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Bush, Abdullah denounce cartoon protests

US President Bush and Jordan's King Abdullah criticised violent protests in the Arab world.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 10:48 IST

US President George W. Bush and Jordan's King Abdullah strongly criticised violent protests in the Arab world over the publication in Europe of cartoons lampooning the prophet Mohammed.

"I made it clear to his majesty and he made it clear to me that we reject violence as a way to express discontent with what may be printed in the free press," Bush said Wednesday.

Bush, however, said that although a free press must be respected, it also comes with a responsibility.

"With freedom comes the responsibility to be thoughtful about others," he said in his first public comments on the issue.

Abdullah said anything that vilifies Mohammed "or attacks Muslim sensibilities needs to be condemned," but called for peaceful demonstrations.

"When we see a protest, when we see destruction, when we see violence, especially if it ends up taking the lives of innocent people, is completely unacceptable," the king said during the White House visit.

Protests have erupted throughout the Middle East and other Muslim countries over the depictions of Mohammed that first appeared in a Danish newspaper and later in publications in Norway, Germany and France.

Danish diplomatic offices in Tehran, Damascus and Beirut were attacked, as was the Norwegian embassy in the Syrian capital.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack earlier this week criticised the cartoons as "offensive".

Bush and Abdullah also discussed the conflict in Iraq, the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the international dispute over Iran's nuclear programme.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 10:48 IST