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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 21, 2003

President Bush, Singapore P.M. Discuss Terrorism, Iraq, Economic Cooperation
Joint Statement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Singapore

      In Focus: APEC

Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and President George W. Bush held discussions on a broad range of issues during President Bush's first official visit to Singapore. This visit builds upon the strong and multi-faceted U.S.-Singapore partnership, which saw the signing of the U.S. -Singapore Free Trade Agreement earlier this year, and on a history of cooperation, congruent interests, and shared perspectives.

President Bush and Prime Minister Goh reviewed recent developments in Southeast Asia and regional efforts in the war against terrorism. They welcomed the recent arrest of Riduan Isamuddin (also known as Hambali) and the conviction of key perpetrators of the Bali bombings. They recognized that much headway had been made in disrupting terrorist networks, but agreed that more needed to be done and that the campaign against terrorism required a sustained long-term effort. The two leaders pledged to continue to work closely, both bilaterally and through multilateral institutions such as ASEAN, APEC, and the UN, to defeat terrorism.

The Prime Minister and the President also discussed the situation in Iraq. They expressed hope for Iraq's early reintegration into the global community. They welcomed the positive steps taken by the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council, in particular the new investment laws passed to restore international investor confidence in the country. President Bush expressed gratitude for Singapore's contribution toward Iraq's reconstruction and commended the Singapore police training contingent's efforts to help train the Iraqi police to protect critical installations.

The President and the Prime Minister reaffirmed the need for a strong U.S. security presence in Asia, which continues to be vital for the peace and stability of the region. President Bush recognized the important role played by Singapore as a major security cooperation partner and expressed appreciation for Singapore's support for the U.S. as reflected in the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Singapore. Both leaders expressed concern over the emergence of new threats to global peace and stability such as terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and agreed that such threats required even closer cooperation between the U.S. and Singapore.

To this end, Prime Minister Goh and President Bush agreed that the United States and Singapore would enter into negotiations for a Framework Agreement for the Promotion of a Strategic Cooperation Partnership in Defense and Security. This strategic framework agreement will expand upon the scope of current bilateral cooperation in areas of defense and security such as counterterrorism, counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, joint military exercises and training, policy dialogues, and defense technology. Both leaders expressed the desire to see this Framework Agreement implemented as soon as possible.

President Bush and Prime Minister Goh emphasized the value of collaborative efforts to respond to new health threats, including emerging diseases and use of biological agents by terrorists. In this regard, both leaders were pleased to endorse the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on collaboration recently concluded between the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Singapore Ministry of Health. The MOU will establish the Regional Emerging Diseases Intervention (REDI) Center. Based in Singapore's newly opened Biopolis, the REDI Center will facilitate the exchange of information and expertise on surveillance; prevention and control of, and research on, communicable and non-communicable diseases; and on bioterrorism concerns. The REDI Center will also make its research, training, and surveillance facilities available to other economies in the Asia-Pacific region, and President Bush and Prime Minister Goh welcomed the endorsement of the Center by APEC Leaders at their meeting in Bangkok. In a broader context, the MOU will enhance and expand bilateral cooperative efforts in health and medical sciences, and on health security issues.

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