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See more of the world that matters - click here for home delivery of the International Herald Tribune. « Back to Start of Article DAVOS, Switzerland Seeking to bridge the deep differences between the United States and other nations, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain urged the Bush administration on Wednesday to heed the concerns of others in return for support in its wars on terrorism and tyranny.
"If America wants the rest of the world to be part of the agenda it has set, it must be part of their agenda, too," Blair said, appealing for unity in fighting both terrorism and poverty.
"It can do so, secure in the knowledge that what people want is not for America to concede but to engage," he added.
The British leader was speaking at the World Economic Forum in this Swiss ski resort, offering what was billed as a keynote speech on an array of issues from AIDS to climate control - matters that also preoccupied President Jacques Chirac in an earlier speech to the conference by video from Paris.
But while Chirac, seeming to vie with Blair, focused on development issues and AIDS, Blair warned that if global leaders persisted in pursuing separate approaches to key issues like climate control, the world was unlikely to solve its most pressing problems.
"The alternative is the international community with competing agendas," Blair said. "That may help the political art of grandstanding, but it won't present constructive solutions."
Speaking shortly after Chirac, Blair referred to President George W. Bush's inaugural address last week, which some people in Europe depicted as an alarming harbinger of further intervention in foreign countries under the guise of spreading democracy.
"The underlying features of the speech seem to be these," Blair said, acting as he has in the past as an interpreter of American motives to a skeptical Europe.
"America accepts that terrorism cannot be defeated by military might alone. The more people live under democracy, with human liberty intact, the less inclined they or their states will be to indulge terrorism or to engage in it.
"By its very nature, such a mission cannot be accomplished alone. It is the very antithesis of isolationism, the very essence of international engagement. It requires long-term cooperation," said Blair, who has been the closest ally of Bush in the Iraq war.
In an interview after his speech, Blair said it was "important to restate the importance of the American alliance" and to stress that, while the president's speech was taken by some people as neoconservative, "the call to freedom is something that the progressives should support."
After several years of differences between continental European countries and the United States, Blair said, "the issue is going to be whether it's possible to construct a broader international agenda that people can support."
He was speaking in a suite at a luxury hotel here, dressed casually in a polo shirt and jeans and speaking to four reporters representing American, Russian, Swiss and Italian newspapers.
In his speech to the World Economic Forum, Blair had offered a range of ideas that conflict with White House thinking, particularly on climate control, where much of the world supports the Kyoto protocols, while the Bush administration does not.
"My view is that if we put forward, as a solution to climate change, something which involves drastic cuts in growth or standards of living, it matters not how justified it is, it simply won't be agreed to," Blair said in his speech.
"But fortunately, that need not be the case. Science and technology cannot alone provide the answer. But they certainly provide the means to ensure that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions without damaging our economy."