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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 21:40 GMT 22:40 UK
Bush in Moscow for historic summit
George and Laura Bush touch down in Moscow 23 May 2002
George and Laura Bush touch down in Moscow
US President George Bush has arrived in Moscow for a summit with his counterpart Vladimir Putin during which they are due to sign a landmark nuclear arms treaty.


By being patient, relentless and resolute, we will defeat the enemies of freedom

George W Bush
Mr Bush arrives from the German capital, Berlin, where he issued an urgent appeal for unity in the face of the threat posed by global terrorism.

Addressing the German parliament, Mr Bush - who is on a week-long tour of Europe - said the threat of terrorism could not be appeased and America and its allies must remain united.

The US president was given a warm official welcome in Germany but his visit was marred by large protest marches against US policies around the world.

Slashing arsenals

The fifth meeting between Mr Bush and Mr Putin, but their first in Russia, will be crowned by the first superpower nuclear disarmament treaty in a decade.

Protesters burns US flag
America is criticised In Germany on a range of issues
The treaty aims to cut the nuclear arsenals of each side from their current levels of between 6,000 and 7,000 to between 1,700 and 2,200 over the next 10 years.

Mr Putin and Bush will also sign a broader strategic partnership agreement on issues such as fighting terrorism.

BBC Moscow correspondent Nikolai Gorshkov says Mr Bush comes to a country that is quite different from what it was even six months ago.

Click here for graphic of current US and Russian arsenals

Russia appears to be more at peace with itself and the outside world than at any time since her emergence from the ruins of the Soviet Union, our correspondent says.

In an interview with Russian television, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said he believed the "outcome of the visit will be to everyone's benefit - to the benefit of Russia, the US and the world community".

'Grave threat to liberty'

In Berlin, Mr Bush told the Bundestag: "Our generation faces new and grave threats to liberty, to the safety of our people and to civilisation itself. We face an aggressive force that glorifies death.

A Kremlin guard tackles a protester in Red Square
A protester wrestled to the ground amid tight security in Moscow
"Those who despise human freedom will attack it on every continent... Those who seek terrible weapons are also familiar with the map of Europe," Mr Bush told German legislators.

"This threat cannot be appeased or ignored. By being patient, relentless and resolute, we will defeat the enemies of freedom."

The president received polite applause during his speech. But he was briefly interrupted when three members of parliament heckled him and unfurled a banner which read "Mr Bush, Mr Schroeder, stop your wars."

During a news conference shortly before his address to the Bundestag, Mr Bush said the Iraqi regime presented a danger to civilisation.

The Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, should be disposed of, Mr Bush said, before he began sharing weapons of mass destruction with groups like al-Qaeda.

But he insisted that he had no current plans to attack Baghdad.

Protests

Mr Bush, whose hard line on Iraq has been met by scepticism and protests in Berlin, thanked Germany - "an incredibly important ally" - for shouldering a significant burden in the fight against terrorism.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said there were no differences between Germany and the US on the issue of Iraq, adding that he had been assured Germany would be consulted if a military operation against Baghdad were being planned.

However, several senior German politicians, including some close to Mr Schroeder, said President Bush would only get their support if he gave clear evidence that Saddam Hussein is supporting the al-Qaeda network.

Around 20,000 anti-US protesters took to the streets of Berlin on Wednesday night.

As well as opposing action against Iraq, they also voiced opposition to US policies on trade, the Middle East conflict, and the environment

The US president is also to visit France and Italy.



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 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Angus Roxburgh
"President Putin... may offer the strongest support"
Former Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev
"This is in the best interests of each country"
Nuclear arms expert Joseph Cirincione
"The agreement does nothing about dismantling nuclear warheads"

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See also:

23 May 02 | Europe
22 May 02 | Americas
22 May 02 | Europe
22 May 02 | Media reports
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