Skip to comments.Bush, Czech Chief Havel Talk NATO, 9/11
Posted on 09/18/2002 3:30:17 PM PDT by knighthawk
WASHINGTON (AP) Czech President Vaclav Havel, at the White House for business meetings and a social dinner, assured President Bush on Wednesday of the Czech Republic's friendship and called for NATO to play a post-Sept. 11 role in facing down ``a new kind of evil.''
Bush welcomed Havel with effusive affection, calling him ``a truly remarkable person, a man who symbolizes courage and determination, and a man who loves freedom.''
``Mr. President, you're a unique person who has helped change the world,'' Bush said as the two presidents opened their official talks before the fireplace in the Oval Office.
Havel, who suffers severe respiratory problems, leaned his elbows onto his knees and spoke with labored breaths. He thanked Bush in English for the United States' recent help with floods in Praque that caused an estimated $2.85 billion in damage.
``I would like to assure you that Czech Republic is and will remain a good friend of the United States, a good ally,'' said Havel.
Noting the NATO summit that will convene in his country's capital in November, Havel said:
``I think that now it would be important if NATO were able to redefine itself, to find its new identity in this very changed world. Especially now, after the 11th of September, I think there is a lot of new kind of evil in this world and it is necessary to face this evil and to face all who support it.''
In addition to their morning meeting, the two presidents and their wives were spending the evening together over cocktails and dinner at the White House.
Havel, who is constitutionally barred from seeking another term and will retire in January, is making his weeklong official visit to the United States as Bush tries to build international support for forcing Iraq's Saddam Hussein from power and disarming his country. Havel has said that any military action against Iraq should have broad international support.