The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 24, 2007

Press Gaggle by Dana Perino and Senior Administration Official
Aboard Air Force One
En Route New York, New York

Steve Hadley, National Security Advisor

2:22 P.M. EDT

MS. PERINO: Hello, everybody. We have a special guest, Steve Hadley, the President's National Security Advisor. He can give you some information about an element that will be in the speech tomorrow. We have limited time, but he'll take a couple of questions, and then we'll sit down.

MR. HADLEY: The speech tomorrow is going to talk about the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights as a founding document for the United Nations and for our common commitment, as reflected in the United Nations, for freedom. And the President is going to talk about the need for advancing that agenda. He's going to talk about liberation from terror, from fear, and from oppression. He's going to talk about the need to liberate people from disease, from ignorance. It's going to be, I think, a fairly broad-ranging speech that will talk about the broad agenda that we and others in the United Nations are pursuing.

As part of that first category I talked about, he is going to talk about Burma; the importance to support the efforts of the various groups within Burma to advance the cause of freedom there. He is going to announce that there will be additional sanctions directed at key members of the regime, and those that provide financial support to them. He's going to talk about -- that there will be a visa ban to key individuals associated with the negative activities of the regime, including their families. He's going to talk about the importance of continuing to support the humanitarian organizations that are trying to deal with the needs of the people of Burma on the ground. And he will call for the United Nations and for other countries there to do all they can to support a process of political change in Burma.

And it's very interesting what is happening in the country with the Buddhist monks that have joined this effort. And our hope is to marry that internal pressure with some external pressure -- coming from the United States, the United Nations, and really all countries committed to freedom -- to try and force the regime into a change, and one that will give -- will release all political prisoners and permit an evolution towards democracy and freedom in Burma. And that will be one of the subjects of his speech tomorrow, and we just wanted to give you a little more texture.

Dana, anything you want to add to that?

MS. PERINO: No, that'll do it.

Q Can you give us anything more specific on the kinds of sanctions you're talking about?

MR. HADLEY: No, I really can't. One of the things you need to do is involve a little element of surprise on these sanctions so that people don't, quite frankly, hide their assets before the sanctions come into force. So we're going to be a little bit, intentionally a little vague on what is intended, so that they will have their intended effect.

Q Have you received any assurances from other U.N. members that they'll support you on the sanctions?

MR. HADLEY: We haven't shopped them specifically, but I think you're going to see a number of countries speak out, and I think there has been an increasing awareness about the viciousness of this regime and the opportunity that we might have actually to get a transition. So I think you're going to see a number of countries joining in this effort. There's a real opportunity here.

Q Will the President, himself, get specific tomorrow?

MR. HADLEY: No, I think it'll be roughly along the lines I've just described here.

Q Will the President talk about Iran in his speech at all?

MR. HADLEY: Pardon me?

Q Will the President talk about Iran in his speech?

MR. HADLEY: A little bit, but it won't be a major focus. But I'd like to not get into more what will be in or not in the speech. We've given you a sense of sort of the framework and the thematic, and I'd like to save the rest of it for the President tomorrow.

Q D you have any reaction to the theme of what Ahmadinejad has been saying today; essentially that, why should we go to war, there is no war in the offing, we're not walking towards war with the United States? Are those comments in any way helpful?

MR. HADLEY: Look, what would be helpful is for Iranian officials to give some direction so that they would stop the movement of equipment into Iraq, and training people in Iraq who are killing innocent Iraqis, Iraqi security forces and our kids. What would be helpful is if Iran would get out of the business of supporting terror, and agree to what's been offered to them: to suspend their enrichments capability so we can sit down and negotiate a resolution to the nuclear issue, that would give the Iranian people an opportunity for a truly peaceful civil nuclear program, and reassure the international community they're not trying to find a nuclear weapon. And it would be nice for this regime to give their people more of an opportunity to participate in government.

I mean, look -- it would be nice for this regime to take some concrete steps to address the agenda, that not only the United States has, but really the whole international community has with the government of Iran. Thanks a lot.

END 2:28 P.M. EDT

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