|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 23, 2002
Briefing to the Press Pool by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Lima, Peru
11:00 A.M. EST
DR. RICE: All right. Just let me start with a couple of remarks about what we've just done at the Monterrey Summit on Financing for Development. I think it was really a very successful summit. The Mexicans did a very outstanding job of organizing it. And I think that the Monterrey consensus really tracks very well with --
MR. FLEISCHER: This is --
DR. RICE: Off camera.
MR. FLEISCHER: -- on the record, off camera.
DR. RICE: The consensus out of the meeting, I think, tracked very well with two of the President's most important priorities on development, and the first is that there be recognition of responsibility of both developing countries and developed countries for the process of development. That has to be a two-way street; that it cannot be that there are simply new resources going in without a very strong commitment on the part of the developing countries that they are going to engage in good governance, that they are going to engage in rule of law, that they will educate and keep their people healthy, and that they are going to have open, free trading policies that encourage entrepreneurship. So that was an extremely important outcome, and it really changes the terms of the debate about development away from inputs to is this really something that's changing people's lives.
The second thing is that I think the President's development assistance package was extremely well-received. The fact that the United States is now going to have a new development initiative in the Millennium Challenge Account, which will incent countries to engage in better practices in exchange for development assistance.
The President made very clear that the United States will feed anyone. Obviously, our humanitarian food assistance goes to the people of North Korea. I don't think anyone thinks that we think very much of the government of North Korea. It's certainly not engaging in good governance. Even during the Taliban period, we were the largest food donor to Afghanistan. So there are some basics of development that have to get done, even if you don't have a good government -- don't happen to live in a country in which there is good governance.
But this new challenge account will give an impetus to the consensus that I think is developing in the developing community, which is that you must have good practices, as well. So we were very pleased with the outcome of the summit.
The trilateral with Mexico and Canada was excellent, really a reaffirmation of the importance of NAFTA, moving NAFTA to the next phase. They talked about border security. They talked about their responsibility now for doing something about pushing forward the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement, because NAFTA has obviously been so important to the development of the country. All you have to do is look at Monterrey, Mexico, and you see the effects of development -- or the effects of NAFTA.
And then the bilateral with President Fox, really affirming again how important the U.S.-Mexican relationship is. They spent a good deal of time on, again, on border issues, spent a good deal of time on regional issues. And the President told President Fox that he intends to continue the work that they're doing on migration at the high level, between the Secretary of State and the Attorney General and their counterparts, but also at the technical level.
And the President, as you heard publicly, really challenged the Senate to get 245(i) done, which is an important step. And we need now to put together a series of steps to deal with migration. So those were some of the highlights of the meeting.
We're looking forward to moving on to Peru. The President will have the opportunity to meet with the Andean Trade Preferences countries. The Andean Trade Preference Agreement really needs to get passed. We need to get that out, as well. Trade is really the engine of growth in these countries and they are all very, very strongly supportive of what we are trying to do in ATPA. We just need to get it done in the Congress.
The President will also talk about the Andean Regional Initiative, which is an important -- more than almost $800 million regional initiative on matters like economic development for the Andean region, crop substitutions so that those do not become again areas for drug cultivation, educational initiatives. It's a really broad program, $195 million of which will be for Peru. And the President will announce the Andean Regional Teaching Education Center, a teachers' improvement center. This was an initiative that the President took at the Summit of the Americas conference back a year ago in March, to improve teacher training around the world. And this is one of those centers. And he will talk about trade and a number of other issues, both with Peru and with the Andean Trade Preferences countries.
So I'll take your questions.
Q On the development, development account, will you have established guidelines to determine who qualifies for the money, or will it be we'll know it when we see it? Will it be a moving target or will there be established guidelines?
DR. RICE: No, we're going to establish guidelines, because we believe it ought to be transparent to everybody what it takes to receive this assistance and to increase the potential for this assistance to actually really have an impact on people's lives.
Now, nobody believes that this is something mechanistic, that you can throw it into a computer and it says these five countries qualify and these five don't. Obviously, this is also a process of working with the countries that might qualify and even some of whom, with improvements in their policies, would qualify later.
So it's an iterative process with other G-7 countries, it's an iterative process with the development community, the World Bank and others. And we expect it to be a partnership with the countries that we're engaging. It's not going to be mechanistic, but we do intend to have established guidelines.
Q Do you already know which countries you would like to help this budget year?
DR. RICE: This big initiative starts in '04. What we're going to do in '03 is to work with the Congress to use some existing budget resources in different ways, to help countries that may be really very, very almost ready or probably are ready through technical assistance so that they can use the aid more effectively when it's made available in '04. And we haven't sat down and established a list, but obviously there are some countries that are making a lot of progress, and I think it won't be hard to figure out who some of those countries will be early.
And I should just say the President is particularly interested in looking at Africa, where you have some of the poorest countries in the world. But also we think there are some countries in Central America and Latin America that will clearly qualify for these funds, as well.
Q What you just said about Africa, were you talking about the '03 money or '04 and beyond?
DR. RICE: The '03 technical assistance could go to some of these countries, but '04, as well. The big initiative starts in '04.
Q The initiative was well-received, but there were some criticisms about the funding level -- that it was too low. Do you anticipate, over time, going above the $5 million per year figure?
DR. RICE: We think that the funding level, first of all, is a tremendous increase in overall U.S. development assistance. I mean, it is, after all -- at the end of three years it will be a 50-percent increase in development assistance. I would just note that there has been a lot of talk about the importance of development for a lot of years. Nobody's ever done that. And I think the President, in doing that, really silenced a lot of people who wanted to say that the United States was not generous.
Now, the fact is that the United States is not only generous in development assistance, but it is generous in the security that it provides for the world. It's very hard to have development in a world in which you're dealing with terrorism and the kinds of problems -- security problems that exist. The United States is the most important guarantor of security. The United States is the most open in terms of trade with developing countries. And, of course, that is often not factored in when you talk about development assistance. And the United States is a major source of foreign direct investment from American companies. So we think the United States does an awful lot for development.
But to those who wanted to say you haven't increased your development assistance in a significant way, they can no longer say that. This President made a step that nobody's made in 20 years.
Q When the President talks about terrorism here in Peru, is he still pretty much going to have the same doctrine about terrorism that he has applied in instances with Afghanistan and the anti-terror campaign? Or does it take on a slightly different tone in Peru, because of -- or in Latin America because of the different nature of the problem there?
DR. RICE: Well, the approach -- let me put it this way. The goal and the doctrine is the same everywhere: Terrorism can never be a legitimate means for any cause, no matter how legitimate the aspirations. So that under no circumstances can people engage in terrorism. Terrorism is bad, it's evil. Taking on innocent civilians is just wrong. That is true worldwide.
Obviously, even in the theater, even in the region around Afghanistan, there are different approaches that you have to take, given the circumstances that you find on the ground. So in some cases, like a Yemen, for instance, or the Philippines, we're working with a cooperative government to improve their capability to go after terrorists in their midst.
In Afghanistan, we had a hostile government that was harboring terrorists, and that government had to meet the fate that the Taliban met before you could get at the terrorists. So clearly approach is different. But what's very clear is the President believes terrorism is wrong, it has to be addressed. He believes that countries, states, have a responsibility to address terrorism and we can do it by assisting countries to do that. In some cases, as in Afghanistan, American military power was necessary. But, you know, this is a very good approach.
Let me just mention one other thing. We all keep forgetting that an equally important part of this terrorist campaign, aside from the military side, is law enforcement intelligence-sharing and clamping down on the finances of terrorists. And we need not to lose sight of the fact that even in places where there are not terrorist cells, there are countries that can be really helpful in intelligence-sharing and can be very helpful in clamping down on finances. So we are reemphasizing that, as well.
Q But in this particular case, though, what is the message he brings to this country regarding the overall anti-terror campaign? I mean, I've been trying to figure out how they fit in the rubric of this.
DR. RICE: The message that he brings is the people of Peru should not be subject to terrorism, just like the people of the United States should not be subject to terrorism. And he is providing -- we're providing as a part of the Andean Regional Initiative $75 million in assistance to Peru to help them deal with the terrorist threat. Certainly we're prepared to listen to President Toledo and see if there are other things that we can do to help them.
But the message is consistent. No population of freedom-loving peoples should have to fear the kind of terrorism that occurred in Peru just a few days ago.
Q Do we have any military advisors in Peru, providing training or education?
DR. RICE: We do not -- military advisors in Peru? No. No, we do not have any military advisors in Peru. The Andean Regional Initiative, which is the kind of big initiative that surrounds, for instance, Plan Colombia, is largely devoted to economic development, economic assistance, crop substitution and terrorism assistance, intelligence sharing.
Q Condi, what can you tell us of the latest information on Zinni and whether Cheney might go to --
DR. RICE: Well, we're continuing to receive updates and assessments on General Zinni as to the situation. They had a trilateral security meeting yesterday that I think they would characterize as positive. But there is still a lot of work to do. And what we've said is that when the conditions are met by Chairman Arafat -- and, by the way, it's not just so that those conditions are met, but so that the conditions then are supportive of getting into Tenet and then getting on with this.
And so when those conditions are met, the Vice President is prepared to travel to the region again, he is prepared to meet with Chairman Arafat. But he's not going until the conditions are met. And we're assessing it, you know, kind of several times a day at this point.
Q -- zero to 60? I mean, there has to be increments. Where are we in the process?
DR. RICE: Well, the fact is that these conditions have been out there for a long time. This is not anything new. And Chairman Arafat has known for many months what needs to be done. People need to be -- terrorists need to be arrested and kept under arrest. He knows that he needs to work to break up the apparatus of these terrorist organizations, tearing this out. He needs to continue to denounce terrorism to his people in his own language. And he needs to make very clear that the Palestinian Authority does not think that terrorism is a part of its arsenal in dealing with Israel.
And so it's not a matter of going from zero to 60; it's a matter of just fulfilling conditions that have been out there for a very long time.
Q Is he in second gear? Is he in third gear? I mean, where is he in this process?
DR. RICE: I'm not prepared to make that assessment. General Zinni is on the ground. I think he is working every day with the parties. Secretary Powell has been on the phone with the parties. I think that we will just have to get an assessment and we'll know it when we see it.
Q Secretary Powell again today -- did he speak with him?
DR. RICE: He has not yet, but he may well.
Q Does the window close? Is it that Arab League meeting where the Cheney meeting with Arafat no longer becomes --
DR. RICE: I don't think we're thinking of it as a window closing. But obviously, the sooner Chairman Arafat gets started, gets to the place where these conditions are met, the better the chances that the Secretary -- the Vice President is going to go. And we'd like to do it as soon as it's possible. But it's not going to be possible until those conditions are met.
Q But a meeting with Cheney is now kind of -- we have a meeting with Cheney, then Tenet, then Mitchell. I mean, it seems like it's now a part of the structure.
DR. RICE: The idea was to get into Tenet. And so there has to be some assurance that we're in Tenet. And, you know, there is some time to get into Tenet. So they need -- Arafat needs to get busy.
Q But I guess my point was that a meeting with Cheney is now kind of a permanent part of our vocabulary about the --
DR. RICE: The President, the first part of his administration, the first months of his administration said, we will meet and have meetings when we think that it can help push the process along. So I think that it's important to think of the offer to meet with the Vice President in that context. It's not a carrot, somehow. It is that, if and when you would get to a place that that meeting seems that it would likely have an effect and help push things along, then it makes sense to do it. And -- but it's not going to make sense to do it until there are conditions on the ground that say we're getting into Tenet and that there's some chance that we're moving forward.
Q Does that still apply to a meeting with the President as well? That if, at some point, in perhaps the distant future, he feels it will be useful, he will meet with Chairman Araft?
DR. RICE: The President has always left open that he will meet with whomever, when it makes sense from the point of view of pushing the process forward.
Q What about tomorrow, Condi? Could you set that meeting up a little bit with the Central American leaders?
DR. RICE: The meeting tomorrow with the Central American leaders will be to really celebrate a region that I think 10, 15 years ago nobody would have given a chance to be living at peace, to be democratic, to have presidents who are interested in pressing the free market, and to have the kind of relationship that you have between the United States and the Central American leaders. So, in some sense, it's to celebrate that spirit.
It's also to talk about the next phase, and the next phase is to get a Central American free trade agreement, which the Central Americans are all very excited about. They have said that it will not only help them in their trade relations with us, but they see it as a way to break down trade barriers among themselves.
We often forget that one of the problems for developing countries is that they tend to have high trade barriers between countries, as well as trying to enter the markets of developed countries. And so the Central American Free Trade Agreement, like the FTAA, brings all of these countries in to where we have a world trading system that is quite a bit more open.
So it will be about trade, it will be democracy. And the President has, I think, a very warm spot in his heart for the Central American presidents who, despite very, very difficult odds, where most of them were living in countries that were in civil war just a few years ago, are really making a tremendous effort to make life better for their people.
Q Does the President see kind of a moral equivalency between, for instance, the Taliban and their support of terrorism, and the government of Iraq --
DR. RICE: Government of?
Q Iraq -- Saddam Hussein.
DR. RICE: Well, you don't have to see moral equivalence to see that you have some pretty bad actors, in fact, evil things in what the Taliban was doing to its own people and what Saddam Hussein does to his own people. Saddam Hussein is a leader who, while continually flaunting the international obligations that he
undertook in 1991, continuing to threaten his neighbors, is somebody who used a weapon of mass destruction, used weapons of mass destruction against his own people in the north. And if that doesn't fit into the category of evil, I don't know what does.
But the President, as he made clear just again yesterday, has said to the world, the status quo is not acceptable with Saddam Hussein. He's a dangerous man acquiring the world's most dangerous weapons. But he has made no decision about the use of force against Iraq. And consultations are going on with all of our friends and allies and the rest of the world about how we deal with a regime that is a menace not just to us but to everybody, and so that's where we are with Iraq.
MR. FLEISCHER: Thanks everybody.
DR. RICE: Thank you.
END 11:23 A.M. EST