The United States Vice President, Dick Cheney, has said Europe cannot survive as a privileged enclave surrounded by a breeding ground of hatred and fanaticism.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he said that European countries should join America in promoting democracy in the Middle East, in order to combat terrorism.

He said the day of looking the other way while despotic regimes trample human rights, rob their nation's wealth, and then excuse their failings by feeding their people a steady diet of anti-western hatred are over.

Mr Cheney said that nations fail their people if the compromise their values in the hope of achieving stability.

Today's threats must be met where they are, or those threats will come to us, he claimed.

The speech was aimed at healing transatlantic relations damaged by the war in Iraq, but Mr. Cheney strongly defended the American led-action. He said civilised people had to be prepared to use force if diplomacy failed.