight Terrorism - 2004-03-20


President Bush is calling on allies to put aside their differences over the Iraq war and unite in the fight against terrorism.

Mr. Bush said it is the "duty of every government to fight and destroy this threat to our people." He said any "sign of weakness or retreat simply validates terrorist violence and invites more violence for all nations."

President Bush made the speech to observe the first anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Diplomats from more than 80 nations gathered at the White House for the president's remarks.

Mr. Bush acknowledged the war in Iraq sparked major disagreement among allies. But he said those differences "belong to the past" as nations work together in the fight against terrorism.

In his speech, the president said the fall of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein "removed a source of of violence, aggression, and instability in the Middle East." And he said whatever a nation's views about the Iraq war, every country now has an interest in a free, stable Iraq.

The presumed Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry, marked the one-year anniversary of the Iraq war by repeating accusations that President Bush misled Americans about reasons for the war. He said Mr. Bush "did not tell the truth" about the war and "our country is paying the price."

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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