For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 6, 2003
Remarks by President Bush and President Kibaki of Kenya in Press Availability
The East Room
In Focus: State Visit
11:38 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: It's my honor to welcome President Kibaki to the
White House. Thank you, sir, for coming.
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Today we affirm the growing strategic relationship
between the United States and the African continent. And we continue
the long-standing partnership between the United States and Kenya.
President Kibaki's election last December showed Kenyans and
Africans and people throughout the world the power of the ballot and
the benefits of peaceful, democratic change. The President won a
mandate for reform, and he is moving ahead with an ambitious agenda:
redrafting Kenya's constitution, liberalizing its economy, fighting
corruption and investing in education and health care. With these
steps, Kenya will attract investment, strengthen its role in the world
and improve the lives of its people. Success will take time, and
progress may sometimes seem uneven. Yet, the benefits of democracy and
freedom and investment in people are certain and they are lasting.
Today, the President and I discussed our alliance in the war on
terror. In Nairobi and Mombasa and beyond, terrorists have made Kenya
a battleground. The President affirmed the fact that the Kenyan people
refuse to live in fear. Kenyan security forces have disrupted terror
operations and have arrested suspected terrorists. Earlier this year,
I announced $100 million counterterrorism initiative to provide East
Africa with training, equipment and assistance to strengthen the
security of those nations in East Africa. Kenya is our key partner in
this initiative, and its government clearly has the will to fight
terror -- and my government will continue to give them the help they
need to do so.
The President and I also discussed efforts to achieve peace in
Sudan, an effort in which Kenya plays the leading role. Two able
envoys, General Sumbeiywo and Senator John Danforth, have helped bring
Africa's longest running civil war to -- very close to a peaceful end.
America will stay engaged in this effort.
I appreciate you efforts, Mr. President. Yet, only the north and
south can arrive at a just and comprehensive peace, and I urge them to
do so quickly.
In Somalia, we will continue to work with Kenya to bring unity and
reconciliation to a badly divided land. The establishment of an
effective representative government in Somalia will help stabilize the
region and dispel the hopelessness that feeds terror.
President Kibaki and I share a deep commitment to waging a broad,
effective effort against the AIDS virus, which afflicts nearly 30
million people on the African continent. In Kenya alone, some one
million children have been orphaned due to AIDS. I fully support the
President's declaration of total war -- his words -- on this disease,
and I'm proud to stand with him. The United States is Kenya's largest
bilateral donor in the fight against AIDS. Our support will grow under
my emergency plan for AIDS relief, which is a firm commitment to spend
$15 billion over five years to turning the tide against this disease.
Mr. President, America also stands with you in your work of
modernizing the Kenyan economy, rewarding the enterprise of your
people. Trade and growth are the only sure ways to lift people and
nations out of poverty. I'm committed to keeping America's markets
open to African goods, and to increasing commercial ties with African
nations. Kenya is one of America's most important economic partners in
Africa. American investment in Kenya totals more than $285 million,
and trade between our two countries tops $400 million per year.
These numbers have grown in recent years under the African Growth
and Opportunity Act, AGOA. And they have the potential to grow even
more as the reforms in your country take hold, Mr. President. Kenya
and the United States are old friends working together to face new
challenges. Our relationship is strong and it's growing stronger and
I'm grateful for the leadership and vision of the President.
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Thank you.
It is my pleasure to be here with you, Mr. President. This morning
we had a fruitful meeting with my good friend, President Bush. Our
discussions centered on bilateral, regional and international issues of
mutual interest to our two nations. I was encouraged by a keen
interest and concern that President Bush has shown on issues affecting
Kenya and Africa -- in particular, the establishment of a Millennium
Challenge Account and the $15 billion U.S. HIV-AIDS program bears
testimony to this particular commitment.
We reaffirmed our mutual desire to further deepen our cooperation
for the benefit of our two countries. President Bush welcomed the
efforts made by Kenya in consolidating democracy, particularly after
the successful general elections of December, the year 2002. We share
the common desire to promote and entrench democracy in Africa, and the
need to support Kenya as a model of democracy.
I believe -- I briefed President Bush on the priorities of my
government, that includes economic revival, education, health and
security. I am pleased by the willingness of the Bush administration
to support our efforts to promote and sustain our economic recovery.
President Bush shared my concern over the devastating effects of the
HIV/AIDS pandemic, and other infectious diseases, especially in
Africa. I briefed the President on the vigorous campaign my government
is conducting against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. I am confident that these
efforts are benefiting substantially from the support of the U.S.
We discussed at length the issue of terrorism. Kenya, like United
States, has in the past suffered at the hands of terrorism. The
attacks have strengthened our resolve to intensify and enhance our
cooperation with the United States and the international community in
the fight against terrorism.
I have requested the U.S. government to support Kenya, to
strengthen its security as an essential element in the fight against
terrorism. This assistance will also enhance Kenya's role as a
peacemaker in the Horn of Africa. President Bush expressed his
appreciation for the leadership that Kenya has taken in the peace
process in Sudan and IGAD. We note with such satisfaction the historic
signing of an agreement on the 25th of September, 2003 in Naivasha,
Kenya to address the transitional security arrangements for the parties
to the conflict.
On Somalia, I emphasized that in order to maintain the democratic
gains and to sustain the war against terrorism, it is essential that
Somalia stabilizes. In this respect, it is important that the U.S. to
-- for the U.S. to increase its involvement in the search for peace in
Somalia. It is pertinent that all parties involved in the peace
process remain engaged. I requested the U.S. government to assist in
this regard. And I thank you very much, indeed.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, Mr. President.
The President has kindly agreed to take a couple of questions, and
so have I. We'll start with the American side and then alternate back
and forth. First, Associated Press, Terry Hunt, Mr. President.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, do you think that
Israel's air strike in Syria was justified? And do you think that you
can work with the Palestinian Prime Minister, who says he would not use
force under any circumstances against Palestinian militants?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Terry, I talked to Prime Minister Sharon
yesterday. I expressed our nation's condolences at the needless murder
of innocent people, by the latest suicider. That murder came on a
weekend of a high holy holiday.
Secondly, I made it very clear to the Prime Minister, like I have
consistently done, that Israel has got a right to defend herself, that
Israel must not feel constrained, in terms of defending the homeland.
However, I said that it's very important that any action Israel take
should avoid escalation and creating higher tensions.
The speech I gave June 24, 2002, should explain to the world and to
the American people the policy of this government. We have not
changed. Parties need to assume responsibility for their actions. In
order for there to be a Palestinian state, the Palestinian Authority
must fight terror and must use whatever means is necessary to fight
terror. In order for this road map, which is a way to get to a
peaceful settlement, people have got to assume responsibility. All
parties must assume responsibility. The Palestinian Authority must
defeat the terrorists who are trying to stop the establishment of a
Palestinian state, a peaceful state, in order for there to be peace.
Mr. President, want to call on somebody?
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Well, we hardly have anything to add to that
particular statement, because it's fully adequate.
PRESIDENT BUSH: You're welcome to call on somebody from your press
corps, Mr. President. April, you're not in his press corps. You're
trying to play like you're in his press corps. (Laughter.)
Q They put me over here.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I know, but this is subversion and this isn't --
Q I'd like to ask the President of Kenya a question. My name
is (Inaudible), of Voice of America. Mr. President, there has been
very goodwill for you and Kenyans after you took over the government.
But I'm wondering why you have repeatedly asserted that you're in
charge of Kenya. Is there any doubt that you are the President of
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: No, there is no doubt at all. There is no -- no
one has any doubt, certainly not in Kenya. Look by the way they
voted. And look by the way they support the present government. So I
don't see anybody who has any doubt -- well, anybody who has any doubt,
he can ask us. (Laughter.) You know, I mean -- you know, truly.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Steve Holland.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. What is the purpose of the Iraq
stabilization group? And is this an acknowledgment that the effort to
stabilize Iraq is flagging? Does it diminish the authority of
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes. You know, it's common for the National
Security Council to coordinate efforts, interagency efforts. And Condi
Rice, the National Security Advisor, is doing just that. And this
group formed within the National Security Council is aimed at the
coordination of interagency efforts, as well as providing a support
group to the Department of Defense and Jerry Bremer. That's the
And, listen, we're making good progress in Iraq. Sometimes it's
hard to tell it when you listen to the filter. We're making good
progress. I had a -- Bernie Kerik came in the other day and he
described to me what it was like to set up a police force in Baghdad
right after our successful efforts there. I was really impressed. I
was impressed by his work; I was impressed by the spirit of the Iraqi
citizens desirous to start taking care of business on their own.
And the truth of the matter is in order for us to succeed in Iraq
-- and that is to provide the security necessary for a peaceful country
to evolve -- the Iraqis must take responsibility, and they are. The
situation is improving on a daily basis inside Iraq. People are freer,
the security situation is getting better. The infrastructure is
getting better -- the schools are opening, the hospitals are being
modernized. And I really appreciate the effort of the Americans who
are there and our coalition partners who are there who are working
under very difficult circumstances.
Condi's job and Condi's team is going to make sure that the efforts
continue to be coordinated so that we continue to make progress.
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Well, we first of all want to congratulate
America for the effort they are making. You know, it is important for
all of us to think of the present and the future, because what has
passed, has passed. And I think we can gain plenty by focusing on the
PRESIDENT BUSH: April, are you going to try again to look like
you're in the -- be careful. (Laughter.) Mr. President, call on who
you -- (laughter.)
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Yes, yes.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I exposed you. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: That's right. (Laughter.)
Q My name is Martin Bugor (phonetic), for the East African
Standard, and I have a question for each President.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes.
Q Your Excellency, a lot of people see your trip to the
United States as yet another begging trip. How different is this trip
for those people who are seeing it as another line up for aid?
And Mr. President, a lot of times people have talked about the debt
that saddles a lot of African countries. You can give a lot of aid,
but it's likely to do nothing if the country is sending all the money
out. Are you looking to use your influence at the G8 and the Bretton
Woods Institution to probably try and ease that, perhaps even forgive
the debt for progressive countries?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you.
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Well, first for us, I don't think that we are,
in any way, one of those countries which gained nothing, or had
nothing. But we definitely do gain by talking to friends like America
and seeking help. Now, if you are seeking for help, you cannot
adequately say publicly whether it is adequate or whether it is not.
So, really, if you are asking for help, you really don't ask, you
don't say how much. And so, really the question isn't, should not be
asked of me.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Let me tell you, in many ways, we're the country
asking for help. We asked the President in Kenya for help in fighting
terror, and the response has been strong. And we appreciate that
response. We support HIPC. We'll continue to support HIPC. We also
support trade with Kenya.
And the President, in talking about what he would like to see in
our relationship, brought up international financial institutions, what
can be done with the World Bank and/or the International Monetary
Fund. And the President understands, like I understand, that it's the
choice of the Kenyans to make. And that's why his anti-corruption
policy is so important, because as that policy takes root, as he deals
with judges, and/or whoever, government officials that do not honor the
integrity of the system, the international financial institutions will
take notice and be more likely to become involved with Kenya.
So we talked about a lot of things -- debt, IMF, trade -- all
aimed at lifting lives and helping Kenya realize her potential. I've
long believed that African nations are plenty capable of making the
right decisions and managing their own affairs. Our foreign policy
recognizes that, and we will work with governments, in particular, that
have developed the habits necessary for strong democracies and market
economies to grow. This is such a leader. So our relationship is a
complementary relationship, and it is important that it be strong like
it is today.
April, you're really beginning to bother the President.
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: No, no. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Okay, I am anxious to hear what you've got to
say. Go ahead. Let her rip.
Q Thank you so much.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, April.
Q Mr. President, on another issue, the CIA leak-gate. What
is your confidence level in the results of the DOJ investigation about
any of your staffers not being found guilty or being found guilty? And
what do you say to critics of the administration who say that this
administration retaliates against naysayers?
PRESIDENT BUSH: First of all, I'm glad you brought that question
up. This is a very serious matter, and our administration takes it
seriously. As members of the press corps here know, I have, at times,
complained about leaks of security information, whether the leaks be in
the legislative branch or in the executive branch. And I take those
leaks very seriously.
And, therefore, we will cooperate fully with the Justice
Department. I've got all the confidence in the world the Justice
Department will do a good, thorough job. And that's exactly what I
want them to do, is a good, thorough job. I'd like to know who leaked,
and if anybody has got any information inside our government or outside
our government who leaked, you ought to take it to the Justice
Department so we can find out the leaker.
I have told my staff, I want full cooperation with the Justice
Department. And when they ask for information, we expect the
information to be delivered on a timely basis. I expect it to be
delivered on a timely basis. I want there to be full participation,
because, April, I am most interested in finding out the truth.
And, you know, there's a lot of leaking in Washington, D.C. It's a
town famous for it. And if this helps stop leaks of -- this
investigation in finding the truth, it will not only hold someone to
account who should not have leaked -- and this is a serious charge, by
the way. We're talking about a criminal action, but also hopefully
will help set a clear signal we expect other leaks to stop, as well.
And so I look forward to finding the truth.
Q What about retaliation? People are saying that it's
PRESIDENT BUSH: I don't know who leaked the information, for
starters. So it's hard for me to answer that question until I find out
the truth. You hear all kinds of rumors. And the best way to clarify
the issue is for full participation with the Justice Department.
These are professionals who are professional prosecutors who are
leading this investigation, and we look forward to -- look, I want to
know. I want to know, and the best way to do this is for there to be a
good, thorough investigation, which, apparently, is going to happen
soon. And all I can tell you is inside the White House, we've said,
gather all the information that's requested and get it ready to be
analyzed by the Justice Department.
Listen, thank you all very much. Mr. President, I'm glad you're
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Very good.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Appreciate it.
PRESIDENT KIBAKI: Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, sir.
END 12:01 P.M. EDT