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The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"If there is one message from this summit it is that Nato must remain united"
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US President George W Bush
"It was a good start on a long and important agenda"
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Nato Secretary-General Lord Robertson
"He's challenged the Europeans to think carefully"
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Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
Bush's Nato charm offensive
Bush tests Belgian chocolate following a day of Nato meetings
Sweet talking: Mr Bush is trying to explain his plans
By Jonathan Marcus in Brussels

President Bush's charm offensive at Nato seems to have gone down well.

There is still scepticism in many quarters about missile defence, but there does seem to be a recognition that the Americans are making a much greater effort to explain their case.

What President Bush wants is little short of a strategic revolution

Mr Bush told alliance leaders that he was committed to developing a new framework for nuclear security. He said this would involve the fielding of limited but effective missile defences.

But President Bush emphasised that this was only part of a much broader strategic project:

"We're not asking our allies to sign on to a specific system," he stressed. "We're asking allies to think differently and asking Russia to think differently about the post-Cold War era."

Changed times

He said the ABM treaty was a product of that era - "a time when the United States and Russia were bitter enemies, and the whole concept of peace was based upon the capacity of each of us - each country - to blow each other up".

The press centre in Gothenburg
Bush's presidential debut in Europe has been closely scrutinised
What President Bush wants is little short of a strategic revolution.

But it is not going to be easy to bring about.

In large part, it depends on whether the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, can be won round to Mr Bush's way of thinking.

Much of Wednesday's discussions focused on immediate rather than future security threats, especially the crisis in Macedonia.

One Nato insider said this was causing increasing alarm.

President Bush ruled out the despatch of Nato troops. But there does seem to be a growing concern that the political options in Skopje are running out.

The French president, Jacques Chirac, for one, said that Nato should not preclude any form of action that might be needed to thwart a new outbreak of violence and intolerance.

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