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Home > News & Policies > Press Secretary Briefings

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 30, 2005

Press Briefing with National Security Advisor Steve Hadley
James S. Brady Briefing Room

Play Video  Video (Real)

1:38 P.M. EDT

MR. HADLEY: Hello. Good afternoon. Next week, the President and Mrs. Bush will depart for Denmark and for the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. This will the President's first trip to Denmark and his fourth trip to Europe since his second inauguration.

In Denmark, the President will reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-Denmark partnership and express America's appreciation for Denmark's commitment in sacrificing -- supporting our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror. He will also highlight the common U.S.-Denmark commitment to a strong transatlantic alliance and the advance of freedom and prosperity across the globe.

For the G8 summit at Gleneagles, under the U.K.'s presidency, Prime Minister Blair has chosen to highlight development assistance, especially for Africa, and climate change. The U.S. leads the world in development and humanitarian assistance, private sector donations, charitable giving, and economic development. On the continent of Africa, President Bush has increased aid overall by more money in less time than any President since Harry Truman and the Marshall Plan.

The G8 summit provides an opportunity for member nations to recommit to an Africa based on the tenets developed by the African states, themselves, in their New Partnership for African Development, or NEPAD. And those are good governance, rule of law, respect for human rights, educational opportunities, and access to health care.

Additionally, the G8 will address climate change and development issues. The President is dedicated to policies that grow economies, aid development, and improve the environment, and he will have an opportunity to make that clear at the G8.

Let me now highlight the President's schedule, and then I'd be happy to take questions.

The President and Mrs. Bush will depart Washington for Copenhagen on Tuesday, July 5. They will arrive in Copenhagen late in the evening, where they will greet Her Majesty the Queen Margrethe and His Royal Highness Prince Henrick.

On Wednesday, July 6th, the President and Mrs. Bush will begin their morning by having breakfast with Prime Minister and Mrs. Rusmussen. The President and Prime Minister will meet after breakfast, followed by a joint press availability. Afterwards, the President and Mrs. Bush will join a lunch hosted by Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness. And the President and Mrs. Bush will depart Gleneagles, Scotland Wednesday afternoon.

They will arrive in Glasgow Airport, and the President and Mrs. Bush will participate in an arrival ceremony and then proceed to Gleneagles. That evening the President and Mrs. Bush will join a dinner hosted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

On Thursday, July 7th, the President will meet and have breakfast with Prime Minister Blair of the United Kingdom and then participate in the first G8 working session. Later that morning, the G8 leaders will meet and have lunch with leaders from emerging economies. After lunch, the official G8 summit photograph will be taken, followed by the second working session. And Thursday evening will include a working dinner.

On Friday, July 8th, the President will participate in the third G8 working session, followed by a meeting and lunch with G8 and African leaders. And after lunch, the President will depart for Washington, D.C.

If there's scheduled changes, we'll let you know. I'd be glad to answer any questions.

Q Steve, has the United States been able to determine whether Iran's new President was indeed one of the captors of the 52 Americans who were held for 444 days?

MR. HADLEY: We have seen reports of that. I understand there's some photographs. We obviously are looking into it. At this point, no determination has been raised. It obviously raises some questions, and we're looking into that.

Q Is that something that might not have come up before when he -- this man has been a public figure. Has he not been -- has the thought that he might have been one of the captors come up --

MR. HADLEY: I don't know what -- I don't know what the source of the photographs are. They've obviously come into the public, and we will obviously take a look at it, see what we can -- determination, but at this point, no determination has been made.

Q Can I ask how long that would take?

MR. HADLEY: Don't know.

Q Steve, we're getting some information that he may not have played the type of role that these former hostages are describing, that the idea of a ringleader or interrogator may be overstating the case. Is that your understanding of it?

MR. HADLEY: I know there has been that suggestion. Look, the reports have come up today. We're going to have to take a look into them. Obviously, they raise some questions. We'll try and -- try and get some answers, but that's really where we are at this point.

Q Also, just one further point, if I could. Do you have any information that he may, at some point in his life, have had connections with Hezbollah and Hamas?

MR. HADLEY: Not that -- not that has come to light that I'm aware of at this point.

Q Did the administration have any indication, knowing that he was on the ballot, in your normal intel process, that he might have a past that would be questionable in a way that's been raised?

MR. HADLEY: We have -- as I say, we're looking into those reports. Obviously, one of the things you do when you get a report like this is look back and see what you have in the files and that's the process that's going on now.

Q But wouldn't the administration have been following his career? He's a prominent Iranian politician; I know we're watching that country pretty closely. Isn't this something that you would have taken a hard look at?

MR. HADLEY: Well, look, we obviously have followed his career. He was one of a number of candidates; he was mayor of Tehran. Those events happened some time ago. He's now been elected President. He's made his views known. We're obviously going to have to deal with the Iranian government, of which he's going to head. One of the most important issues, of course, is the nuclear issue, and one of the things we will obviously do is make clear that we think that it is important that the suspension that has been negotiated be respected by this new government, that this new government continue in the negotiations with the EU 3 towards a permanent suspension and permanent cessation of enrichment and reprocessing activities. That's important to ensure the world that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon program. That's been our position. It will be important for the new President to understand that position and we hope that he and his government will continue those negotiations.

Q But when you talk about potential consequences, would he, if he is confirmed to have been one of the original hostage takers, then be in violation of Geneva Conventions or international laws of some kind?

MR. HADLEY: That's one of the things we'll have to take a look at.

Q Was this a surprise to you?

Q Are you now looking for the EU 3 to issue a statement at the summit next week, just reminding the new leader of Iran of this position, of the firm position that you have?

MR. HADLEY: Well, there have been -- they may do that, but the point is there have been some pretty clear statements. It was very useful that Chancellor Schr der, when he was here, was very firm in his public statements with the President about what the EU 3 position has been. The President is obviously going to talk with Prime Minister Blair and President Chirac. So I think there will be a lot of occasions to reaffirm that position, which is one that's taken by the EU 3 and, of course, which we strongly support.

Q What improvements can be made to make sure the aid gets to the needy and not just to those in power? And will there be additional aid given to the poor nations of Latin America? If so, how much, and to which countries?

MR. HADLEY: Well, we -- the focus that we have going into Gleneagles has been very much on Africa. And one of the things the President said today in his speech is, because of the very concern you raise, the solution is not just more aid. It is a partnership between developed countries who can provide assistance and developing countries in Africa who can sit -- who commit themselves to exactly the kinds of policies that will ensure that the money is used to advance the cause of their people. And those would be good governments -- governance, openness to markets, investing in their people through education and health care and the like. It is those kinds of policies that will make assistance, trade, private investment, charitable giving, all those things, convert them from money into progress for the poor, and that's, of course, what we want to do.

Q The President promised this morning to double overall aid to Africa by 2010. In dollar terms, where would that put us in 2010? And how much of that represents an additional commitment over and above things he has proposed already?

MR. HADLEY: Well, of course, the President has done a lot in his first term with respect to Africa. As he's said, he's tripled development assistance to Africa. He has, of course, through the Millennium Challenge Account, through the contribution to the Global Fund for AIDS, the HIV Initiative, this is an administration and a President who has been committed to Africa and has already ramped up U.S. contributions substantially in the ways I described.

He is pleased that other nations are now focusing on Africa, and that Prime Minister Blair is using the G8 as an opportunity to focus on Africa, and we hope other countries will step up, as well.

I can give you a sense, if you look at 2004, U.S. bilateral assistance and assistance through multinational institutions that end up -- that goes to Africa is about $4.3 billion. And the President's programs -- both a continuation and an expansion of some of those programs, that he's announced in the past in this increased commitment to Africa, and the three additional programs that he talked about today, which will result in additional funds -- should bring the United States in 2010 to in excess of $8.6 billion, which would be a doubling, or doubling-plus. And we think that's important and we hope that other countries will step up at the G8.

Q I want to ask about looking ahead. Next year Russia will have the presidency at the G8. Is it normal for the leaders to discuss future plans, and what, in general, can you say about Russia's participation in the G8? And also, why is there only one bilateral meeting?

MR. HADLEY: The one bilateral meeting is -- it's very traditional when you go -- when the President goes into a country to have a bilateral meeting with the head of that -- the government of that country, and that's what we're doing. The schedule is quite compressed. There's just no other time for additional bilateral meetings, and that's why he's having one with Prime Minister Blair.

Let me answer the second part of your question. Basically, the agenda for the G8 is set by the chair, and it's usually set some months ahead. So, obviously, the question will be, what does President Putin want to try and accomplish under his chairmanship. There will be some conversations, obviously, in that part with others, but basically, that's pretty much the prerogative of the chair.

Q Do you have any statement to make now on the apparent shooting-down -- Afghani statement of remorse, any precautions that can be taken to make certain this doesn't happen again?

MR. HADLEY: Well, obviously, it is a sad day for -- any loss of life is a sad event for the country and for the President. He and the nation mourns every life. He remains confident that the loss of life was in a good cause in terms of bringing stability and freedom to Afghanistan so that Afghanistan does not again become the kind of haven for terrorists that allowed things like 9/11 to occur. But it's, obviously, a sad day and something -- and obviously, we have condolences for the families of those who have fallen.

Q Some of your critics say that this ramp-up is basically because America is way short of other countries around the world in their giving to Africa. And on the issues of AIDS and HIV, as far as the treatment, some of your critics are saying that you have not met your targets. Congress has mandated by 2005, September 2005, one million persons treated in sub-Saharan Africa. And I understand the President announced 250,000 have already been treated. And they're saying some of the problems, because designer drugs versus generic drugs -- generic drugs are much cheaper, versus the designer drugs that are preventing more people from being treated.

MR. HADLEY: My understanding is -- and we can get you more facts -- that we are ahead of where we wanted to be. We are above target in terms of numbers treated, pursuant to the President's initiative. And we're on --

Q -- where you want to be?

MR. HADLEY: We are ahead of what our target was. The goal is to treat two million sufferers by the year -- at the end of 2008. And my understanding is that in going towards that goal, we're actually ahead of what we initially projected. So my understanding is that we are on target.

There is an issue of generic drugs. They are obviously used in the treatment process. There is attention -- because one of the things we want to do is make sure that the drugs that are used in this process are safe. So there is an issue about testing, to make sure that the kinds of standards we would apply to Americans also apply to those people receiving treatment from the United States.

Q So it's not -- it's not necessarily about a stigma, per se, it's about the fact that they are -- aren't these the same generic drugs that they use in the United States that we are taking?

MR. HADLEY: My understanding is that the issue -- there are generic drugs that are used, and the question is how quickly you get there and whether they satisfy the requisite testing to ensure they're going to be safe.

Q What does the U.S. plan to do, or can you talk about what the U.S. is prepared to do on climate change since it opposes the Kyoto Treaty?

MR. HADLEY: Well, the President has talked quite a bit about this issue. As you know, his view is that climate change is one of a series of related issues, and he talked a little bit about that in his speech today.

One of the problems in the developing world is that it needs access to energy. There are some two billion people who do not have access to reliable energy and the trick is to get them access to reliable energy sources in a way that also is environmentally sound. And the President believes that that can be done. So one of the things we need to do is provide reliable energy sources, policies that will advance the development and prosperity, and policies, working with governments, that will allow them to fund and adopt technologies that will provide access to energy, but in a way that will also help clean up the environment.

So for the President, there are sort of an interrelated set of challenges. There is pollution, there is climate change, there is development, there is poverty alleviation. And we need a strategy that allows us to do both, because we cannot consign large numbers of people in this world to poverty in the name of environment -- in the environment. And it's not necessary, because, as the President says, through the kinds of technologies that the United States is putting a lot of money into developing, we think you can both help the developing world to develop, alleviate poverty, have access to reliable energy, and also clean the environment. That's the essence of the President's approach.

Q And will there be any new steps, or is he just going to reinforce the policies and programs you just described?

MR. HADLEY: Well, one of the things, of course, we want to do is to try and expand the pool of countries that are engaging in this effort and are trying to take advantage of these kinds of technologies. And that will certainly be an item of discussion at the G8.

Yes, sir. And then you -- sorry.

Q The President called what's going on in Darfur today, genocide. He's used the word before, but I -- my sense was he was a bit more direct in using it today. I'm wondering if that's signaling the fact that he's going to try to use the G8 to rally support for more aggressive action? He'll have three of the additional Perm Five members there. I'm wondering if there's Security Council action --

MR. HADLEY: Well, we have been rallying international opinion and concrete action to solve the problem in Darfur. You know, Bob Zoellick has been leading it for the Department of State and for the government as a whole. We have had Security Council resolutions on Darfur. I think the reason you saw it today is the President is giving a speech on Africa, and he sets out very clearly what are the elements of our policy, which is a partnership with right-thinking and right-governing countries, relieving poverty, the environment, energy, the things you talked about. And one of the things he talked about was the need for peacemaking and peacekeeping activities, because violence on the continent is obviously an enemy of the development we want to see.

So when you talk about the need to bring peace to the continent, obviously you talk about Darfur. If you're going to talk about Darfur, the President is going to call it for what it is. The U.S. government's view is that it has been genocide. That's something that Colin Powell said almost -- almost a year ago, the President said before, and if you're going to talk about Darfur, obviously you're going to have to characterize the problem.

We have taken some important steps. We think a key to the solution there is the AU peacekeeping force, to increase it from about 3,500 to about 7,500. They're going to need -- the countries contributing to that force are going to need help. We're doing that through NATO in terms of airlift, communication support, a lot of other things. So this is an ongoing effort. I'm sure the President will want to be talking to his G8 colleagues about it, because it's obviously an important priority for us.

Sir, and then you. I'm sorry, I beg your pardon.

Q We don't have any particular order here.

MR. HADLEY: Shall we go over -- I'm sorry. I promised you. Go ahead. And then you're next. I beg your pardon.

Q Thank you. I appreciate it. If it turns out -- going back on the Iranian President -- if it turns out, in fact, that he is one -- was one of the hostage takers, what would be the larger implications, specifically with regard to the U.S. support for the EU 3 policy? The President has said that he will not deal with terrorists. What, in fact, would that mean, the implications for the U.S. in moving forward?

MR. HADLEY: Well, we need to get the facts. These are allegations that have come forward. They are allegations at the present time. They raise, obviously, serious questions, that's among the ones you have raised, obviously. We need to take a look at those. We need to get the facts. And then we need to see where we are.

Obviously, though, this man has now been elected by the Iranian people. It is an election that we think is less than free and fair; we've been very clear about that. But he will step into that government. The negotiations between the EU 3 have been with the Iranian government, and we think it is important that those negotiations consider -- continue. So I think what we really need to do is get the facts, and then see what -- see what they tell us.

Q And a second question on the Mexican postage stamps. There are civil rights groups in this country that are decrying it as racist. Is the U.S. prepared to denounce -- the fact that these are --

MR. HADLEY: I think Scott McClellan already did at the press briefing this morning.

Q He did not denounce, he did not denounce.

Q Could you just reiterate what is the U.S. position, because he did not --

MR. HADLEY: Our position is that there's no place for this kind of thing. It's wholly inappropriate, and we've made it clear.

Q Back to climate change, if we can. Tony Blair wanted to do something specific with binding limits in it. He clearly is not going to get that kind of language, and people in London and others who have been reporting on some of the negotiations are pointing the finger at this administration. Is America still the odd man out on climate change?

MR. HADLEY: I think what you're going to see is that there's an increasing awareness that there are interrelated problems here. It's not just climate change. It is climate change, it is pollution, it is poverty alleviation, it is energy. These are some interrelated challenges that we face, for which we have to take action. I think you're going to see the G8 talking in those terms. Secondly, it is clear that we need more investment in terms of science, but more investment in terms of technologies that allow us access to energy in an environmentally responsible way. I think you're going to see coming out of the G8 a commitment to a plan of action that indicates and highlights the kinds of technologies and steps that we can take.

Q Can you talk a little bit about the administration's response, and/or the ongoing nature of the dialogue with Italy, insofar as it is now denying that it had a heads-up about an alleged rendition of a mullah there and is seeking the extradition of 13 alleged CIA operatives allegedly involved in it?

MR. HADLEY: I really can't. This is an action that comes out of the Italian court system. I understand that they have made some requests of the United States. Those requests will be handled in the normal legal channels. That's really all I've got on this, on this point.

MR. JONES: We have time for one more.

Q How do you square the President's call this morning for more spending on malaria and the other African initiatives with the fact that his '06 budget request actually proposed cutting spending on the program that funds bilateral malaria programs? And can you talk a little bit about what the genesis of these initiatives were? Was this something that was thrown together simply to respond to the pressure coming from Prime Minister Blair and the other groups that are calling for you to do more ahead of the G8?

MR. HADLEY: I guess, one of the things I would say is I think probably we may be responsible for some of this pressure. Because as I say, over four years, the President has had a very ambitious agenda on Africa and has called for other countries to do more. You may remember when Prime Minister Blair was here, the President and the Prime Minister announced an initiative for basically famine relief, humanitarian assistance focusing on the Horn of Africa, and calling for other countries in the G8 to join us in that effort.

So I think the President has been leading on Africa, and as I say, we think it's -- G8 is an opportunity for others to come on board. We have had a series of initiatives over four years. It's not surprising that the President would have some additional ones. Obviously, the G8 summit is a wonderful way to showcase some of those initiatives. That's in some sense what the President did with Prime Minister Blair --

Q So why did your budget call --

MR. HADLEY: -- in terms of assistance.

Q -- for cutting money just a couple of months ago?

MR. HADLEY: Well, all I can say is what we have before us now and what the President has proposed is an initiative which we think is well thought out, and which is significant. We think it will involve basically $1.2 billion over five years. You can see more information in terms of the fact sheets.

So what we did and what we've been doing over the last several weeks is looking at the issue of malaria and seeing if we can put together an initiative that makes a -- makes sense. And we think it does. It will begin by looking at three countries as sort of prototypes. The plan is to expand it to other additional countries over the succeeding years. And the President has obviously indicated the seriousness by putting it in his speech and indicating the kinds of resources we're going to put against it.

MR. JONES: Thank you very much.

MR. HADLEY: Thanks a lot.

Q Thank you.