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Bush urges France to set aside differences with US
Updated: 2005-02-19 11:11

US President George W. Bush said Friday that he and his French counterpart Jacques Chirac should set their differences aside to focus on the Middle East, Lebanon and other issues.

Speaking in an interview with France-3 television, Bush acknowledged that he and Chirac have had differences, but "Now's the time to set those aside."

"I look forward to working with President Chirac." "There's a lot of areas where we need to work together," Bush said, noting the US and France should focus on peace in the Middle East and helping Lebanon have free and fair elections.

On Iranian nuclear issues, Bush said the United States and Europe need to speak with one voice on Iran. He said that he appreciated European efforts to get Iran to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Washington and Paris have been pressing Syria to withdraw its some 15,000 troops from Lebanon. They sponsored a resolution that the UN Security Council passed in September which effectively called on Syria to withdraw its troops and to stop interfering in Lebanese politics.

Bush is due to kick off on Sunday his visit to Brussels where he is to meet North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union leaders on Tuesday.

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