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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
German press gives Bush thumbs up
US President Bush in Germany
The German media seems to be on his side

George Bush's speech to the lower house of the German parliament is welcomed by much of the country's press, but some papers warn that the president should be judged on his actions, and not words alone.

"Transatlantic togetherness" is the headline in an enthusiastic editorial in the right-of-centre Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The paper describes Mr Bush's address at the beginning of his tour of European capitals as "refreshing".

"He did not call for a gung-ho crusade against Baghdad. Instead, he tried to rally the support necessary for overcoming common threats," the paper says.

The paper also believes that Mr Bush's speech has gone some way to improving the balance in US-German relations.

"If there is a sub-text to Mr Bush's Berlin visit, then it was definitely the idea that together we are stronger still."

Statesman


Now George Bush must reflect on his message, and occasionally act on it

Sueddeutsche Zeitung

The cliché of Mr Bush being "a man whose absolute power has clouded his vision, who prefers to go it alone and does so to promote the United States' global hegemony" must stop, the paper adds.

The centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung agrees that nothing of the "uneducated... ultraconservative... militaristic... undiplomatic" leader could be seen in the president who spoke to the Bundestag.

The paper says that Mr Bush's speech was so effective because it did not focus solely on September 11, "but remembered the common historical and cultural legacy between Europe and the USA".

It urges Mr Bush to act on his words.

"Now George Bush must reflect on his message, and occasionally act on it."

Conflicting views

The popular tabloid paper Bild is just as complimentary about the "historic speech".

"Yesterday, it was not a warmonger that spoke to parliament - as many would have us believe - but a self-assured, convincing statesman," the paper declares.

Protest by members of Germany parliamentarians
Not everyone is happy

It criticises the anti-US demonstrations and the "disgraceful behaviour" of several lawmakers who interrupted the address holding a sign reading "Bush, stop your wars".

This will lead many Americans to doubt whether they can count on Germany in the war on terror, the paper adds.

The influential weekly Die Zeit also highlights the contradicting images of anti-US protests on the streets and a warm welcome for the US president in the parliament.

The paper concludes that there must be two George Bushs, one is " described on placards as a 'terrorist', 'warmonger' and 'Afghan murderer'", the other "receives a warm welcome and loud applause by parliamentarians".

"Two images, two realities. And who is right?" the paper asks.

Uncertain


Only when we know how Bush continues his fight against terrorism, can we be sure

Handelsblatt

The business daily Handelsblatt is somewhat less enthusiastic.

The paper is impressed by Mr Bush's performance.

"Looking on the positive side, there were none of his infamous slips of the tongue or embarrassing moments."

But it questions what he actually meant by his call for a new European partnership.

"Does he want an 'Axis of Good', stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals to put up a resistance to the 'Axis of Evil'?", the paper asks.

It warns that only the future will reveal what Mr Bush had really meant by his speech.

"Only when we know how Bush continues his fight against terrorism, can we be sure."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

23 May 02 | Europe
23 May 02 | Europe
22 May 02 | Europe
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