President George W. Bush told PM Costas Simitis by telephone yesterday that the USA places great store in its relationship with Europe, government sources said. The 15-minute call, at 2.30 p.m., was at the US president’s initiative and was seen as a goodwill gesture to the EU, which Greece currently leads. Bush said US-EU relations were important and assured Simitis that he would work personally to protect them. The sources said Bush did not ask Simitis to undertake any initiative to bridge differences between the USA and some EU countries over Iraq. Simitis noted that the UN Security Council should decide further action. Bush said he was working on this but did not commit himself to not acting alone with US allies if the Security Council does not pass a new resolution. Bush congratulated Simitis on the «success» of last week’s emergency EU summit on Iraq.