|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 27, 2002
Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Dr. Rice
1:20 P.M. (Local)
DR. RICE: Thank you. I just have a few brief comments. This summit was extremely important for a number of the President's foreign policy priorities, and I just want to concentrate on two in particular. This is, of course, the first post-9/11 G8 summit, and these are all leaders who have been extremely supportive in the war on terrorism. And this summit gave them an opportunity to get together, to discuss the progress in the war on terrorism, and to discuss a way forward. It also gave them an opportunity to discuss the problem of weapons of mass destruction, and two extremely important agreements came out of their discussions.
The first, a transport security agreement, which was a U.S.-proposed initiative that will enhance security while making the borders of countries safer, while making cargo and shipments of cargo safer. And so they see this both as an important measure for security, and because it concentrates not just on making things more secure, but more efficient. It's also an important way to assure commerce while assuring security.
The second major initiative completed today, when President Putin arrived, is the global partnership for the destruction of weapons of mass destruction -- the so-called 10 plus 10, it's been called. And this is an effort to bring to bear more resources, now $20 billion over 10 years, from the G7 countries and Russia to deal with the destruction of weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological, and nuclear matters of safety, but also matters of destruction.
Given the terrorism threat that is oft cited by those who worry about the legacy of these weapons of mass destruction, we think this is a very important initiative and we're delighted to get it done. So, in the area of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, the President's agenda was moved forward substantially.
Secondly, the President came here to talk with his colleagues about advancing the agenda that he called a new compact for development, outlined in his speech at Monterrey, the Monterrey Conference -- U.N. Conference on Development Assistance and Growth. And he received here very strong support. Indeed, all of the documents encompass the important principle that development is a two-way responsibility. It is, indeed, the responsibility of countries that are developed to provide resources. And the President, of course, announced at Monterrey that the United States would be providing new resources for development in something called the Millennium Challenge Account, resources that are -- will increase by 50 percent at the end of three years American assistance for developing countries.
But the other part of that is that there needs to be responsibility on the part of the recipient countries for good governance, because development assistance without good governance is simply wasted money. One needs to work on health and education of the population; one has to have an effort against corruption. Good governance is extremely important. And so all of the documents that are embodied here, including the ones concerning the African countries who were here embody this principle of joint responsibility for development.
Now, finally, the President was delighted to have time here with the African heads of state who are involved in the NEPAD effort for Africa. The President has been extremely supportive of the principles which again talk about excepting responsibility on the part of developing countries for their own development; the acknowledgement of the importance of trade and foreign direct investment as means to growth, not just development assistance. And he was very glad to have a chance to talk with those African leaders.
And again, since he's outlined his own program for Africa focusing on education, focusing on trade, focusing on development assistance, and since he plans to visit the continent next year, he was really delighted to have a chance with his G8 colleagues to talk about African development, as well.
The leaders also spent some time on regional issues, several different regional issues, but also on the Middle East, where they were able to discuss a way forward, and where I think there was general agreement that there needs to be an effort for Palestinian reform, for free and fair elections in the Palestinian territories, and where the President committed himself again, as he did in his speech, to an active American diplomacy to try to bring peace to that troubled region.
So those are my comments and I'd be happy to take a couple questions. Ron.
Q On the money, on the money, Dr. Rice --
DR. RICE: Which money?
Q On both packages, first on African aid, is there any -- any chance that the United States government will put up 50 percent of its foreign assistance budget to Africa? And on the 20 billion for Russia, I'm curious as to why the language is that up to $20 billion will be committed. Why not just flat $20 billion? Why the wiggle room?
DR. RICE: Well, the up to $20 billion reflects the reality that this is a new initiative and that countries are going to have to go back and make commitments. But we're confident, given the spirit around this global partnership, that the commitments are going to reach into that area. As you know, it's 10 plus 10, which means the United States has already committed its $10 billion over 10 years. And we expect that there will be a strong effort by others to match that.
In terms of the African assistance package, the United States and the G8 members here decided -- they simply described a fact which is that countries that follow the path of reform, countries that engage in good governance are the ones who will be receiving this money. And if they do that, it would be our belief that we would probably have roughly half the money, possibly even more, going to Africa. But this is a designation which shows that while Africa is a very poor region, it is the link between governance, not geography, here, but governance that matters.
So that if people actually do live up to this pledge, we would expect, given Africa's situation, that you would have something roughly 50 percent or more going to Africa. But it has to be tied to performance. The key is it has to be tied to performance. It also acknowledges that different countries may do this in different ways, Ron, and I think that's also very important. Because the United States is committed to the principle that any aid that is new assistance that goes out is going to be on the basis of performance.
Q We have the Germans and now the French saying that they want the Palestinians to elect their own leader, whereas you've indicated that you absolutely do not want to work with Arafat anymore. So did this come up in the meeting with the Europeans, and how did the President address it?
DR. RICE: Let's be very clear. The President said the Palestinians need free and fair elections. That, by definition, means the Palestinians will elect their own leaders. There are, however, consequences for the leaders that one elects. And the President is only saying that given the record of the current leadership, it is not going to be possible to make progress on peace with a leadership that is compromised by terror and that has steadfastly refused to deal with the terror in its midst.
So there is no conflict here. Of course, the Palestinian people are going to elect their own leaders. That's what free and fair elections are about. But if we want change in the Middle East -- and I think everybody wants change in the Middle East -- then there needs to be new leadership that is committed to fighting terror; new leadership that thoroughly and completely renounces terror; and new leadership that can lay a path for peace for the Palestinian people.
This is critical to the future of the Palestinian people, because there is not going to be peace if there continue to be the kind of terrorist incidents that we've had. And it's very hard to imagine that you can make an argument that this current leadership is a partner for peace, given the record over the last months since the collapse of the Camp David accords.
Q -- Europeans seem to have any problem with Bush's position on Arafat, specifically? There are no concerns --
DR. RICE: The leaders all understand that we cannot stay in the status quo in the Middle East. It is not good for the Israelis to continue having to defend themselves in this way, and it is not good for the Palestinian people to continue to live in squalor and occupation.
It is, in large part, because the leadership of the Palestinian people as it currently exists has not been willing to deal with terrorism, has not been willing to take an offered hand for peace, that we find ourselves in the circumstances that we are.
Now, new institutions and new practices are also extremely important to the future of the Palestinian people. They need an independent judiciary, they need a constitution that separates powers. They need a legislature that actually has some power, and they need security services that are unified and that are not trafficking themselves in terror. So there's a lot to be done here, and I think the President's been very clear that a change in the landscape there is going to make it possible to move forward and possible for the United States to support the creation of a Palestinian state.
One final question. Yes.
Q Is there a concern that this is causing Arafat's popularity to rise among the Palestinian people?
DR. RICE: Well, somebody needs to have faith in the Palestinian people. And it is remarkable to me, and I think remarkable to the President, that we have to keep relearning the lesson that if people are given choices, they very often make very good choices.
The Palestinian people are living in intolerable conditions. And, look, we have pressed the Israelis to do what they can about those intolerable conditions. For instance, we press frequently about freedom of movement, about opening closures, about allowing Palestinians economic livelihood. Those are all extremely important things that the Israelis need to do to make life better for the Palestinian people. But the people who can really make life better for the Palestinians are Palestinian leaders. And their leaders have not done that.
They rejected a possibility of peace and a state from an Israeli Prime Minister who was willing to go further than anybody ever thought. Very strenuous efforts on the part of the United States under the Clinton administration, and the current Palestinian leadership couldn't find its way to accept that. And so opportunity after opportunity after opportunity has been missed by this Palestinian leadership to help its own people.
If you add to that that it continues to support al Aqsa Brigade and Tanzim Fatah and all of the organizations that are trafficking in terror, it's very hard to come to a conclusion that you're going to get peace until you get change. And the President is one of the -- maybe one of the few people who really wants to place the emphasis on the Palestinian people having a choice, and to see if we can find a way forward here.
END 1:40 P.M. (Local)