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Bush, Berlusconi Urge Quick UN Passage of Iraq Resolution - 2004-06-05


President Bush, in Europe honoring Allied sacrifices during World War Two, appealed today (Saturday) to a new generation of Europeans and Americans to pull together to help Iraq return to democracy.

Speaking in Rome, where he met with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the president called the war against terror "the challenge of our time."

Mr. Berlusconi, a staunch supporter of the U.S. - led coalition in Iraq, urged quick passage of a draft resolution before the United Nations Security Council that seeks international cooperation in rebuilding the war-torn country.

Mr. Bush says he is confident the Council will adopt the resolution next week.

Italy has sent nearly 3,000 troops to Iraq -- the third largest contingent in the coalition force.

Mr. Bush said the U.S. - coalition will remain in Iraq after June 30th, when sovereignty is restored to an interim government, to help, in his words, "establish security, so that the Iraqi people can live their lives free of fear and so that democracy can take root."

Mr. Bush left Italy after his meeting with Mr. Berlusconi and flew to Paris for talks with French President Jacques Chirac.

The president is on a three-day visit to Europe marking decisive events 60 years ago during World War Two, including the D-Day invasion by Allied forces, and the liberation of Rome.

Mr. Bush, Mr. Chirac and 15 other heads of state and government will appear together in Normandy Sunday to commemorate D-Day -- the enormous military operation on June 6th, 1944, that was crucial in the successful effort to end Nazi Germany's control over much of Europe.

Information for this report is provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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