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For Immediate Release
September 9, 2005
Press Briefing by Conference Call with Michael Kozak, NSC Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Organizations and John Simon, NSC Senior Director for Relief Stabilization and Development
2:25 P.M. EDT
MR. JONES: I'd like to welcome everyone this afternoon. We have with us Mr. Michael Kozak; he's the NSC Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights, and International Organizations. He'll be giving you the rundown on the President's trip to UNGA this year.
We may be joined at a later time by Mr. John Simon, who is the Senior Director for Relief Stabilization and Development. He's not with us at this time. But Mike -- Mr. Kozak will be speaking on the record.
Mike, go ahead.
MR. KOZAK: Thank you very much. Good afternoon to all. On Tuesday, President Bush will travel to New York to participate in the 60th U.N. General Assembly, where he will stress the U.S. commitment to broad international agenda that recognizes the connection between freedom, democracy, trade and development, and security. President Bush continues to lead with a bold, far-reaching vision on combating terror, results-oriented development assistance policies, free trade policies that promote growth and opportunity, promotion of liberty and democracy globally, and strengthening multilateral institutions.
We're fighting a global war on terror against enemies whose extreme ideologies promote violence against innocent people and threaten freedom, democracy, and the stability of the world. America will not retreat, and stay on the offense to ensure that we defeat terrorists and bring about an end to tyranny in the world. So by bringing freedom and hope to parts of the world that have lived in despair, we are laying the foundation for peace for our children and grandchildren.
America is a leader and friend when it comes to helping those in need. We'll continue to work with global partners, public and private, to achieve historic victories over poverty, hunger and disease. America's generosity and commitment leads the world. President Bush has nearly doubled overseas development assistance, from $10 billion in 2000 to an estimated $19 billion in 2004; undertaken the largest international health initiative to combat HIV/AIDS; provided nearly 60 percent of the global food aid to the continent of Africa. The U.S. spent $1.47 billion on pro-democracy efforts last year. And U.S. citizens lead the world in private giving.
Most recently, the United States joined with its G8 partners on a concrete, actionable program for Africa, and has already begun to implement our commitments under that program.
The U.N. high-level event that the President will be attending is an opportunity to build a multinational consensus around a common approach and commitment to assist leaders in developing nations to create opportunity and prosperity by governing justly, respecting the rule of law, investing in their people, and opening up their economies.
The United States is leading in building and adapting multilateral institutions to meet these challenges. Last year at the United Nations General Assembly, President Bush proposed a U.N. Democracy Fund, to give the United Nations the capacity to help other nations build democratic institutions. This year that U.N. institution is a reality, and President Bush will join Secretary General Annan and other leaders in inaugurating this new institution.
The President's visions are making this world better, healthier, safer and more free.
I'm going to go through the President's schedule, and then take some questions. On September 13, upon arrival in New York, the President will meet with the U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, at the U.N. Headquarters. He'll then drop by and pay a courtesy call on the United Nations incoming General Assembly President.
He'll then have a meeting with Chinese President Hu, who is, as you know -- his visit had to be postponed, to Washington, because of the recent disaster. And then that evening, the President will be hosting a private reception for leaders from throughout the world.
On September 14, on Wednesday, President Bush will sign the Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism. Following that signing, the President will address the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly, which will precede the opening of general debate. Following his remarks, he will have meetings with Prime Minister Sharon and Prime Minister Blair.
The President will participate in a Security Council summit which will address terrorism and conflict prevention, and he will meet with leaders from democratic states in support of the recently established U.N. Democracy Fund that I just mentioned.
Following his morning address and meetings, the President will attend a luncheon hosted by the Secretary General, and then participate in a group photo. After the group photo, the President will return to Washington, D.C.
So with that statement, I'll be happy to take your questions. And John Simon has joined us, so we have our expert on development, as well.
MR. SIMON: Hello.
Q Thanks guys, and especially, thanks for doing this on the record. I really appreciate that. A question about the state of play on the U.N. reforms. What is the President prepared to support in New York next week in his reform of the United Nations?
MR. KOZAK: Well, we've been working for approximately a year, I think, on the U.N. reform effort. Some of the key elements in it, from the U.S. standpoint, are management reforms. There are a number of proposals. Many of these derive -- or most of them derive from the Secretary General's recommendations that came first from a high-level panel of sort of wise men or experts that he had assembled, and then he boiled those down into his own proposals.
So some of the key ones are management reforms, which are somewhat detailed, but have some important features in there, like giving the Secretary General actual authority to move people around from one job to another, things like funding the Inspector General's Office, where the people who are funding it aren't the ones who are being inspected, and details like that.
How far this will come by the time of the event is -- there's still negotiations going on. But the themes that they're working on are these kinds of management reforms, improvements in the human rights machinery of the U.N., improvements in coordination amongst U.N. agencies in post-conflict situations. So those are some of the most important U.N. reform topic areas from our standpoint.
Q As a follow-up, do you still have -- despite the -- you've had the oil-for-food report recently -- do you still have full confidence in Secretary Annan?
MR. KOZAK: Well, I think we've spoken to that in other fora that we are continuing to work with him. And I won't substitute my words for those that you've heard from the spokesman.
Q Respectfully, we've heard those before the oil-for-food report from this week. That's why I'm --
MR. KOZAK: And I think I'll leave it to Frederick, who is the spokesman on those issues. But I think we've repeated that as recently as today, have we not?
Q I don't think so, not at the White House, anyway.
MR. KOZAK: Okay.
MR. JONES: Olivier, our position has not changed at all.
MR. KOZAK: Yes, that's what I meant to say. (Laughter.)
MR. JONES: And if I'm not mistaken, it has probably been articulated by the Secretary of State today, I believe.
Q In her press conference --
MR. JONES: In her press conference.
Q All right, thank you.
Q I have a logistical question. Which is the "major" speech that the President is going to give at the event? Is it the one on the 14th, then? Because there was some talk about him also being at the U.N. and in New York on the following Saturday. But I'm just really interested in the schedule at this point.
MR. KOZAK: No, at this point he's going to be there Tuesday afternoon and then Wednesday morning, going into Wednesday afternoon. And I think there are two sort of public speeches that will be available. One is in the morning -- because we're the host country, we always speak fourth. When the event starts in the morning, you have the incoming and outgoing Presidents of the General Assembly; then the Secretary General speaks; and then President Bush speaks. So that will be the longest speech, will be the one addressing the plenary of the General Assembly high-level leaders.
Then there's a second event that I mentioned, which is the Security Council Summit, so the Security Council will meet again at the head of state-head of government level. And the President will have remarks to make there, but we expect those to be much shorter. It's a shorter event. So there are two sort of public prepared statements that he'll be making.
Q Right -- he's not going to be there any time later in the week then?
MR. KOZAK: No. That's certainly not the plan. It may have been -- this may have been where the confusion arose. Initially, this going back a month or two, the General Assembly was to begin I think on the 16th or 17th, and the President was going to go up then and had booked things. And then the Secretary General decided to have this special high-level event to kick it off, and they sort of added that on to the front. So we adjusted our time to meet that. And that's why he's going. And so you may be thinking of what the original schedule was, and it's because of U.N. changing of the agenda that --
Q -- their agenda, right, okay. So, in other words, the main speech will, in fact, then be on Wednesday.
MR. KOZAK: Correct. Exactly.
Q Very good, thank you.
MR. KOZAK: Sure enough.
Q Could you tell us about the meeting with the Chinese President? Is that going to be as large a meeting as if it had been here at the White House?
MR. KOZAK: No, and I don't think it's a substitute for that. I believe it's been indicated that the visit that would have occurred this week would -- has been postponed, but will eventually occur. So this is a much briefer meeting than the type of meeting that would have happened and will happen subsequently.
Q Is it still a substantive meeting, or is it just sort of pleasantries?
MR. KOZAK: Well, I think whenever the President meets with the President of China, it tends to be substantive. But I'm going to the amount of time devoted to it. Obviously, if the Chinese President is coming here and spending a couple of days, there's more time than spending an hour or so in New York. But even then, they'll use the time productively, I'm sure.
Q You say it's an hour in New York?
MR. KOZAK: Or a bit more. But schedules adjust themselves. (Laughter.) Don't want to give you an exact number of minutes, but in that ballpark.
Q Could you talk a little bit about his speech, what he hopes to say, and how is it being changed to take account of the hurricane?
MR. KOZAK: Well, I won't predict what the President will say. I think, basically, stay tuned on that. I think, though, from the themes that I laid out at the beginning, you get some idea. This is -- the summit was called to review where we are on development efforts. It's also addressing the U.N. reform topics. So, obviously, those themes are subjects that get addressed.
But we, as I mentioned, we see all of this as part of a whole -- the war on terror, development and trade, fighting disease, promoting democracy. And those are all components of how you make the world a safer and better place.
And so I think what you'll see from the President, if you look at the event or his visit in totality, is that he's hitting each one of those elements of the overall policy in one fashion or another.
MR. JONES: Very good. I'd like to thank our speakers, and thanks everyone who participated. Take care.
MR. KOZAK: Thank you all.
END 2:38 P.M. EDT