WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) – President George W. Bush onFriday partially lifted restrictions on U.S. military aidto Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and
Slovenia, rewarding key European allies in the war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq.
Washington suspended military assistance in July to the six countries and many others for failing to shield Americans from the International Criminal Court. It was set up last year to try war crimes and acts of genocide. But in a memorandum issued by the White House, Bush said it was “important to the national interest of the United States” to waive the aid restrictions “for only certain specific projects that I have decided are needed” to support NATO’s expansion as well as U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia have either deployed forces to Iraq or have committed to do so. The United States say it fears its nationals overseas could be vulnerable to politically motivated charges. The United States signed the 1998 treaty creating the court, but the Bush administration later rescinded U.S. backing.