For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 23, 2005
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT BUSH
AND GERMAN CHANCELLOR SCHRDER
IN PRESS AVAILABILITY
12:24 P.M. (Local)
CHANCELLOR SCHRDER: (As translated.) Thank you very much, indeed,
ladies and gentlemen. I'm very pleased, indeed, about this opportunity
of welcoming President Bush and his wife, Laura, here in Germany. I
think Mainz is an excellent venue for this meeting.
We had a very, very intense discussion and we basically covered
each and every subject that is a high-ranking one on the international
political agenda today.
Now, before I go into any kind of detail, let me being by sharing
with you that we find it very important, sir, that you take note of one
aspect that is important for both of us. We also talked about climate
problems that we have worldwide, and this is an area where we also need
a solution. You know we have different, or used to have different
opinions about how to go about these things. The Kyoto Protocol was
not appreciated by everybody, and that is something that has continued
to exist. But I would like to emphasize that, despite that, we would
like to see practical cooperation with the reduction of problems in
this area. And we think that there could be room for maneuver,
particularly in the field of technology, where the United States of
America and Germany both have tremendous know-how, and we would like to
deepen cooperation in this field, irrespective of the question of
whether Kyoto is the right tool to be going about things, or not. And
that is something that we have first said, and this is a
Now, over and above that, we obviously talked about all of the
international problems on the agenda. Some of those problems have
already been addressed yesterday in Brussels. I have to say this is
good and this is right, and I think it is important for the development
of peace in the world that President Bush's administration and he,
himself, personally, have committed themselves to the situation of the
Middle East peace process.
I think there is hope today -- and even more than hope, possibly --
that we will come to a solution here, and a solution can only ever be
mentioned and conceived if there is a strong involvement of the United
States of America.
Now, obviously, the other members of the Quartet can be helpful,
they want to be helpful; there can be no doubt, the same goes for us,
too. But I am very pleased that there is now this very strong
commitment of the U.S. Americans to this specific problem.
Now, we obviously talked about Iraq, as well, and here, especially,
we talked about what the perspective can be for the future. Now,
nobody wants to conceal that we had different opinions about these
things in the past, but that is the past, as I just said. And now our
joint interest is that we come to a stable, democratic Iraq. Germany
was certainly involved when it was about waiving debt for Iraq. You
know that at the time we addressed this subject in New York. We have
committed ourselves, and it was a success. We would like to see a
situation where Iraq can use its financial scope for reconstruction and
doesn't have to use the money on debt servicing. And what the Paris
Club achieved was, I think, a great achievement.
Now, secondly, we are ready, and when people like us say we're
ready, we are ready and we do do something. We're actually doing
already; we are training policemen and military security staff for Iraq
in the United Arab Emirates, and there I think we can modestly say it
is a rather successful project, indeed. And all of that is, obviously,
trying to arrange for more homegrown Iraqi security. And we are very
much interested in not just continuing with these things, but to also
expand on those activities.
Now, what we do not want to do in Iraq has been accepted and we
then said we'd be very happy to make expertise available when it is
about the rebuilding of democratic institutions, be it questions of
drafting a constitution, but also the establishment of ministries, for
example. Germany has a host of experience with these things, and if
the new Iraqi government wishes us to do so, we'd be most pleased to
Now, the discussion about Iran took quite a bit of space during our
meeting, and let me say openly and frankly that regarding the targets
that we are trying to achieve, we are fully congruous; that is to say
we absolutely agree that Iran must say, no, to any kind of nuclear
weapon, full stop. That is the joint target that Europeans uphold as
much as the U.S. Americans, and we are very much of the opinion that
this is the target that needs to be achieved through a diplomatic
negotiating path, if at all possible. But this means there needs to be
movement on both sides.
Now, we very much assume that this opportunity is there, and I very
much am pleased to see that the activities undertaken by the three
European powers -- Great Britain, France, and Germany -- find the
support of the U.S. American President. And we very much agree that
the targets we're going for is very much agreed: Iran must not have
any nuclear weapons. They must waive any right to the production
thereof, and they must renounce the right to even close the fuel
Now, what has now been -- may have been done in a temporary
agreement has to be nailed down fully and completely and -- well,
Now, those were basically the topics that we addressed. And over
and above that, we obviously talked about the situation in Europe, the
situation in Russia and in other places of our beloved world. All in
all, from my perspective, a tremendously successful meeting and a very
friendly conversation I'm very pleased about. Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you very much for your kind hospitality.
And Laura and I are looking forward to eating lunch with you and
Doris. And we're so honored that you would greet us here in your
I am -- it's obvious that my -- it's -- an obvious decision was to
come here on my first trip since my inauguration. After all, Europe is
America's closest ally. I said yesterday, and I want to say it again:
The European project is important to our country. We want it to
succeed. And in order for Europe to be a strong, viable partner,
Germany must be strong and viable, as well. And in order for us to
have good relations with Europe, we must have good relations with
Germany. And that is why this trip is an important trip for my country
and for me.
And so I want to thank you very much for the chance to be here, a
chance to reconfirm the importance of the transatlantic alliance, and a
chance to talk about important issues. Gerhard went over the issues; I
will go over them briefly, as well.
First, I do want to say how much I appreciated Minister Schily
coming to Washington, D.C. I had a good visit with him, as did other
people in my administration. I appreciate so very much the strong
cooperation between Germany and the United States when it comes to
sharing intelligence and to working together to find and arrest and
bring to justice people who would do harm to our respective peoples, or
anybody else in the world. And I want to thank you for that good
Secondly, I appreciated your kind words about Iraq, and the need
for us to put past differences behind us and focus on the people of
that country. After all, over 8 million people said, we want to be
free. And in the face of incredible threat to their life and safety,
they voted. And as democracies, we have now decided to help them. And
I want to thank you for your contributions. I fully understand the
limitations of German contribution. However the contributions that
Gerhard Schrder talked about are not limited, they're important.
Whether it be ministry building or training of law enforcement
officers, those are vital contributions, and I appreciate -- including
debt relief, by the way, is a part of the vital contribution.
We spent a lot of time talking about the Middle East. And I
assured the Chancellor that this is a primary objective of my
administration, is to help to move the process along. Peace will be
achieved because the Israelis and the Palestinians want peace. And our
job is to help them achieve that. And I look forward to Condoleezza
Rice going to the meeting in London shortly to help the Palestinians
develop the institutions necessary for a free society to emerge.
I said in my State of the Union that I believe a settlement on this
important issue is within reach. I said that because I believe it.
And because it is within reach, it is vital for all of us to do -- to
work together to help both parties achieve the two-state solution --
two states living side-by-side in peace.
We spent time talking about Iran, and I want to thank Gerhard for
taking the lead, along with Britain and France, on this important
issue. It's vital that the Iranians hear the world speak with one
voice that they shouldn't have a nuclear weapon. You know, yesterday I
was asked about the U.S. position, and I said all options are on the
table. That's part of our position. But I also reminded people that
diplomacy is just beginning. Iran is not Iraq. We've just started the
diplomatic efforts, and I want to thank our friends for taking the lead
and I will -- we will work with them to convince the mullahs that they
need to give up their nuclear ambitions.
I -- we also talked about the environment. And obviously we've had
differences on Kyoto. Those differences were first made known in 2001
on my trip to Europe. I assured the Chancellor that the United States
cares about the quality of our air, obviously; that we spend $5.8
billion on technology on an annual basis to help -- to help develop
ways to be able to maintain our standards of living, and at the same
time, be good stewards of the environment. And we have a great
opportunity to work with a great nation like Germany to share research,
share intelligence, and not only to make sure that kind of -- I mean,
share technologies and to make sure that kind of technology is
available for not only our own country, but for developing countries
like China and India.
And so we have a great opportunity, I think, Gerhard, and I
appreciate you for seeing that opportunity, as well. This is an
important trip for me, and it's -- and one of the most important stops
of all is right here in Germany. And I appreciate your -- appreciate
Q Mr. President, when your father, 15 years ago, visited Mainz,
at the time, he talked about partnership and leadership. Would you
give Germany the same role today, a partner to the United States of
PRESIDENT BUSH: He fondly remembers the trip. Thank you for
remembering that he came, and I will -- I will tell him that the first
question I got on German soil had his name in it. (Laughter.)
The United States relies upon our partnerships in the world to
spread liberty and peace, to do our duties as a wealthy nation to help
the poor and to work on matters such as HIV/AIDS. And we need
partners. And Germany is a partner. We share the same goals. We
share the goal of a free and peaceful world. We share the goal of
working together to convince the Ayatollahs in Iran to give up their
nuclear weapons ambitions. We care deeply about the fact that there's
disease on the continent of Africa, a pandemic in the form of
And so I would call Germany a partner in peace and a partner in
freedom and a partner of doing our duty.
Keil. Richard Keil. (Laughter.) Here's your mike. He's a very
tall person. (Laughter.)
CHANCELLOR SCHRDER: I see, I see.
Q President Bush, do you feel that you have gained any momentum
here on this trip this week for possible new sanctions against Syria?
And, Chairman Schrder, do you think that considering new sanctions
on Syria is something that you could approve of at this time?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Dick, the -- I had a good talk with President
Chirac on this subject. France and the United States co-sponsored a
resolution in the United Nations that made it very clear that Syria
needs to withdraw her troops from Lebanon.
I will state it again: The position of our government is Syria
must withdraw not only the troops, but its secret services from
Lebanon. And Syria, in so doing, will indicate the other point that
the President of France and I wanted to make, and that is, those
elections that are coming up need to be free, without any Syrian
And so the charge is out there for the Syrian government to hear
loud and clear. And we will see how they respond before there's any
further discussions about going back to the United Nations.
CHANCELLOR SCHRDER: I very much share this opinion. And let me
also add that, jointly, we are of the opinion that there must be an
international investigation on the death of former Prime Minister
Hariri in Lebanon. That is certainly one other aspect that where we
feel we stand united. And the French President agrees on this, as
Q Chancellor, I wanted to put a question to you. You tabled an
initiative to NATO reform in Munich. It was tabled in your absence,
and you, then, went and explained thereafter. Could you tell me where
you agree when it comes to your ideas for NATO? But also, can you tell
me where the differences are?
CHANCELLOR SCHRDER: We have agreed that we are not going to
constantly emphasize where we're not agreeing, but we want to focus on
where we do agree. And that is why I can share with you that,
regarding the question as to where to go for NATO, we are very much of
the opinion, and I've understood the President in such a way that we're
jointly of the opinion, that it is necessary to take NATO and the
European Union, both of them, and to make them into a forum for
important international transatlantic positions, where these are
openly, frankly, candidly discussed on a high level. That was very
much what I wanted to say at the time, and that is still what I think
to this day.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I interpreted the comments to mean he wants NATO
to be relevant, a place where there is meaningful strategic dialogue.
And that was very clear to everybody sitting around the table. And the
meeting ended with Jaap saying to everybody that he's going to come
back with a plan to make sure that the strategic dialogue in NATO is
relevant. And so I appreciated the spirit in which those comments were
Fletcher, Washington Post.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Chancellor Schrder has said that
Iran will abandon its nuclear ambitions only after knowing that its
economic and legitimate security concerns have been addressed. First
of all, do you agree with that assessment, and can that happen without
the United States joining the talks with Iran?
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. Look, first, let me just make
this very clear -- the party that has caused these discussions to occur
in the first place are the Iranians. And the reason we're having these
discussions is because they were caught enriching uranium after they
had signed a treaty saying they wouldn't enrich uranium. So there is a
-- these discussions are occurring because they have breached a
contract with the international community. They're the party that
needs to be held to account, not any of us.
And secondly, what we discussed with our German friends and French
and British friends, as well, is a series of negotiating tactics -- how
to make sure the process moves forward without yielding to our
I might add, I believe there's another demand that makes sense, as
well, and that is that the Iranian government listen to the hopes and
aspirations of the Iranian people. That's what the German system does;
that's what the American system does. We believe that the voice of the
people ought to be determining policy, because we believe in democracy
and freedom. And so, as we go down the road, we look forward to
discussing ways to make -- to talk with the three interlocutors,
without yielding at all on the universal demand that they must give up
their weapons in a transparent way. And I'm hopeful we can achieve our
objective. And we discussed tactics, some of which have bubbled up,
obviously, into the public domain.
And we will continue to talk tactics, to make sure that we achieve
the objective: Iran must not have a nuclear weapon. For the sake of
security and peace, they must not have a nuclear weapon. And that is a
goal shared by Germany, France, Great Britain and the United States.
And working together, we can get this accomplished.
Thank you all.
END 12:40 P.M. (Local)