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 Home > News & Policies > July 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 18, 2001

Remarks by the President in Roundtable Interview with Foreign Press
The Old Family Dining Room
July 17, 2001

10:43 A.M. EDT President Bush meets with a
roundtable of journalists from Europe at the Worldbank Headquarters in
Washington, D.C., July 17, 2001, to discuss his current trip there this
week. White House photo by Moreen Ishikawa.

THE PRESIDENT: I'll make a few comments. Did anybody hear what I said at the World Bank? Nobody? (Laughter.) You're kidding me. I spend all this time writing this speech and nobody listens.

Here's what I said. I said that in Europe I talked about a house of freedom; I talked about opening doors -- that means expanding freedom by enlarging NATO and the European Union. I also talked about opening windows, so that America, our allies and friends can more clearly see the problems that face those who are -- the developing world.

And so I laid out a strategy that I'm going to pursue in Genoa, that one says that those of us who are prosperous must continue to put policies in place to enhance prosperity: lower taxes, less regulation and free trade. Secondly, that we have -- must work together to develop a new security arrangement that will help address the threats of the 21st century. In other words, prosperity for all must include a prosperous and stable world.

Secondly, I talked about open trade. I firmly -- I said clearly, as clearly as I could, that the protestors in Italy have the right to express their opinion in a peaceful way. But they hurt the case of the poor when they argue against trade, they hurt the opportunities for developing nations to grow. As I said, my friend, Ernesto Zedillo put it well. He said, the thing that troubles him is that it's clear that the protestors don't want the developing nations --

MS. COUNTRYMAN: They want to protect the developing nations from development.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. All I was going to say is it's clear they don't want the developing nations to have access to development. And he's right.

And, thirdly, in order for developing nations to be able to succeed, our nations and our friends must work hard to enhance education, fight disease. I reminded folks that we were the first nation to step up with contribution to the HIV/AIDS fund. We're part of the strategy. We will put more in as the fund shows success.

I believe you're going to see that at the G-7 there will be a strong commitment for more contributions from nations represented here at the table. We contribute nearly a billion dollars a year in international aid to HIV/AIDS -- that's more than double the second-largest donor in the world.

I talked about the need for the World Bank and multilateral banks to have more grants for education and health, as opposed to loans. I said that our nation will work to develop a teacher-training program in Africa. My point is, is that part of enhancing world prosperity and world freedom, that those of us who are fortunate nations must work together to provide opportunity: trade, better health and better education. That was my speech; I'm sorry you missed it. (Laughter.)

I'll be glad to answer a few questions.

Q I was going to kick-off as the British representative. As you know, the peace process in Northern Ireland is at a critical stage and facing possible disaster at the moment. The Irish Prime Minister, the Catholic Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, moderate voices in both north and south have no less than 40 editorials in the American newspapers, including in the Washington Post and the New York Times, have called for decommissioning of weapons.

I quote the latest one, the Houston Chronicle put it: "It is time, indeed, it is well past time for the IRA to honor its commitment to the Good Friday peace agreement by surrendering its weapons."

Is it now also time now for U.S., as you prepare to visit Britain, to help break the logjam by calling on Sinn Fein and its IRA associates to move on surrendering of weapons and bring back stability to Northern Ireland?

THE PRESIDENT: We strongly support Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern's attempts to enact the Good Friday agreement. And one of the crucial points is decommissioning. And my government stands side-by-side with those two governments and those two leaders in urging all sides to decommission, to disarm and to enact the Good Friday agreements.

The situation in Northern Ireland is coming to a critical stage. I look forward to talking to my friend about the issue. As I said yesterday, I stand ready to help. But there should be no mistake that we believe the decommissioning part of the Good Friday agreement must be upheld.

Q Mr. President, you're coming close to Italy and to the Holy See.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I'm looking forward to it.

Q What do you expect from your first meeting with His Holiness, the Pope, considering his position on abortions, stem cell, the death penalty?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I expect to talk to a very principled man, who speaks from strong convictions. And I look forward to being in the presence of a great world leader.

In my speech in Warsaw, I reminded people that His Holiness, and his influence had amazing effect on transforming -- an amazing effect to encourage freedom. I believe -- I truly believe he's a great world leader and I appreciate his efforts of reconciliation and healing. In my country, the Holy Father has an enormous impact, because the leaders of the Catholic Church, for example, stand strong on the principle of life. They also stand strong on making sure that those who have no voice are heard. And I respect the Catholic Church, I respect the leadership. And I look forward to a very frank discussion.

This will be my first chance to have met the Holy Father. It's not my first time to Rome, though.

Q Are you a little excited?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm very excited. You can't help but be excited and be thinking about being in the presence of a great leader, a man who has got such depth, such spiritual strength and depth. And he's had an enormous impact on the world.

And so I look forward to that and I also look forward to seeing Rome again. I was there to visit my daughter, who went to school at the American School in Rome for a six-month period of time. Laura and I went over to visit her, I believe it was in the fall of '98, right after my re-election as governor of Texas. We had a wonderful experience, and I'm looking forward to going back.

Q Mr. President, the strong U.S. dollar is getting a real problem for the U.S. export industry. Are you worried about this? And a question related to this, the European countries a year ago, when they have been here at the IMF/World Bank meeting, they were talking about taking the role of an engine for the world economy. Do you think, or do you expect them to take this role and if, what do you think they're going to do?

THE PRESIDENT: If the IMF should take a strong role for --

Q No, the European countries taking a --

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think this. I think that -- let me answer the dollar question second.

First, as to the role of market oriented economies and democracies, we do have a role. And the first step is to make sure our economies are strong and that we trade freely between ourselves. That's why I urge -- as a matter of fact today, if I'm not mistaken, the EU Trade Commissioner and Ambassador Zoellick, the Trade Commissioner for the U.S., are making a joint statement -- if it's not today, it's soon -- about the need to have a new global round of trade.

In other words, I do believe that those of us who have got rule of law and transparency in our economies, who have got essentially market oriented economies, have an opportunity to help spread wealth around the world.

In other words, if our economies don't grow, it's very difficult for African nations to grow. Because I remind you, I submit the only way for growth is for commerce and trade and capital to exchange across borders. So we do have a -- but we've got to make sure our own economies grow. And part of the problem I think you're alluding to is the fact that our economy has slowed down.

And so we have -- and I will talk about this, what we have done to, you know, enhance economic growth. One, we've got a tax stimulus package that's going to be kicking in here soon. I think the checks start actually going out this week. About $40 billion will be injected into our economy over the next three months in terms of rebates. So that should help bolster consumer activity.

Secondly, the Fed has continued to act to cut rates. And whether they will or not in the future is up to Mr. Greenspan. It's an independent part of our government.

But, nevertheless, I can safely say to our partners we're taking steps necessary to make sure our economy recovers, and that includes, by the way, addressing energy. And needless to say, we had a very frank discussion about energy in my last trip to Europe, and I suspect we'll have another frank discussion about energy.

One of the things -- the Prime Minister of Canada and I have had a very interesting relationship, and one that will continue to grow, is over energy. He knows full well -- and Canada, by the way, is now the largest supplier of energy to the United States -- and there are some great opportunities for us to enhance natural gas deliverability into our country by cooperating in our own hemisphere.

My only point is that I will assure my friends and our trading partners that we're doing our part to strengthen our economy, but we've got to work to make sure we reduce trade barriers in order for prosperity to continue; the strong dollar. The dollar is what it is based upon market. And the reason I say that is our government will not artificially enter markets. The market decides the strength of the dollar. And I would urge other countries, now, to do the same thing.

A strong dollar has got, obviously, benefits and problems for us. One, it's harder to export, but it also helps attract capital. And much of our economy relies upon investors investing in the U.S. because of the dollar. And so we understand the pluses and minuses and, therefore, let the market determine the float of the dollar.

I don't know if that answered your question properly.

Q My question is -- I tried to follow up his question so, Mr. President, you met Prime Minister Koizumi last month and it was a very good meeting. But Prime Minister Koizumi tried hard to make serious structural reform. And then the Japanese economy continued to decline and then the yen rate -- the result is a weak yen and a stronger dollar. So, President, are you concerned about such a weak yen?

And may I -- President, my second part of the question is on Kyoto protocol issues. And, President, you know the Japanese government have been trying to persuade the United States to participate in Kyoto Agreement, but the U.S. is still reluctant to join. So my question is, what will be the U.S. reaction if Japan move forward to sign the Kyoto agreement without U.S. commitment to join the agreement?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first I did have a great visit with your Prime Minister. I found him to be a very charming man, and a courageous leader. He's tackling a very tough economic situation; a huge amount of debt. And he is willing to work hard to restructure and reform the economy so that there is, in fact, transparency and reality in the assessment of the Japanese economy. And I appreciate that a lot.

I said in my statement with him at Camp David that we firmly stand with him on his reforms. And of course there may be a consequence as to the yen and dollar relationship. But the market ought to make that decision. I believe Japan -- and we hope that Japan does restructure her economy and fully address the loans and the debt overhang in a very constructive, forthright manner. I believe the Prime Minister intends to do that. And I urge him and continue to encourage him to do so.

And I appreciate his willingness to take on this very difficult issue. And I think the Japanese people appreciate that, as well.

Secondly, we also had a long discussion about Kyoto, as I have with many of the leaders around the world. And I made it clear to all the world leaders that our country supports the goals, we just have differences on the methodology. I reminded the people that we spend a lot of money on understanding global warming, that we approach the issue from a science-based perspective. That the goals are unrealistic, however, and that the United States Congress -- Senate, made it very clear that they were unrealistic with a 95 to nothing vote. And that my assessment of the situation was up front.

I explained to them as clearly as I could that our nation will work to develop a strategy that other nations can understand clearly, but that they should make no mistake about it, that the idea of this particular treaty -- of which there was a goal of -- for example, setting a goal of carbon reductions by 1990 -- something less than the 1990 emissions was something that our country was unable to withstand.

You know, some leaders were more sympathetic than others, I must confess. Nevertheless, I do believe that people appreciated the frank assessment. And I believe they're going to appreciate the strategy that we lay out over time to help meet the needs. Each country has to make its own mind up as to how to proceed with this issue. Each country must -- the parliaments of these countries must deliberate. The governments must be straightforward, it seems like to me, about the consequences. And we will see how other nations -- I know how other nations have accepted my declaration, we'll see how they handle it with their own internal politics regarding this issue.

But we can continue to cooperate, and will cooperate on technology transfers. You know, a new generation of nuclear power and the capacity to be able to handle the waste in a technologically feasible way makes a lot of sense.

And our nation is more than willing to invest in new technologies and to look at how to make the world more clean. I reminded the ministers and the leaders that this also relates to energy. And as one of the trading partners, significant trading partners for many countries, it seems like the nations would want our economy to continue to grow. And, yet, in order to do so we must address our energy needs.

There is a big debate in a America right now about energy. But make no mistake about it, when you import nearly 60 percent of your product from overseas that's a dependency upon foreign sources that can create instability.

Secondly, we've got to find -- and the State of California was the best in conservation in the nation. They're the best at putting conservation practices in place. But they ran out of energy. And so on the one hand we've got to do a better job of conservation, and we will. The Vice President has spent a lot of time talking about that. But we've got to find more energy.

They hadn't built a power plant in 12 years in the state of California. And guess what? When you grow your state the way they have -- in other words, the demand increases the way it has and there is no supply, it creates a problem. And we've got to address that. And it must be -- and I put this in the context of an environmental strategy. And the two go hand-in-hand as far as we're concerned.

I talked very frankly to leaders around the table about the need for us to continue to come up with safe alternatives, safe disposal practices for nuclear energy. But our nation needs to look into it, and so does the developing world, by the way; it seems like to me.

And you know, some in Europe have a different perspective about nuclear energy. It's an important discussion and we'll continue to consult with our friends.

Q First of all, I wanted to thank you for inviting us all in -- it's a high -- working in my life.

President Putin yesterday suggested that he wants a new security structure in Europe that would either involve Russia in NATO, or NATO disbanded and a new infrastructure with Russia in it. I wonder whether you think such integration can really be on the table.

And, also, the Russians and the Chinese have just concluded a new treaty on friendship. And both of those countries are firmly opposed to NMD. So I wonder if you are concerned about that issue.

THE PRESIDENT: I can understand nations that share a large border wanting to work on a friendship agreement. It makes sense to me.

First, let me say we did have a very constructive meeting in Slovenia. It was a very forthright, very straightforward, very open discussion about issues. And I made it very clear to Mr. Putin that Russia is no longer our nation's enemy. And, therefore, I don't think -- the "therefore" of that is that we should not view each other with suspicion, that we ought to think seriously about working together to get rid of a document that codified a Cold War distrust. That's what the ABM Treaty was. It was a document, when Russia and America divided the world into armed camps and we stared each other down with missiles.

I've spoken very clearly to the President that it's time for new leadership to develop a new strategic framework for peace. The threats that the ABM Treaty addressed no longer exists; no longer exists. There are new threats, new forms of terror: cyberterrorism, fundamentalist extremists, extremism that certainly threatens us, threatens Israel, who is our strong ally and friend, threatens Russia. We've got to deal with it. The threat in Europe at sometime, perhaps. We must deal with that issue. And one way to do that is coordinate security arrangements, is to talk about how to -- as to how to deal with the new threats, but also is to be able to have the capacity to rid the world of blackmail, terrorist blackmail.

And so we had to have the capacity to shoot somebody's missile down if they threatened us. It's a defense, as opposed to relying on peace -- but with offensive weapons, why don't we think about developing defensive systems. So I've read with interest the statements, I've been reading with interest the statements by a lot of people.

But this nation, I'm committing this nation to a more peaceful world by a realistic assessment of the threats, and we've got to address them, and I'm going to. And I continue to consult with our allies and friends, which I'm confident this topic will come up with Tony Blair. I look forward to explaining him my position. I did so with the Prime Minister, I have done so with the leaders of every nation represented here. I did so with Jean Chretien right here at this table during my first working dinner as the President of the United States. He sat right there, and we had this discussion.

I explained to him the philosophy behind my attitudes. I firmly believe it's the right thing to keep the peace. And I look forward to a continued dialogue starting next -- whenever -- Sunday, I guess it is, with Mr. Putin, on this very subject. I'm not going to speak for him. But I will tell you, he listened very carefully. And I appreciated that.

Now, the other question was --

Q Can both sides belong to the same structure?

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, oh, oh, NATO. Well, first of all, his vision, he mentioned this in our press conference in Slovenia, as well. He talked about a NATO that might at some point include Russia. I think that's what he was saying. You know, I found that to be an interesting comment, something worth noting.

In the meantime, however, there is a round of NATO expansion -- the practicality is, there's a round of NATO expansion next fall, a year from this coming fall, and I will reiterate what I said. It's not a matter of when -- I mean, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. And countries that are making progress toward democracy and working hard to conform to the action plan, we ought to be very forward-leaning toward those countries. I gave it very -- you should read my speech.

But I will tell you this. As Russia looks West, she finds no enemies. She finds no enemies. And that's the way it's going to be, so long as I'm the President.

Q I know you like energy questions, so I'll throw a double-barrelled energy question at you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir. The Canadians are always good about double-barrelling. (Laughter.)

Q You've expressed a strong desire to get at the natural gas that's in the Northwest Territories. How do you reconcile that with the very intense political pressure to bring the gas south, through Alaska, bypassing the Canadian resources?

And, secondly, you've talked about a continental energy policy, energy pact. You've got free trades with NAFTA. Would a logical next step, given the United States' great need for water, be a water pact?

THE PRESIDENT: Very interesting. Let me start with the energy. What Barry is referring to is there are competing visions about how to get natural gas from a gas plentiful part of the world into American markets. One, an Alaska pipeline; and, secondly, a Canadian pipeline -- or perhaps a combination of the two. We've got a debate here in America about whether or not America ought to be exploring for natural gas in parts of our state of Alaska. It's very similar to the Northwest Territories in Canada.

The Canadian government has made -- along, I might add, with the tribes in that part of the world have made the decision that exploration for natural gas would not only be economically beneficial, but can be done in a way that doesn't harm the environment. I agree with their assessment.

Whether or not the United States is willing to think along the same lines is an open question that is still going to be debated in the United States Senate. Nevertheless, my attitude is, we need supply. And, therefore, I have committed myself to working with the Canadian government to figure out how to get natural gas into the United States.

The quicker, the better, Barry. And we are willing to work with your government to figure out a way that can expeditiously move gas. He's referring -- you know, obviously, to the extent that it would be an American pipeline, a pipeline on America soil would make it easier for me politically. Nevertheless, I'm a practical man; I want the gas here.

We will continue to work on the Alaska pipeline. There are perhaps enough reserves to justify an Alaska pipeline. I know there's enough reserve to justify a Canadian line. It's conceivable we could have both, that would both feed the Midwestern market and the Western market.

The second issue is hemispheric energy, and that really pertains to -- I don't know if you know this, but Mexico is a net importer of gas. And so we've got all of us -- three of us are continuing to meet on how best to make sure that all of us are able to fully explore the opportunities in the hemisphere.

But so long as Mexico imports gas from America, it is gas that ultimately will be replaced by Canada in our market. And we've got to encourage Mexico, and I know that President Fox thinks this way, about enhancing exploration for what he calls "dry gas" in the country of Mexico.

As well, we're working on electricity hookups. And one of the things that the Prime Minister and I have talked about, the possibility of hydroelectric power generating in Canada, moving down through to particularly the Midwest. It requires a significant amount of capital outlay; but, nevertheless, it's really worth the discussion.

Water is -- I'm from a part of the world where -- where I grew up, there was no water. And at one time, when the price of international crude oil got down to around $10 a barrel, water was more valuable than oil -- at least where we live. Water will forever be an issue in the United States, particularly the Western United States. I don't know exactly what you have in mind in terms of importation of water. I presume it's -- perhaps some have suggested abandoned pipelines that used to carry energy. That's a possibility. I would be open to any discussions.

Our nation must develop a comprehensive water strategy as we head -- particularly as these western states continued to grow. You know, one big debate we have in America is whether or not we build more reservoir space, more water storage, above-ground water storage. It is a battle, needless to say, that pits local conservationists versus those with agricultural interests, for example. And I've looked forward to discussing this with the Prime Minister, should he want to bring it up, at any time, because water is valuable for a lot of our countries. A lot of people don't need it, but when you head South and West, we do need it.

Q Mr. President.


Q Yes. What is your vision, your master plan for U.S.-European relations? And, more specifically, for U.S.-EU relations for 2008, until 2008 when you leave this house? Maybe this would be --

THE PRESIDENT: I like an optimistic man. (Laughter.)

Q I'm not voting.

THE PRESIDENT: -- but nevertheless, I appreciate it. (Laughter.)

Q Maybe this would reassure all those who have questions about the U.S. strategy.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I appreciate that. Yes. Look, when I first went to -- my first trip to Europe was an ice-breaker. You know, some of the leaders had come here and we had visited. But a lot of folks had never -- you know, they had read things about me, so they weren't able to hear my vision. They were told things through the newspapers; sometimes things were true, sometimes frankly not so true. But, nevertheless, it gave me a chance to have a very honest dialogue.

Patrice, I think they realize that, one, my nation is firmly committed to NATO, the expansion of NATO. Our commitment to NATO is real. One of the big issues -- that's important for people's vision of the American role. Very important.

You know, during the course of the campaign, I made it clear that I thought that our military should be used to fight and win war. That's what I thought the military was for. And that I was concerned about peacekeeping missions, and that we've got to be very clear about -- to our friends and allies about how we use our troops for nation-building exercises, which I have rebuffed as a -- basically rebuffed as a kind of a strategy for the military.

And as a result of that, some in Europe were very concerned about our presence in the Balkans, for example. And the Secretary of State reiterated my position very clearly early in the administration, and I had the opportunity to do so -- we came in together, we leave together. That's an important statement for people to understand, that our nation will continue to work with our European friends -- in this case, to bring stability to the Balkans and Macedonia. We're very much involved. We've got an ambassador on the ground there working with the EU ambassador to bring peace. There is a cease-fire, progress is being made, our nation is engaged and involved.

Having said that, it's important, however, to continue to work, though, to replace troops in a responsible manner with civil institutions, civil structures that can do the same thing the troops are doing.

We've got to work for a police force and security arrangements that are run locally, so that the NATO troops at some point in time will no longer serve as peacekeepers. Now, that's obviously more opportunistic to do that in Bosnia than it is in Kosovo at this point in time but, nevertheless, we must do so.

In terms of the EU, I believe that we can have a very constructive relationship with the EU. Obviously, there are some concerns where we differ, but we shouldn't allow these differences, like biotechnology, for example, which I talked about today in my speech regarding developing nations. The U.N. came out -- this is kind of an aside -- the U.N. came out with a very interesting study that made it clear that biotech and biotechnology will enhance the ability of poor nations to grow more plentiful amounts of food. We agree with that position. And, yet, we have a disagreement with our European friends on that, it seems like.

Nevertheless, we shouldn't allow those disagreements to undermine and to kind of diminish the fact that we share the same values. And it's the values that unite -- not just the history, but the values that unite America with Europe. The values of freedom, free press, I emphasize free press being exercised right here in the Family Dining Room at the White House. Free speech -- it will be exercised in Genoa, I suspect. (Laughter.)

Free elections. Free religion. Basic values that we share. And our European friends, I believe, are beginning to understand that about me, that I respect Europe, I respect our history but, most of all, I respect the values of Europe. And that I will not let differences of opinion get in the way for the larger vision. And that is a Europe free and whole, a Europe expanded, and a Europe in partnership with America. And we'll have frank discussions.

Look, the only thing I can do in these meetings, and I will do -- I will just tell people what I think. I will represent my government in a way that is forthright, transparent. People will know where we stand. And some will like it, and some won't like it. But they will always know that I will be willing to listen, discuss and consult on issues of importance.

And I think people will find that my lecture is -- my manner is not lecturing, it's hopeful and optimistic. It is, I believe that we can -- I'm an optimistic man. I wouldn't be sitting here as the President if I didn't have an optimistic view of how we can work together.

And, secondly, I think people will find that, as I said today, that I do embrace a kind of compassionate conservatism in the international arena that recognizes that those of us who are fortunate have an obligation to help the developing nations; the sick.

It is unbelievable that on my watch and on the watch of the other leaders around the table that Africa, for example, suffers the pandemic that it does. And we must come together, and we must take this issue incredibly seriously, and work together to help develop -- help Africans develop a strategy of education, treatment and cure that will work, and help fund it, and crank up our NGO's to go help. And I think the people will see the strategy and --

Q Does it look to you that these big meetings are increasingly being held behind armed camps? You were in Quebec City, WTO is going to meet in the desert; in Genoa, they're on a boat, some of them. And Canada is talking about making it on a mountaintop next year.

THE PRESIDENT: Let me say, I -- in Quebec City, I don't know what percentage, but I would say clearly 95 percent of the people were there to stage a peaceful protest about a variety of issues. Some anarchists wanted to make it difficult for the Canadian government to conduct a meeting.

And in all due respect, those who try to disrupt and destroy and hurt are really defeating the cause of -- their cause, it seems like to me. I think a lot of people in the world are just kind of sick of it.

There is one thing to have an open dialogue. It's another thing to try and hurt and destroy. You know, secondly, as I said, the people who are protesting are hurting the poorer nations. If they're trying to undo trade, it seems like to me their strategy and their philosophy will lock

people into poverty. And I strongly disagree with them. And I made that clear in a speech today. You need to get the exact wording in the transcript. (Laughter.)

There should be no question about my view, about what these voices of isolationism and protection are doing. They can couch it in any words they want. But they're condemning people to poverty, as far as I'm concerned. And you know what? They need to go and ask the people -- ask the African nations, ask what their hope is. Find out from the people that they're supposedly speaking on behalf of exactly what their opinion is. And they're going to find a different point of view.

I thought Quebec City was -- first of all, I got to see Quebec City in kind of a near-empty state, which was beautiful. It was a fantastic venue. But, obviously, any time you're meeting and you've got issues to discuss and there is tear gas wafting through the air, it kind of changes the atmosphere somewhat. But that's not going to prevent me from having a good dialogue with the leaders.

The truth of the matter is, the discussions inside the halls of these buildings are fairly immune to what's going on. And the other thing is, there are some there, they just want to get their picture on TV. And TV cameras are powerful incentive.

Thanks, everybody.

Q Are you concerned about Argentina?

THE PRESIDENT: I am concerned about Argentina. I am concerned about Argentina, Marc. And our nation is very much -- you know, watching the situation very carefully. Late last night off the news -- I'm sure the news reported -- it looked like there was an agreement between the governors and the central government as to how to rein in spending, which is a very important step in a -- direction that Argentina needs to go. We don't believe that the Argentinean situation -- first of all, we think if the de la Rua government continues to push for reform, we believe they can settle and calm the situation down so there is a platform for growth.

We also are watching very carefully this whole notion of contagion and don't believe it's going to be contagious if, in fact, it doesn't go the way that we hope it goes. But, yes, we're concerned about it. We're also watching Turkey very carefully, as well.

Anyway, thanks. Enjoyed it.

END 11:23 A.M. EDT