For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 27, 2001
Press Briefing by
By Ari Fleischer
President of Bolivia.......................................3
Administration's Stand on International Treaties.....4-7, 15
Biological Weapons Convention
Patients' Bill of Rights........................7, 10-11, 14
Trade Promotion Authority................................7-9
Education Bill/Boy Scouts.................................10
Mexico/Vote on Trucking................................13-14
Missile Defense/Putin Meetings.........................15-16
the White House
Office of the Press Secretary
12:35 P.M. EDT
MR. FLEISCHER: Good
afternoon. Happy Friday to the White House Press
Corps. President Bush today announced his intention to
nominate Louis Kincannon to be Director of the Census at the Department
of Commerce. President Bush today announced his intention to nominate
Melvin Sembler to be ambassador of the United States to Italy.
I have a week ahead at the end of this
briefing, so please remind me to get to that. With that, I'm
pleased to take any questions.
Q What are Mr.
Sembler's qualifications to be ambassador to Italy?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
believes that Mr. Sembler to be a very able diplomat, you will see by
the information we've put out about his background. His
previous experience where he was Ambassador to Australia under former
President Bush, where he very well represented our country. He was
appointed by President Reagan to the White House Conference For A
Drug-Free America. He's been involved in the United States
government before. He represented our country abroad very
well in that capacity.
Q I'd like to ask
you another question on foreign policy. The Secretary of
State meets with Chinese officials on Saturday, and says he will bring
up the country's mixed record on compliance with the 2000
Nonproliferation Agreement with the U.S. Has United States
formerly protested to China about their continued exports of missiles
and related technology to Pakistan and other countries?
MR. FLEISCHER: Ron, the
administration firmly opposes all Chinese transfers of missiles and
weapons of mass destruction, related technology to other
countries. Nonproliferation is a key element in the United
States relations with China, and the United States will continue to
make this an important topic in our discussions with China, as
Secretary Powell did this week. The United States expects
China to live up to its nonproliferation commitments, and we will
continue to press China to adhere to those policies.
Q And what else do
you hope to get out of the meeting?
MR. FLEISCHER: With
China? I think our relations with China are very important
to the United States. Our relations with China represent
some serious opportunities, particularly on the trade
front. It also represents particular challenges involving
human rights. And the President is going to continue to
focus on both the positive aspects of our relationship with China, and
he will not shy away from confronting China directly on the aspects
that need to be improved.
Q Ari, on that
subject, does the administration see a deterioration in China's
performance on nonproliferation issues?
MR. FLEISCHER: As Secretary
Powell said, China's performance on proliferation is
mixed. And we're going to continue to press China because so
much of peace throughout the world depends on different nations not
acquiring weapons of mass destruction and technology that is given as a
result of weakness, or mixed results on proliferation. So
it's an important ongoing part of the U.S. relations with China, and
the administration, as Secretary Powell has indicated, will not
hesitate to press China on it.
Q Is there a trend
in all this --
MR. FLEISCHER: I think mixed
indicates, as the Secretary said, some positive developments, some
negative developments. It's mixed, and that's why it's
important for the United States to continue to press China as Secretary
Powell has, and as the President will continue to do so.
Q Ari, you
articulated well this morning about how the United States may not go to
the Race Conference, the U.N.-backed Race Conference in
Africa. But some critics are wondering if you have such a
strong stand, why not go and make that stand there about Zionism as
well as reparations?
MR. FLEISCHER: The conference
that is scheduled to take place in Africa, designed to fight racism,
presents the United States with a historic opportunity, and it presents
the rest of the world with a historic opportunity to unite in
international efforts to create a new climate to fight
racism. The President believes one of the best ways to fight
racism around the world is through the development of democracy
throughout the world. The democratic nations, while they
have problems, are the nations that have brought about the greatest
advances in racial harmony and racial healing. It's often
the nations that lack democracy that engage in ethnic cleansing and
present the world with the deepest problems.
And that's why the President is committing
to going and to attending this conference. The
representatives of the United States government have their bags packed
and their ready to go and attend this conference. The only
thing stopping them from going will be if the conferees divert the
conference from its important mission of fighting racism and get into
issues such as equating Zionism with racism, or engaging in issues
facing backwards on reparations that serve to divide nations as opposed
to bring people together to confront the current problems that the
world faces dealing with racism.
Q Ari, once again,
why not go to make that stand and send a clear message, especially
since you say President Bush feels that racism is alive and well today
around the world and in the United States?
MR. FLEISCHER: Because the
President thinks it's very important for this conference to be
successful that the conference focus on the future, on solving problems
of the here and now, and solving problems that are faced around the
world on racism, and that it's also important to send a signal to the
freedom loving nations of the world that we will not stand by, if the
world tries to describe Zionism as racism. That is as wrong
as wrong can be, and the President is proud to stand by Israel and by
the Jewish community and send a signal that no group around the world
will meet with international acceptance and respect if its purpose is
to equate Zionism with racism.
Q Let me follow
up. On the issue of reparations, is there a fear that
dealing with these reparations will stir up the old pot about
reparations here in the United States for African Americans, the
descendants of African slaves here?
MR. FLEISCHER: The position on
racism that the administration holds is very similar to the position
that was held by the previous administration on the question of
reparations. For this conference to be successful, it's
important that they focus on the current problems of racism and not get
lost in the tangle that is presented by trying to address long-ago
inequity that involved Africans trading Africans, Arabs trading
Africans, Europeans trading and enslaving Africans, Americans doing the
same. And it quickly comes a point of who pays reparations
to who -- the West African nations that engaged in slave trading,
should they pay reparations to themselves.
The point is, this conference should be
successful. Racism is a serious problem in the here and now
around the word. But if this conference gets diverted into
issues such as equating Zionism with racism, the conference will hurt
its ability to be a successful conference.
Q The President of
Bolivia came here a few weeks ago to be treated for cancer at Walter
Reed, spent many weeks here, left a few days ago, had a very serious
relapse, was admitted back in Walter Reed. And today the
Bolivian government announced he will be resigning as of August 6th,
and his Vice President will take over. I've been asked to
ask you if there is any comment from the White House.
MR. FLEISCHER: Let me get back
to you. Let me take that question and report back to you.
Q Ari, why do you
believe it's appropriate to engage in selective disengagement in the
instance of the U.N. Conference on Human Rights, but in other areas,
such as trade with China, even though China violates human rights, you
feel that it's appropriate for us as a nation to be involved in their
MR. FLEISCHER: As I indicated,
the delegates to this convention, their bags are packed and they're
ready to go. The United States intends to go. The
United States is engaged. The only way disengagement will
occur is if this conference disengages itself from the freedom-loving
nations of the world that do not equate Zionism with racism.
Q -- have U.S.
athletes boycott China in the Olympics?
MR. FLEISCHER: The question
needs to be addressed to the other nations that risk creating
disengagement because the United States is fully engaged and prepared
Q Is there any
treaty since World War II that this administration is not willing to
MR. FLEISCHER: Is that what you
call a leading question?
MR. FLEISCHER: Is there
something you have on your mind?
Q Every treaty, it
seems, that's been made in at least the last 25 years you seem to be
saying no to and tearing up. I mean, has nothing any
validity that was done before you arrived?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think Helen's
question is aimed more specifically at the Biological Weapons
Convention and some of the recent discussions about protocol.
Q No, no,
Q Kyoto --
Q I can name four
MR. FLEISCHER: Let me answer
your question. There have been a series of issues in which
the President is going to demonstrate American leadership on because
the President is more interested in doing what is right for America and
having America lead the world to good solutions to difficult
problems. And on the Kyoto Protocol, for example, the
President has said that the United States is committed to the reduction
of greenhouse gases. And we'll be coming up with an
alternative to a protocol, Kyoto, that would have put working Americans
out of work and that received very little support in the United States
Senate when there was an indicative test vote.
On the question of the Biological Weapons
Convention, the United States is fully committed to the Biological
Weapons Convention. We support it, we signed it, it's a
ratified treaty. And the United States will adhere and abide
to it. There's a separate question involving a protocol that
deals with how to implement aspects of the Biological Weapons
Convention. If you ever want proof perfect of why that
protocol is not a successful way to stop the development of biological
weapons, ask yourself, if that protocol is so good, then why is Iran
for it? Iran is known to be producing biological weapons --
Q We are, too.
MR. FLEISCHER: The United
States does not produce and will not produce weapons of -- biological
weapons. We do not. We're adherent to the treaty,
and we obey it.
But Iran is recognized around the world as
a violator of the treaty. Yet that protocol has been agreed to by
Iran, because they know it is so flimsy that they can cheat their way
right through it. So the President is being very realistic,
and is protecting America's interest by not simply agreeing to a
protocol that Iran has accepted, because Iran knows that it's not worth
the paper that it's written on.
Q How about every
other treaty that you've said no to recently, I mean, that is being
MR. FLEISCHER: Do you want to
give me some examples?
Q Criminal court,
small gun running -- you name it.
MR. FLEISCHER: There was an
agreement reached on --
Q One after another
you're saying no to.
MR. FLEISCHER: The President is
going to continue to lead America into our relations around the world
on the basis of what is right and what is best for
America. It's distinct American internationalism.
Q I have one
follow-up then. How can you lead when you don't have any
friends or allies any more with us on anything?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think the
question is, why should the United States acquiesce in the question of
the biological weapons protocol --
Q Leadership is to
take others along with you.
MR. FLEISCHER: -- if that
protocol is so easily cheated that Iran is happy to sign up for it?
Q Ari, what's the
difference between distinct internationalism and isolationism?
Q Yes, on the same
question, I want to follow up. Some say the actions on these
various treaties show sort of a new unilateralism in American foreign
policy. What do you say to that?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think
that if you take a look at the President's trips to Europe, you'll see
the degree to which the President is leading Europe and working well
with our European allies. Take the question of missile
defense. The President has a series of European allies when
it comes to the missile defense initiative. If you take a
look at the nations of former Eastern Europe, Hungary, Poland, the
Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, they're all looking
at the problem of weapons of mass destruction the same way the
The President's meetings with President
Putin suggest that President Putin and President Bush are working well
together to lead the world into a new vision of how to keep the
peace. If that's not the definition of multilateralism, then
I don't know what is. The United States will continue to
work, under President Bush, well with our allies and partners around
the world. But the President will not shirk from his duties
to protect the American people from any international agreements that
the President does not think are in America's interest.
Q Have there been
any further conversations between the President and anybody on the Hill
on patients' bill of rights? Or can you give us an update on
what's happened on that today?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
spoke with Congressman Norwood early this morning. He called
the Congressman to reiterate and to continue to say we need to get a
patients' bill of rights done and signed into law. The President
called Senator Kennedy yesterday, who has also been very involved in
securing a patients' bill of rights. And as you know, the
President and Senator Kennedy have worked very well together in the
past on the issue of education. So the President will
continue to have conversations. And I'll keep you informed
as events develop.
Q Does he expect
any further conversations today, or over the weekend?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm sorry, I
couldn't hear you.
Q Do you expect him
to engage in any further conversations today or over the weekend?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'll advise you
if there are any further discussions.
Q What about on
fast track, Ari? Democrats say he's not fully
engaged. What does he plan to do? Is he going to
make it a top priority?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, obviously,
he was in a meeting today with the Chairman of the Senate Finance
Committee, a leading Democrat, Senator Baucus, who came by the Oval
Office. So I'm not sure that -- is there anybody who's
telling you that he's not engaged?
Q -- was quoted
today as having said that Democrats haven't heard from him, he's not --
MR. FLEISCHER: He must not have
been aware of the meeting in the Oval Office today between the Chairman
of the Senate Finance Committee, who's a Democrat, who has offered
principles on fast track or trade promotion authority. The
President is deeply engaged on this issue. It's a question
he's addressed in a series of meetings with Democrats and Republicans
that come to visit in the White House. The President
addressed it today, and you heard him yourself, I'm sure, if you were
at the event, when the President discussed the importance of securing
trade promotion authority.
Trade promotion authority is a very
important development so that the President can enter into trade
agreements throughout the world. It's important for the
Senate not to retreat within the United States borders. It's important
for the Senate not to send signals that the United States is
isolationist and, therefore, it's important that they give him trade
Trade promotion authority is good for the
economy. Workers involved in America's export industry tend
to make more money than workers involved in domestic
products. Today there are 130 free trade agreements in the
world; the United States is party to only two. And one of
the reasons is because Congress has not given the President trade
Q Is he willing to
devote the political capital to make it a top priority over the next
MR. FLEISCHER: Absolutely he
Q Ari, Senator
Grassley said after the meeting that he told the President it was
important to get this bill done by the November WTO meeting in
Qatar. And he said the President agreed with this
assessment, that that was a crucial target. Is that
FLEISCHER: Sure. I think that's another very good
example, by the way, of how the President is
involved multilaterally in developing proposals that can be
supported around the world.
It's interesting, because the President
went to Europe and there were protestors on the street who protested
how he is working in such a constructive fashion on free trade around
the world with all these other nations, which is a perfect illustration
of who is on the side of bringing the world together and who is
standing outside in an isolationist fashion.
But, specifically, the President does
believe it would be very helpful before the next round of the World
Trade Organization meets in Qatar this November for the Congress to
send him trade promotion authority that can be signed into
law. The President thinks that would be a very important and
helpful way, not only to aid the economy, but to make sure those talks
are as successful as they can be.
Q Speaking of the
economy, Ari, the President's been in office six months, new figures
out today. At what point does the President start to take
political blame or credit for this economy?
MR. FLEISCHER: You know, the
voters will decide who takes credit and blame, but I can tell you that
the President understood beginning at 12:00 noon on January 20th that
the economy was his. He was elected to represent all of the
people in this country, beginning at 12:00 noon on January 20th, and it
didn't matter what took place before then. It was the
President's duty and responsibility to face it, and that's what he
did. And that's one of the reasons why the President, who
worked so successfully to enact a tax cut into law, which will now go
into effect this fall, that will give Americans rebates which will help
stimulate the economy.
There was a new report today out by the
Department of Commerce suggesting that the economy remains
weak. Growth for the spring of 2001 was only .7 percent,
less than one percentage point. The report released this
morning also indicated that the decline in growth began in the summer
of 2000, when growth dropped from 5.7 percent in the spring of 2000 to
1.3 percent in the summer of 2000. Growth was 1.9 percent in
the fall of 2000, and growth was only 1.3 percent in the winter of
'01. In other words, the economy has been in a one-year
slowdown. And the President is less interested in who is to
blame for it; he's more interested in how to solve the
problem. And that's why he's very pleased that the Congress
passed tax relief.
Q Does he have any
other stimulatory programs in mind, other than the tax cut, which
phases in over a period of time?
MR. FLEISCHER: As you heard the
President say today, trade promotion authority is one of the most
important ways to help the economy to grow. Exports are a real driver
in the American economy. And the degree to which Americans
are able to create jobs here at home by exporting products abroad, is a
way to strengthen America's economy.
Q Ari, on the
education bill, there are measures attached to it on both the House and
Senate version that would require local schools to get federal funding
to open their doors to the Boy Scouts. The President is
going to see the Boy Scouts on Sunday. Is he going to
mention that at all, and what is his position on this portion of the
MR. FLEISCHER: No, I don't
think that's going to be in the President's remarks on Sunday.
Q What is his
position? Does he believe the federal government should
force local schools to open their doors to Scouts?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
thinks that groups around the country should -- schools around the
country should open their doors to all types of groups. And
that's his position on it.
Q But is it the
role -- does he believe it's an appropriate role, as a condition of
federal funding, for the federal government to tell local school
districts you should or you should not be open to this particular
MR. FLEISCHER: I think what
you're going to see is the President work with Congress to get a bill
done that can be signed into law. That's the President's
Q On the patients'
bill of rights, does the President want to see a vote on the Fletcher
bill next week? And you cited his talks with Senator Kennedy
on that -- Senator Kennedy on education, and yet that bill remains
locked in conference. Does the President want to see a vote
on patients' bill of rights, and why does he -- why do you suggest his
dealings with Senator Kennedy may break an impasse over this issue,
when they didn't over education?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, actually
education is moving nicely thanks to the work that the President and
Senator Kennedy did. It's not moving as fast as the
President would like, but welcome to the Congress. Not
everything moves at lightning speed in the United States Congress.
As for the question involving the
patients' bill of rights, the President is less interested in the exact
timing of the vote, and much more interested in getting the job done
and complete. Congressman Charley Norwood, in October of
1995, introduced the first patients' bill of rights
legislation. Congress for the last seven years has failed to
get the job done. The President believes that this can be
the year that Congress gets the job done. And that's why
he's working as hard as he is on this issue with Congressman Norwood
So whether this bill gets sent to him or
is voted on in the House of Representatives today, on Monday next week
or next month is less important to the President than the fact that the
nation has waited seven years for Congress to get it
done. This can be the year for the Congress to finish the
Q I wanted to find
out what exactly did the President say to European leaders about the
alternative to Kyoto? Because he obviously left the
impression that he would be having that alternative relatively soon.
And now that the EPA Administrator is saying the administration may not
have an interest in doing anything on global warming anytime soon -- so
could you address that?
And also it looks like people on the Hill
are moving forward with or without the President's leadership on
this. And have you guys looked at those
proposals? Are you willing to say -- is the President
backing down from leading on the issue of global warming?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
was asked that very question last week, and so I can refer you to the
President's words. And he was asked, what is it that you
said to your fellow leaders in Europe about the timing of your proposal
on climate change. And the President said he told his
European allies that the Cabinet-level working group was working to
develop an alternative plan, and that it was a complicated and serious
issue, an important one, and that there is no timetable. As
soon as that plan is complete, the President would prepare to move on
it. That may or may not be before the meeting in
Marrakesh. And that's exactly what the President told his
Q When do you think
that would be?
MR. FLEISCHER: As I just said,
the President said whenever it's complete. It may be before,
it may be after Marrakesh.
Q And the issue
about Congress and Congress moving ahead without presidential
leadership on this issue?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
always welcomes Congress to work its will. Congress, I
think, will recognize the complexity of this issue, and Congress will
take a look at the same issues the President has looked at, and
recognize that any action that the United States takes must reduce
global warming, it must reduce greenhouse gases, and it must do so in a
way without harming the American economy or putting people out of
Administrator did not speak out of turn? You guys are
looking at this as seriously to have something done by the end of this
FLEISCHER: No. Again, I think the President
addressed it in his own words last week, and that's consistent with
what the Administrator said today.
Q Ari --
MR. FLEISCHER: New
questions. You asked a question, you asked a question, you
haven't asked a question.
Q I haven't asked a
question. Thank you very much. Has the President
received the short list from the Secretary of Defense as to the next
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? If so, has he made
his decision, and when will he announce it?
MR. FLEISCHER: As you know, I
don't speculate about personnel, whether it's the timing of it or the
people involved. So I'm not going to speculate on that topic.
you. A follow-up. It is questionable as far as a
follow-up, but has the President -- (laughter) --
MR. FLEISCHER: That would be a
Q -- has the
President ordered a retaliatory strike against Iraq for their attempt
to shoot down the U2 this week?
MR. FLEISCHER: As you know, the
President has said that he will continue to enforce the no-fly zone and
beyond that, I'm not going to engage in any speculation about any
Moving on to new people.
Q The speech of the
President in Kosovo on the 24th, there is a reference which has aroused
interest with leaders in India, and that is, from Kosovo to Kashmir, et
cetera. What did the President have in mind when he
bracketed Kosovo and Kashmir?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm sorry, what
did he have in mind when he what Kosovo and Kashmir?
Q When he bracketed
-- when he talked about Kosovo and Kashmir in the same breath?
MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, I want to
go back and take a look at the specifics of the President's
remarks. Why don't you share that with me and I'll try to
take your question about that afterwards.
Q Alliteration. (Laughter.)
Q Has the President
called any senators about this bill that's supposed to --
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
was disappointed in the vote on Mexican trucking. The
President believes very much that we can have safe trucking on our
roads and that we need to enforce safety standards and safety
regulations. The President supports creating an inspection
and certification regime with our Mexican neighbors to the south that
is tough, that is stringent, and that allows them access to American
roads so they are not put in an unfair position where our Mexican
neighbors are not treated right.
The President is going to work to fix what
took place in conference, and he will continue to work with several
senators and congressmen who have been very helpful in the
effort. And he remains hopeful that he will be successful.
Q Can I follow up
on that? There was a veto-proof majority in the
Senate. Would he still veto that bill?
MR. FLEISCHER: The staff
continues to recommend a veto to the President, and the President is
going to continue to work to fix it in conference.
Q And also on that,
while we're allowed follow-ups -- (laughter) -- what did the President
mean yesterday when he said that people supportive of tougher
regulations for Mexican trucks were discriminatory? What did
he mean by that?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President
said what the President said, which is, it's important to maintain
safety on our roads and to not take any action that is unfair to our
neighbors to the south.
Q He didn't just
say unfair, he said discriminatory, which brings forth other --
MR. FLEISCHER: That's what the
Q -- other notions,
such as anti-Mexican, people being anti-Mexican, anti-Hispanic.
MR. FLEISCHER: Keith, that's
what the President said. That's what the President
said. The President said unfair. And in the
spirit of you getting several follow-ups, we're going to now go to
Paula, who has anxiously tried to get a couple of follow-ups.
Q This is actually
a new question on employer liability. And the administration
has been saying all along how concerned it is that if you don't address
that, you know, people's insurance will be dropped. What's
been reported, that there's been a compromise offered in which the
President would support allowing patients to sue HMOs in state
courts. In terms of suing employers, those suits should be
brought on the federal level which, as you know, would provide
employers greater protection. Can you confirm that?
MR. FLEISCHER: Paula, that's
very much the same question you asked me this morning when I indicated
to you this morning -- (laughter) -- this morning, to your slightly
less-detailed question, I indicated that I'm not going to do the
play-by-play on any of the negotiations that are underway.
The reason that the President is heartened
with the progress that has been made in his conversations with
Congressman Norwood and others on patients' bill of rights is because
he thinks that Congress understands that they can get the job done this
year, and the discussions that are underway right now are what you
would expect at the end of a legislative issue that is very serious and
is approaching its possible vote sometime soon.
And that means the talks that are underway
are very delicate, they're sensitive, and are important. And
I'm not going to negotiate for the President through the press; the
President wants to allow the hard work of these discussions to continue
in a fashion that will be the most productive so he can sign a bill
Q Would that meet
his principles, though, if that were --
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm cracking
down on these follow-ups.
Q Ari, just one
more on the foreign policy and all the treaties and
protocols. When you say that the President is more
interested in doing what's right for America, why did not some perceive
that as some form of isolationism?
MR. FLEISCHER: Because it's a
question of, should the United States agree to a protocol on biological
weapons that Iran says is in Iran's interest, when the United States
it's not in America's interest. The American people will
believe that the President protected the interests of our country, and
they'll thank him for the leadership he's taking on that issue.
Q But in the
collective, is there any concern at all in the White House,
collectively, with the biological pact, the Kyoto Treaty, and the small
arms trading, the international criminal court -- collectively, that
there is a perception in the world community that the U.S. wants to go
it alone and do its own way.
MR. FLEISCHER: Kelly, as I
indicated, there are going to be issues where the United States leads
the world and works very well with the rest of the world, such as free
trade, and where the President will take on opponents who are
isolationist, both in the United States Congress and around the world,
who oppose free trade. There will be issues such as missile
defense, where the President develops broad coalitions of allies around
the world who join with him. But there will be other issues
where the President will be proud to stand tall and strong to represent
America in a world that doesn't always see things the American way.
But it's not the first time the world has
differed with America. But when America displays leadership
around the world, and around the principles that President Bush has
articulated, about making sure that we protect the United States from
rogue missile threats, from third world nations that would represent
harm to the United States through biological weapons, the American
people, the President believes, support his stance.
Q A follow-up on
missile defense. Putin on missile defense. As you
said in Genoa, the two Presidents had a very productive
meeting. And the Russians expected, in their words, a
serious approach to this new commitment by the two
Presidents. In this vein, they voiced very great
disappointment with the result of the visit to Moscow of Dr.
Rice. They say she has not told them anything new.
My question to you is, can you describe to
us how the American position since Genoa on this issue has evolved,
whether there is anything new that the Russians are
missing? Point out the new elements for us,
please. And if there is no new element, then please tell me,
what's the point of these visits, as the Russians are asking?
MR. FLEISCHER: As both the
President and Dr. Rice said, prior to the National Security Advisor's
trip to Moscow, the purpose of her trip was to work on an aggressive
schedule so that the progress that was made in both Ljubljana and Genoa
can be continued. So what is new, in the wake of her trip to
Moscow, is this is no longer a discussion of whether we will move
forward as two nations, Russia and the United States, on a new
strategic framework, but when.
And on that point, I can announce today
something that Dr. Rice indicated during her visit. Senior
defense experts will now meet to follow up on the conversations between
President Putin and President Bush in Washington on August
8th. In addition, Secretary Rumsfeld will go to Moscow for
talks with his counterpart, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on August 13
and August 14. So there is concrete results of Dr. Rice's
trip, aimed at exactly the purpose that she announced she was going to
Moscow for, which was to develop the schedule for these meetings.
Q Week ahead?
MR. FLEISCHER: Let me get into
the week ahead. The President will continue to focus on a
patients' bill of rights, education reform and his faith-based
initiative next week. Sunday he will travel to Fort A.P.
Hill in Virginia for the Boy Scouts Jamboree, and he'll make remarks on
values and communities of character, and lay out some of the themes
that he'll focus on in August as he goes home to the heartland.
On Monday the President addresses a
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives 25th
anniversary conference here in Washington, where he'll speak about
juvenile justice and character education aspects of his faith and
On Wednesday the President will speak to
the 2001 National Urban League Conference. There he will
talk about education reform now pending before the
Congress. And on Friday the President will have a meeting
with his full Cabinet. That is our week ahead.
Thank you everybody.
Q When is he going
to Texas, Ari? Saturday?
MR. FLEISCHER: It's scheduled