The US president is in the Netherlands for a Victory Day ceremony near Maastricht in which he is to pay tribute to the around 8,000 US soldiers who died there fighting Nazi Germany.
Historical rows and present day disagreements are following George W. Bush on his European tour to mark 60 years since the end of the Second World War. It was a more recent conflict that brought several thousand protesters onto the streets of Amersterdam. The crowd condemned the US-led war in Iraq, telling Bush to go home. The Dutch government did have troops in the US-led coalition, although they were recently withdrawn from Iraq. Earlier, in Latvia, Bush described the Soviet Union’s domination of eastern Europe during the Cold War as “one of the greatest wrongs of history”. He held up the three Baltic states as examples of how to transform from communism to democracy. And he kept up pressure on Moscow. “All the nations that border Russia will benefit from the spread of democratic values and so will Russia itself,” he said. “Stable, prosperous democracies are good neighbours trading in freedom and posing no threat to anyone.” Bush also admitted America’s own responsibilty for the division of Europe after the war in signing the 1945 Yalta accord. On Monday he will be in Moscow, together with other world leaders, for the major 60th anniversary celebrations.