Conference of the President After G8 Summit
International Media Center, Savannah, Georgia
PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thanks for coming. We just completed
a very successful summit. The nations of the G8 are united in
our desire to help bring stability and democracy to Iraq. We
came together to support reform in the broader Middle East.
We pledged to work together to build a more secure, peaceful
and prosperous world.
and I thank the citizens of this part of our country. This was
a successful summit because the people here made it successful
by being so warm and gracious. The Southern hospitality was
strong. The citizens of Sea Island, and Brunswick and Savannah,
as well as people from around Georgia, we're just really great,
and we thank them. All the leaders with whom we talked asked
me to express my appreciation to the people of this part of
also thank the world leaders and their staffs who traveled so
far to come here. I especially want to thank the leaders for
their kind words of condolence for President Ronald Reagan.
Laura and I look forward to paying our respect to President
Reagan tonight at the Capitol, and we look toward -- forward
to our visit with Nancy and the Reagan family at the Blair House
Reagan was a great man, an historic leader, and a national treasure.
I'm honored to speak tomorrow at the memorial service on behalf
of a grateful nation.
year's G8 Summit came at a crucial time. Our nations face a
grave threat to our common security. We also face a moment of
opportunity to undermine the appeal of terror by supporting
the advance of liberty and prosperity throughout the world,
especially in the broader Middle East. The momentum of freedom
there is building. A free Iraq is rising in the heart of that
the Middle East, a consensus is emerging on the need for change.
In Alexandria, Istanbul, the Dead Sea, Sona and Aqaba, political,
civil society and business leaders have met to discuss modernization
and reform, and have issued stirring calls for political, economic
and social change. The nations of the G8 recognize our special
responsibility to help the people of the Middle East achieve
the progress they seek. And here at Sea Island, we pledged that
our nations will help further the causes of freedom and reform
to help an increasing number of people join in the progress
of our times.
appreciate the support of the G8 nations for the new United
Nations Security Council resolution that expresses international
support for Iraq's interim government and lays out a clear path
to Iraqi democracy. The Iraqi people can know that the world
stands with them in their quest for a peaceful, democratic and
prosperous future. And the enemies of freedom in that nation
know that they are opposed by the might and resolve of free
grateful to the new President of the Iraqi interim government,
President al-Yawar, for making the trip to Sea Island. I had
a really good visit with him. He shared his thinking on the
need to improve security, to make progress toward national elections
no later than January of next year.
nations of the G8 are committed to the success of Iraq's government,
to the defeat of its enemies, and to the future of Iraq as a
free and democratic state. The defeat of terror worldwide and
the success of freedom in Iraq are the challenges of the moment.
The spread of freedom throughout the broader Middle East is
the imperative of our age.
year, G8 nations and Turkey have united around a common agenda
to use the energies and resources of our nations to support
the momentum of freedom in the nations of the Middle East and
North Africa. Working with leaders from the region, we have
established the Partnership for Progress and a Common Future
with nations of the broader Middle East. This partnership will
seek to advance the universal values of human dignity, freedom,
democracy, the rule of law, economic opportunity and social
also agreed to establish a Forum for the Future, which will
bring together senior government officials from the Middle East
with their G8 counterparts, and also, regional business and
civil society leaders with corresponding leaders from G8 nations.
In the forum, leaders will discuss ideas that can help the nations
of the Middle East create jobs, increase access to capital,
improve literacy and education, protect human rights, and make
progress toward democracy.
must reflect the needs and realities of each country and be
driven by the desires of the people. We have obligation to support
them in their search for a freer, more prosperous future. We
will meet the obligation.
thank the many leaders from the Middle East who came to the
summit to describe their goals for their nations, and who pledge
their support for this project. The people of the broader Middle
East yearn for democratic change, and their leaders understand
and support the need for reform.
also thank the spouses of the G8 leaders and prominent women
from the region who met to explore ways in which all of our
nations can improve education and expand opportunities for women
in the broader Middle East. I want to thank Laura for hosting
that important meeting, and for all that she has done over the
past three years on behalf of the women and girls of the broader
this summit, we also agreed to take new action to stop the spread
of weapons of mass destruction. Within the recent addition --
with the recent addition of Russia, all G8 member nations now
participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative, which
is designed to stop the trade in deadly weapons, and the means
to make and deliver them.
new donor nations have agreed to contribute funds to the global
partnership to reduce and secure dangerous weapons and materials.
We will expand the partnership's cooperation to address proliferation
threats beyond the nations of the former Soviet Union.
nations have agreed to my proposal to establish a special committee
within the International Atomic Energy Agency that will focus
intensively on safeguards and verification. We're calling on
all nations to sign and implement the additional protocol which
will expand the IAEA's ability to inspect nuclear activities
and facilities. We agreed that over the next year, our nations
will not initiate any new transfers of uranium enrichment and
reprocessing technology to additional nations, as we work toward
a permanent means to keep these materials out of the hands of
outlaw nations seeking nuclear weapons. And the G8 agreed for
the first time to take concrete steps to expand national and
international capabilities to prevent, protect, and respond
to attacks with biological weapons.
we moved forward on our common efforts to make the world not
only safer, but better. We launched a new effort to train and
equip 75,000 peacekeepers over the next five years to help bring
stability and security to troubled regions, with an initial
focus on the continent of Africa.
established the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, to accelerate
the efforts of scientists to defeat HIV/AIDS. We pledged to
break the cycle of famine in the Horn of Africa. We met with
the heads of government from six African nations to discuss
their ongoing work to improve health care, institute reform
and build prosperity for their peoples, as reflected in their
commitment to the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
the long-term, trade is the most certain path to lasting prosperity.
Free and fair trade is the key engine of growth in the world.
And as with spur growth in our own countries, we must continue
to reduce the trade barriers that are an obstacle to growth
in the developing world.
nations reaffirmed our commitment to the success of the Doha
Round of WTO trade negotiations. We directed our trade ministers
to take action to get the negotiations back on track toward
a successful conclusion.
past several days have been full and productive. We've taken
up many important tasks, and now we'll translate our consensus
into action. The United States looks forward to fulfilling the
commitments we made at Sea Island. And the nations of the G8
will stand together to advance the values of freedom and peace
and human dignity.
be glad to take a couple of questions. Tom.
Mr. President, you emphasized earlier today that Iraq needs
help. But where, specifically, do you see this help coming from?
Despite a U.N. resolution and despite the harmony here at the
summit, no one else has stepped forward offering more debt relief
or more troops. Doesn't it appear that the American face will
be on the security of Iraq for a long time to come? So where
PRESIDENT: No, it doesn't appear that way. There will be an
Iraqi face on the security of Iraq. The Iraqis will secure their
own country. And we are there to help them do so. And we had
great discussions today about how to help Iraq.
the resolution just got passed. I know we live in a world where
everything is supposed to happen yesterday, but it doesn't work
that way. And we're waiting for the Iraqi government to assess
the situation and make requests to the free world. We'll respond
to their requests when sovereignty is fully transferred. That's
the definition of full sovereignty. You see, when a government
is fully sovereign, they then make requests on behalf of their
the response here at the G8 has been very encouraging. In other
words, the G8 leaders have said, we'll wait for their requests
and see if we can't help. But just let me make the point again:
Most of the security in Iraq will be provided by Iraqis, and
we are there to help them
Thanks, Mr. President. President Chirac said yesterday that
NATO should not intervene in Iraq. Is that what you were proposing?
Is a common ground possible before the Turkey summit?
PRESIDENT: I suggested to the leaders of the G8 that we listen
to the needs of the Iraqi leadership. And if they ask for more
training, for example, a good organization to provide that training
would be NATO. As I said, I think in your presence, as a matter
of fact, I don't expect more troops from NATO to be offered
up. That's an unrealistic expectation. Nobody is suggesting
that. What we are suggesting is for NATO, perhaps, to help train.
Now, that would come at the request of the Iraqi government.
And I found a common spirit of wanting to help Iraq progress
and become a peaceful country. People understand the stakes
involved here. But democracy in the heart of the Middle East
is going to be a -- an important change for that region, that
I understand some in the world say, this country can't be free
and self-governing. Well, I disagree. I strongly believe it
will be free and prosperous. And they need our help, and they'll
have our help. And when they're free and prosperous, it will
serve as a symbol, an example of that which is possible for
other countries and other people.
I believe free societies best meet the aspirations of the people
living in those societies. And we look forward to helping Iraq
achieve that -- the dream of being at peace and free, and a
county in which the people are able to express their opinions.
Mr. President, the Justice Department issued an advisory opinion
last year declaring that as Commander-in-Chief you have the
authority to order any kind of interrogation techniques that
are necessary to pursue the war on terror. Were you aware of
this advisory opinion? Do you agree with it? And did you issue
any such authorization at any time?
PRESIDENT: No, the authorization I issued, David, was that anything
we did would conform to U.S. law and would be consistent with
international treaty obligations. That's the message I gave
Have you seen the memos?
PRESIDENT: I can't remember if I've seen the memo or not, but
I gave those instructions.
Thank you, Mr. President. Sir, I wanted to ask you about this
Libyan plot to assassinate Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
My understanding of it is that it came to the White House's
attention in early April. The White House officials do believe
that Qadhafi had some kind of involvement in it. I'm wondering
if you could confirm that. Also, have you sent any kind of a
message to Qadhafi about it? And what does it say about his
intentions to truly renounce terrorism and rejoin the community
PRESIDENT: Yes, I appreciate that question. What I can tell
you is, is that we're going to make sure we fully understand
the veracity of the plot line. And so we're looking into it,
is the best way I can tell you. And when we find out the facts,
we will deal with them accordingly.
Was there any kind of message sent to him, sir?
PRESIDENT: I don't talk to Colonel Qadhafi. I have sent a message
to him, that if he honors his commitments to resist terror and
to fully disclose and disarm his weapons programs, we will begin
a process of normalization, which we have done. We have begun
that process. And now there's -- we will make sure he honors
Mr. President, thank you. In the past, and here at this summit,
you have made crystal-clear how important this Middle East initiative
is to you. And yet, key U.S. allies in the region, like Egypt,
like Saudi Arabia, like Kuwait, refuse to send representatives
to engage in the discussions. Do you take that as a personal
PRESIDENT: No. (Laughter.) Okay, I'll give your question more
answer. (Laughter.) This initiative is not important for me,
it's important for the people of the region. That's what's important,
for the people of the region to have a chance to live in a free
society. And, obviously, I believe it's possible that there
will be free, self-governing countries in this vital part of
the world. And so do others, including the leaders that came
and spoke to us.
look, I fully understand -- look, there was some concern when
the initiative was first proposed that this was America trying
to make the world look like America. It's not going to happen.
I fully understand that a free society in the Middle East is
going to reflect the culture and traditions of the people in
that country, not America.
also understand it takes a while to adopt the habits of a democratic
society and a free society. After all, it took our own country
a while. You might remember the period of the Articles of Confederation.
You do remember the period of the Articles -- (laughter.) It
just took us a while. It's not easy work. It's hard work. But
we believe it is necessary work, because free societies are
peaceful societies. The best way to defeat terror is to speak
to the aspirations and hopes of women and men.
so I understand, John, that there's a certain nervousness about
whether or not people can adapt the institutions of freedom.
But they shouldn't be nervous. They ought to welcome reform.
you mentioned my friend, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He
and I have discussed reform before. He understands the need
to reform -- it's not going to -- you know, it's not going to
meet the expectations of every American. But nevertheless, he
understands the need to speak to the hopes and aspirations of
so it was a very positive meeting yesterday. And the statement
ought to be very positive.
had a very interesting moment when the Minister of -- I think
that her title is Minister of Displaced Persons in Iraq. She
came with the President's delegation. And she took me aside,
and said, "You must understand, Mr. President, when you speak
about reform in the Middle East, there are a lot of brave people
who hear your words." And I shared that with my counterparts
at the G8, that people hear our words. Because, you know --
and they're anxious that we honor what we say because they want
to be free, they want to be free people.
see here. Let's make sure we get fair -- Jimmy Angle. Where
are you? No show. John.
Mr. President --
PRESIDENT: -- it's very kind of me to call upon your network,
even though the guy's name here, who was supposed to be here,
didn't show. (Laughter.) I haven't seen you in a while. Why
are you covering Congress and not the White House?
Well, I'm glad to be here, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT: Okay, good. (Laughter.)
Returning to the question of torture, if you knew a person was
in U.S. custody and had specific information about an imminent
terrorist attack that could kill hundreds or even thousands
of Americans, would you authorize the use of any means necessary
to get that information and to save those lives?
PRESIDENT: Jonathan, what I've authorized is that we stay within
Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. President. I was struck by something
you said that it's the Iraqis who are going to be primarily
responsible for their own security.
How is that the case when you have said repeatedly that the
terrorists and the killers in Iraq understand the stakes of
this particular time, and that they're only going to intensify
their insurgency? I mean, isn't the reality that --
PRESIDENT: Yes, go ahead.
Haven't you said that?
PRESIDENT: I have said that. No, I wasn't -- I was just kind
of -- I'm trying to get to where your question is leading.
Well, I guess I'm challenging the notion --
PRESIDENT: I should not anticipate, I'm sorry.
Okay, no, what I'm trying to do is challenge the notion that
it's Iraqis who are going to be primarily responsible for their
security when we've come through a period where, as you've noted,
many of them are running away from their posts, they're not
adequately trained. Isn't the reality that the United States
is still very much alone in Iraq, going forward, even after
the handover, in terms of securing the country?
PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, David, there is a coalition on
the ground in Iraq. If you're here to ask Prime Minister Blair
a question, I would hope you wouldn't ask the question, do you
think America is alone in Iraq. He's got a lot of troops in
Iraq, and other nations have troops in Iraq, all aiming to help
the Iraqi people. But the long-term solution is going to be
for the Iraqi people to secure their own country, David. That's
the only way this country is going to evolve into a prosperous,
I believe the full transfer of sovereignty is going to -- will
help the Iraqis understand the stakes. They will be responsible.
It's their responsibility. We are there to help. And, yes, the
main security will be provided by the Iraqi citizens. It's --
that's -- that's the duty of a government, is to train and equip
and provide police and army to protect their people from people
who are willing to kill innocent life.
look, I fully concede, and have publicly, that I think things
are still going to be tough there. The transfer of sovereignty
isn't going to stop Zarqawi, an al Qaeda associate, who, by
the way, was in Baghdad prior to our arrival and still operates
in the country. He's willing to kill innocent life. His desire
is to kill anybody in his way, to try to shake the confidence
of the Iraqi citizens, as well as the citizens of the free world.
He operates. And we're there to help the Iraqi citizens find
him and bring him to justice. No question it's still going to
the solution for Iraqi security is going to be provided by the
Iraqis. That's what Prime Minister Allawi has said so clearly.
I haven't met the Prime Minister yet, but he sounds like a very
strong, courageous individual, who says, look, we want -- we
want your help, but it's our responsibility to secure our country.
And we're there to help.
see here, I'm trying to curry favor with everybody, of course.
-- in the back.
PRESIDENT: I will in a minute, hold on for a second. Dick. Yes,
Dick. Sorry. I just got some -- I've got some mandatories I've
got to call on here. (Laughter.) See, I have to live with these
people, I don't have to live with you. (Laughter.)
Thank you for that, Mr. President.
In that case, can I ask you another one?
PRESIDENT: Yes, exactly, Roberts. (Laughter.)
Given -- given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly
Vice President Cheney's discussions with the investigators,
do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion
that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the
PRESIDENT: That's up to --
And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to
have done so?
PRESIDENT: Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the
My final point would be -- or question would be, has Vice President
Cheney assured you --
PRESIDENT: It's up to the --
-- subsequent to his conversations with them, that nobody --
PRESIDENT: I haven't talked to the Vice President about this
matter, and I suggest -- recently -- and I suggest you talk
to the U.S. Attorney about that.
on for a minute. I'm kind of observing for a second. I've got
to call on the Texas newspaper. Hillman.
Yes, Mr. President. In the wake of the U.N. resolution this
week and the discussions here at Sea Island, what can you tell
the American people about when U.S. troops might be coming home
from Iraq in large numbers?
PRESIDENT: When the job is done.
Thank you, Mr. President. Sir, since President Reagan's death,
there seems to be new momentum behind efforts to rename the
Pentagon for him, or to put his image on American currency.
Do you support either of those?
PRESIDENT: Judy, look, I am -- I am going to Washington to pay
honor to Mrs. Reagan and her family. I'll give a speech tomorrow,
and then I will reflect on further ways to honor a great President.
Thank you, Mr. President. Many in this country and around the
world believe that the United Nations involvement in Iraq is
necessary because the way you've conducted the war in Iraq is
illegitimate and has lowered the moral standing of the United
States around the world. However, one could also argue that
the United Nations has moral authority problems of its own with
the oil-for-food scandal in Iraq, for instance. How do you respond
to those who think that the United Nations has greater moral
standing in the world than the United States? Or do you think
the United States maybe is held to a higher standard than the
PRESIDENT: I think the United States is a strong, compassionate
nation. And as President of a strong, compassionate nation,
I'll do what it takes to defend us. We're at war. We're at war
with an enemy who killed thousands of our citizens on September
the 11th, 2001. And since that time, they've killed hundreds
elsewhere. They're killers, and I have an obligation to defend
the war on terror is a different kind of war. It requires international
cooperation to fight it. And there's excellent international
cooperation in the war against terror. There's excellence --
there's excellent intelligence-sharing, not only with nations
in the G8, but nations throughout the world. There's excellent
law enforcement operations -- joint operations. We have got
special forces from Europe side-by-side with special forces
in the United States in remote regions of Afghanistan trying
to find remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda. There's substantial
that's the reason I went to the United Nations, to encourage
cooperation. Plus, I wanted the United Nations to be a body
that had the respect of the world, and when it said something,
it meant it.
so I went and took the case of Iraq to the United Nations. We
got a unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution.
It said, Mr. Saddam Hussein, disclose your weapons programs;
if you don't, face serious consequences. In my judgment, when
a body or a person says, face serious consequences, you'd better
mean it; otherwise future words ring hollow, and it would have
made it less likely that international cooperation would have
been effective in the war on terror.
that's why I went to the United Nations. I have respect for
the United Nations. I was pleased with the U.N. Security Council
resolution at the United Nations. It had a positive effect on
the Iraqi people to hear the world speak. It also had a practical
effect on allowing world leaders to go to their parliaments,
and say, the U.N. has spoken; therefore, let us continue missions.
And I think it's a positive -- I think it's a positive development
when the U.N. is able to work together. And we are working together.
We're working together a lot, on a lot of fronts. And that's
what's going to have to continue to happen as we fight the war
me say it again: There's an enemy which lurks out there that
is willing to kill on a moment's notice. They're trying to shake
the world's confidence. They want us to retreat. They want us
to surrender. They want us to say, you win, we'll leave regions
of the country. And so long as I'm the President of the United
States, we'll be determined and firm and committed to fighting
this enemy, for the good of all free people, so people can grow
up without fear.
right, I'm going to do a little something here. Clive, BBC.
Where are you, Clive?
He's not here, but I'll -- (laughter.)
PRESIDENT: You qualify. (Laughter.) It's about -- you've been
to almost all my press conferences, and you've never asked a
Well, thank you very much, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT: Where is Clive?
Back here, sir. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT: Back where? Clive, I'm sorry.
Sorry, Clive. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT: There's a surrogate Clive here. (Laughter.)
Mr. President, I wanted to return to the question of torture.
What we've learned from these memos this week is that the Department
of Justice lawyers and the Pentagon lawyers have essentially
worked out a way that U.S. officials can torture detainees without
running afoul of the law. So when you say that you want the
U.S. to adhere to international and U.S. laws, that's not very
comforting. This is a moral question: Is torture ever justified?
PRESIDENT: Look, I'm going to say it one more time. If I --
maybe -- maybe I can be more clear. The instructions went out
to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you. We're
a nation of law. We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books.
You might look at those laws, and that might provide comfort
for you. And those were the instructions out of -- from me to
right, Al Hurra. Good, thank you for coming.
Thank you, Mr. President. You do have now the personal gun of
Saddam Hussein. Are you willing to give it to President al-Yawar
as a symbolic gift, or are you keeping it? (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT: What she's referring to is a -- members of a Delta
team came to see me in the Oval Office and brought with me --
these were the people that found Saddam Hussein, the dictator
of Iraq, hiding in a hole. And, by the way, let me remind everybody
about Saddam Hussein, just in case we all forget. There were
mass graves under his leadership. There were torture chambers.
Saddam Hussein -- if you -- we had seven people come to my office.
Perhaps the foreign press didn't see this story. Seven people
came to my -- they had their hands cut off because the Iraqi
currency had devalued. And Saddam Hussein needed somebody to
blame, so he blamed small merchants. And their hands were chopped
off, their right hand.
Fortunately, a documentary film maker went to Baghdad and filmed
the -- filmed these seven men. And their story was picked up
around the nation, particularly in Houston, Texas, where a person
named Marvin Zindler, who runs a foundation, took great sympathy
and flew them over and had new hands put on. The latest prosthesis
were put on their hand -- were put on their arms. And their
hands worked. I remember the guy signing "God Bless America"
with his new hand in the Oval Office.
this is the person. So needless to say, our people were thrilled
to have captured him. And in his lap was several weapons. One
of them was a pistol. And they brought it to me. It's now the
property of the U.S. government. And I am -- I am -- it -- I'm
grateful for their bravery. I'm also grateful that that part
of the mission was accomplished, for the good of the Iraqi people.
This is your area, right?
Thank you so much.
PRESIDENT: Is any local press here, at all, by the way? Any
Mr. President, a year ago in Evian, there was an expectation
that in the ensuing months, weapons such as chemical or biological
weapons, would be found in Iraq. I wonder if you can share with
the American people your conclusions, based on what you've learned
over the past 15 months, sir, as to whether those weapons were
-- existed and they were hidden, were they destroyed, were they
somehow spirited out of the country, or perhaps they weren't
there before the war, and whether you had a chance to share
this with your G8 partners.
PRESIDENT: Right, no -- Bob, it's a good question. I don't know
-- I haven't reached a final conclusion yet because the inspectors
-- inspection teams aren't back yet. I do know that Saddam Hussein
had the capacity to make weapons. I do know he's a dangerous
person. I know he used weapons against his own people and against
the neighborhood. But we'll wait until Charlie gets back with
the final report, and then I'll be glad to report.
Mr. President, Sonny Dixon, WTOC in Savannah. I'm a native of
this region, by the way. Stating the obvious, begging the indulgence
of these fine people, this has been a terrific undertaking for
our region of the country. We appreciate your words regarding
hospitality. But in terms of logistics, facilities, and security,
your observations on this G8 Summit.
PRESIDENT: Thank you. First, I want to thank the local citizens
for putting up with all the security. I was riding my bike down
the road in Sea Island and a lady was just driving along the
road, very happy, and the next thing she knows, some friendly
agents were heading right in her way. (Laughter.) And she, of
course, pulled over, and I zoomed by. I felt like stopping to
tell her, thanks, I apologize for the inconvenience.
also had the honor of going by and thanking the -- the local,
state, and federal folks who provided the security at the airport
over there on St. Simons Island. The cooperation was fantastic.
The local sheriffs and police chiefs need to be commended, and
so do their people, for working so well with the state and federal
-- look, this is -- we made the right choice to come down here
for this summit. The people were just spectacular. And I'll
tell you, I generally don't put words in a foreign leader's
mouth, but today, Jacques Chirac said the food was great. (Laughter.)
And so, of course, I told the chefs. And they recognize that
it's a heck of a lot better to hear the food is great from Jacques
Chirac than George W. Bush. (Laughter.) But it's really good.
you for asking that, because it's been a spectacular success,
primarily because the people are so wonderful down here.
see here -- Andre Sitov, from Itar-Tass. Andre, good to see
you. How are you?
PRESIDENT: That's good.
G8s are supposed to be about informal contacts between leaders,
so I wanted to ask you, sir, how do policy differences that
sometimes happen between you and your foreign partners, how
do they affect your personal relationship with those leaders?
Thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, we go to different corners of the room
and we face the wall -- no. (Laughter.) Look, there is -- we're
united by values. We're united by common values. And therefore,
it's a -- it's a easy place to start conversations. And it's
to be expected that nations don't always agree on every issue.
But we do agree in the power of free societies; we do agree
on a free press. We don't necessarily agree with everything
the free press writes, but we agree on a free press. We agree
with free religions. There's great agreement.
so, therefore, it's -- this is a -- it facilitates good and
healthy conversation. And, look, there was obviously a disagreement
over whether or not we enforced the demands of the U.N. I fully
understand that. But now that's past. And I know there's great
speculation about the relationship between the United States
and France. Let's face it. Most people say, the United States
and the world differ. No, it's the United States and France,
that's where the focus generally is. And as Jacques Chirac said
yesterday, relations with the United States are excellent. He's
doesn't mean we agree every time we speak. But nevertheless,
we've got very good relations. And I appreciate my working relationship
so the meetings are very cordial. And you probably want me to
say something about Vladimir Putin. Yes, well, it's because
you -- I've always had good relations with Vladimir, ever since
the first time I met him. You remember where I met him first?
PRESIDENT: Very good. Very good. (Laughter.) That's impressive.
But he's a -- he is a person who's got opinions, and I admire
strong opinions. I like courageous leaders, people who express
their opinions. It's -- to me, it's hard to have a good meeting
with somebody if you always wonder what their opinion is. And
you kind of leave feeling somewhat empty. That's not how you
get things done, as far as I'm concerned. When you sit around
the table, you say what's on your mind, you know, here's what
I think, what do you think? And if there's a difference, try
to explain the differences, and try to find common ground to
got too much to do in a world beset by terror, poverty and disease,
to allow a policy difference to prevent us from working together.
And that's why these G8 summits are meaningful and worthwhile.
And that's why I'm really glad to have been the host here in
the hook on me? Okay. Listen, we're off to Washington. I've
got a -- I've got the -- I will be paying tribute to President
Reagan here in about an hour and a half or so, and then will
be visiting with Mrs. Reagan at the Blair House. I appreciate
your understanding for the need for us, whoever is traveling
with me, to get moving, so that we can be on time for a solemn
night, and a day of remembrance tomorrow for a magnificent world
bless you all. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)
4:08 P.M. EDT