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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 21, 2001
President Bush and President Chirac of France Speak to the Press
Jolly Marina Hotel
PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, thank you for coming by. I'm looking forward to our discussion. The meetings have been very productive here in Genoa. We've discussed a lot of important issues and agreed upon -- had some important agreements, starting with the need to advance trade in the new round of global trade discussions.
We also understand that countries such as France and the United States must assume more responsibility, helping nations help themselves, particularly on the continent of Africa. We had a fantastic meeting last night with some of the continent's leaders. President Chirac was most eloquent about Africa and our responsibilities, and world leaders agreed with him, and I did, too.
And as well, I'm very concerned about the violence. It's a tragic loss of life that occurred. It's also tragic that many police officers have been hurt, men and women who have been trying to protect democratically-elected leaders and our necessary right to be able to discuss our common problems.
I -- in Washington, D.C., Mr. President, I said as clearly as I could, and I'll say it here again, those who claim to represent the voices of the poor aren't doing so. Those protesters who try to shut down our talks on trade and aid don't represent the poor, as far as I'm concerned.
I appreciate the work of the Italian government, the Mayor of Genoa, the good people of this country for providing a secure atmosphere where the G8, democratically-elected leaders, as well as leaders from Africa, Central America, Asia -- leaders who represent the poor of the world could come -- the poor of the world, by the way, who spoke very clearly and eloquently about the need for nations such as ours to open up our markets; nations such as ours to help develop education infrastructures; nations such as ours to forgive debt --
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: And health.
PRESIDENT BUSH: And health, absolutely, and health. So this has been a very productive meeting. It's been productive because we've met and agreed; it's also very productive because it gives me a chance to continue dialogue with a friend such as Jacques Chirac. People may not remember, but even before I became sworn in as President, in between the election, when it finally ended and my swearing-in, the first world leader I met with was President Chirac.
I knew him to be a man of principle. He articulated his principles to me then, and he continues to do so, for which I am most grateful.
So, Mr. President, thank you for being here. I'm honored to have you.
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: Merci. I must say that I absolutely share the feelings expressed by President Bush, share as concerns the efficiency of the organization of the summit, the efficiency which has been somewhat overshadowed by the events. But it was, indeed, a very positive summit. And it has enabled us to become aware of the problems of populations of Asia and Africa.
Last night at dinner was very instructive. We have spoken with mainly African leaders who have decided to take greater control over their own destiny, and we have pledged ourselves to support them in their desire for sustainable development.
Obviously, we have all been traumatized by the events. I shall not give any judgment, except to say that the elected leaders of our countries have to consider the problems that have brought tens of thousands of our compatriots, mainly from European countries, to demonstrate -- to demonstrate their concern, to demonstrate their wish to change. And my last thoughts will be for the people of Genoa, who have been, indeed, as traumatized as we have by the events in the city.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much.
END 5:14 P.M. (Local)