Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, Prime Minister of Portugal

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This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 22, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: As one of our closest allies in the war on terror (search), this country organized the meeting, if you will, of the allies in the Azores ahead of the Operation Iraqi Freedom. My next guest met with President Bush on Friday to reaffirm his country’s support in the war on terror.

Joining me now his excellency the prime minister of the Portuguese Republic Jose Manuel Durao Barroso.

Prime minister, one of the things that’s kind of interesting about this is now, as the president prepares to go to the United Nations (search), you’ve got a lot of people second-guessing that commitment to begin with, to fight in Iraq to begin with. What do you say?

JOSE MANUEL DURAO BARROSO, PRIME MINISTER OF PORTUGAL: I hope that the United Nations comes to a resolution, and I think it’s very important, because to fight against terrorism, it is a global effort. So why shouldn’t we accept a global effort of the United Nations?

I understand that some are now trying to say I told you so to the Americans, saying there are some problems, but, of course, there are some problems. The question is what shall we do now, and I think the answer will be to be there as much present as possible with resources, with troops because law and order is essential, if we want to build a free and democratic Iraq.

CAVUTO: As you know, the president has to kind of get some U.N. help here to sort of share not the only cost burden but the manpower burden from the U.N. Do you think he’ll get that?

BARROSO: I think so, I’m optimistic, but I would like to see it more clearly. I think this time there will be not blocks, there will not be a veto. I think that will not happen. But I’m not yet sure that we’ll get unanimity or at least as strong support as it will be needed because...

We should not forget that Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. official I knew very well personally, was killed. It was killed by terrorists. So it not an action just against the United States. It was against the United Nations.

So why shouldn’t we be together now as many as possible in a true mutual effort, try to bring democracy and freedom to that part of the world?

CAVUTO: There has been some call in the European community, as you know, sir, for the U.S. president to actually apologize in saying I should have listened to you guys more. What do you say?

BARROSO: I really think that’s not the proper way to deal with those matters.

CAVUTO: Even the French are saying that, the Germans are saying that. What’s the prime minister of Portugal saying?

BARROSO: What I say among others -- we are now 15 and soon will be 25 -- is that, instead of discussing about the past, if we should have been doing this or that, we have to be working constructively towards the future. United States is our biggest ally. Europe needs United States. I also think the United States needs Europe.

It’s completely stupid from a political point of view to explore some difference of opinion. We should work together, United States, because we share basically the same values, and we need the United States, and I think the United States also have interest in a good cooperation with European Union.

CAVUTO: Vladimir Putin had said, sir, that the problems that the U.S. is encountering now in policing the peace, I guess, in Iraq is all the proof he needed that the mission was wrong.

BARROSO: It’s a mistake because, look, Sergio Vieira de Mello was a Brazilian. Brazil opposed the United States action. He was killed. Today, an Iraqi United Nations officer was killed. So terrorism is not just attacking the United States. Terrorism is attacking everybody of good will.

It’s a complete mistake to think the United States are the bad guys, we are the good guys against terrorism. This is a mistake. The terrorism is attacking all our civilization, all our values, and so that’s why I do not agree and my country does not agree with those views that pretend to put United States in the position of the bad guy in Europe or other parts of the world the moderates...

CAVUTO: But you had this position, Prime Minister, long before it was a position even held convincingly by the United States and Britain. You were for this very early on.


CAVUTO: Did you ever have to pay for that among some of your European colleagues? Did any of them say big mistake, you’re going to regret this, Prime Minister?

BARROSO: No, it’s not that way we discuss those things.

CAVUTO: Was it ever that tacit, or how would you describe it?

BARROSO: No. Well, we have some difference of opinions, but we share basically the same values and...

CAVUTO: Who was the worst with you? The French?

BARROSO: No. No, we have very good relations with France, by the way. We are very close friend, but I...

CAVUTO: So there was no one breaking French bottles of wine in your country.

BARROSO: No, no. Not at all.

CAVUTO: What do you think of that?

BARROSO: Yes. By the way, we have very good wine in Portugal, too.


BARROSO: It’s very good wine, and I hope now it’s getting better known here in the United States.

No. What I think is that we try to have a common approach, but we understand there are some different opinions.

What I think is important and the message I convey to my colleagues like President Chirac or other colleagues is, look, Portugal is a European loyal member, we are a loyal member of European Union, but we are also a loyal ally of the United States.

We don’t want to be in a position to have to choose between the United States and Europe, and I think that’s the basic principle we should think. We should not divide ourselves now because the enemy is terrorism. The enemy should not be friends or the United States for some of us.

We should be as closer as possible in this battle against terrorism.

CAVUTO: Prime Minister, thank you very much.

Prime Minister Jose Durao Barroso speaking strongly as he did then, as he continues to now for the United States’ position in Iraq.

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