Interview With European Print Journalists
The President. Let me give a couple of opening comments, and we'll do a couple rounds of questions.
First, I'm—you know, I said in my press conference yesterday, for a period of time, we have a tendency in Europe and in America to talk past each other. In other words, September the 11th for some was obviously an important moment, but it passed. For us, it changed our way of thinking. It changed our foreign policy. It caused me, as the President, and people in my administration to have an intense focus on securing our country. And I say "talk past" because when you have a different view about priority, it creates a—it's missed opportunity, is the best way to put it.
So my trip to Europe, with that in mind, is to seize the moment and invigorate a relationship that is a vital relationship for our own security as well as a vital relationship for long-term peace in the world. We compete at times, but we don't compete when it comes to values, and that's a very important part of my message, is that we share a belief in human rights and human dignity and rule of law and transparency of government and democracy and freedom. And those are vital values necessary to not only secure our own countries but necessary to do our duty, which is to work together to help people live in freedom. If freedom is good enough for us, why isn't it good enough for others?
So I'm looking forward to it. It's a full schedule, and I'm going to, obviously, start in Belgium and see the Belgium leaders as well as give a speech that I think will set the tone for the trip—and in the speech, by the way, talk about a variety of areas where we can work together, talk about the greater Middle East, Middle Eastern peace and Iraq and Iran, talk about the need for us to work together to feed the hungry and take care of the diseased. I'll talk about the environment. I'll talk about a variety of different areas where we can cooperate to make the world a better place.
And then, of course, NATO—in my view, NATO is a vital relationship. It's an essential relationship for peace and security. It's an important relationship for the United States and Canada, for this part of the world to work with European partners to come up with ways to secure the peace.
I'm looking forward to meeting with the EU and then off to Germany and then the Slovak Republic. And I'm excited about the trip, looking forward to it.
Andrei [Andrei K. Sitov, Rossiskaya Gazeta/ITAR-TASS], you want to— Philippe [Philippe Gelie, Le Figaro], however you want to do it. Who's the oldest person? Philippe, you start, and we'll go this way.
The President. Andrei, I'll give you a chance to collect your thoughts. I know you're nervous. [Laughter]
Q. I am. I don't hide it. [Laughter]
The President. No, you're not; you're never nervous. If you are nervous, don't let them know it, particularly the wire services behind you.
Q. I'll try.
Q. Well, since President Chirac comes almost first on the program, Mr. President, do you think nice words of reconciliation will be—what would it take to really overcome the bitterness and the mutual reproach of the last few years?
The President. Obviously, nice words are nice, but deeds are more important than words. I, personally, don't feel bitter. You can say "the bitter"—or whatever you phrase it—you used the phrase "bitter"——
Q. Bitterness and recrimination.
The President. Bitterness and recrimination. I don't feel bitter, personally. And so it's easy to have a conversation with somebody to overcome bitterness if you don't feel bitter. Secondly, I fully understand that the world kind of watches French-U.S. relationships and draws conclusions from that and says, "Well, if the United States and France don't get along," and therefore, there's great splits. I'm regretful about that because I don't view the United States as being split from Europe. I know we had a difference of opinion. And it was a big difference of opinion on Iraq. But now is the time for us to set aside that difference and to move forward in areas where we can work together. Interesting enough, during this period of time, we worked together in Haiti and in Afghanistan. And now we have a great opportunity to advance democracy in the greater Middle East, in Lebanon. This is an area of mutual concern. I can remember when I was in Paris, President Chirac brought up the idea of a Security Council resolution to say to the Syrians, "Get your troops out of Lebanon." And in 1559, that became a reality, a resolution sponsored by France and the United States. My point is, is that we can work together and will work together. So the deeds that I think the world will see is France and the United States making common cause for democracy and freedom. The words will be nice, and I'm now confident that the deeds will be easy for people to see and will, more importantly, make a significant contribution to peace and freedom. France is a great country, and a lot of people in our country, obviously, were concerned about the French decision about Iraq. They felt our security was threatened. Nevertheless, they still have great—there's great affection for the French culture, the French countryside, and the French people.
Alec [Alec Russell, Daily Telegraph].
Q. Mr. President, one of the striking moments of your trip is your visit to the European Commission. As you know, sir, for many in Europe, many in the EU who are keen to see the EU become something of a counterbalance to America and—powers. As the leader of the Nation that sets much store by its Constitution—unlike, I should add, my nation, which doesn't have a constitution——
The President. Thank you, Alec. [Laughter]
Q. ——I wonder what your view is of the proposed EU constitution?
The President. You know, look, we want the EU to be successful. The European Union is a significant partner in many things, particularly trade. It is a—I think it's a great opportunity for the United States and for the people of Europe—the people of the United States and the people of Europe to benefit from mutually beneficial trade relationships. And the trade is fairly balanced, if I recall. It's like a trillion a year, both sides. So therefore, the more that the EU is able to affect commerce and trade and the movement of money and goods and labor across borders to help it become an effective—a more effective commercial trading partner, the more it benefits America.
I remind people a lot that it took us a while to get our democracy going. An interesting book, for example, is—read the book on Alexander Hamilton by Chernow. I'll think you find it interesting. It goes to show how hard it was to get a federalist system in place that was balanced and fair.
I'm not drawing an exact parallel, obviously, between what's going on between European states and trying to come up with an overarching system that is fair and, at the same time, honor the integrity and sovereignty of the countries involved. But it is a hard task. And every time I meet with the European leaders, I ask them how it's going, because I'm fascinated by the political integration and is it possible. But I'm also wise enough not to comment about the European constitution since I don't have anything to do about it. It's kind of a long answer to say, "No, I'm not going to comment." [Laughter]
I've always been fascinated to see how the British culture and the French culture and the sovereignty of the nations, long-standing traditional sovereignty, can be integrated into a larger whole in a modern era. And progress is being made, and I'm hopeful it works, because I think it's—if you say, we are united by alliance, by values in our alliance, therefore one should not fear a strong partner. One should welcome a strong partner, because the values are long lasting and will endure.
Klaus [Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, Frankfurter Allgemein Zeitung].
Q. Mr. President, first, thank you very much for having us this morning.
The President. Thanks for coming.
Q. After a stretch in the German-America relationship some people called "poisoned," you are going to visit the city of Mainz. The city of Mainz was used by your father 16 years ago as a venue to promote Germany as a partner in leadership. This seems ages ago.
The President. Yes, it does. [Laughter]
Q. What do you hope to gain from this visit? What are your expectations in Germany? And how do you see this relationship? This has become somewhat complicated——
The President. Well, again, very much like our relations with the French. Much of the world views relations through the prism of the Iraq decision, overlooking areas of cooperation. You know, we spent— again, with France and, of course, Great Britain and Germany, we've spent a lot of time sharing some intelligence and some recent arrests by German authorities of Al Qaida operatives, for example. That tends to get overlooked. The French have got a great security network. The Brits are obviously very good about cooperating all together, in order to deal with the movement of terrorists and money and finance.
The PRTs, the German PRTs in Afghanistan are a significant contribution to the advancement of democracy there. And by the way, which wasn't an easy decision by some because there was—in some quarters, there was an attitude that, you know, Afghan couldn't be free. You know, "These are backward people." You know, "Democracy isn't meant for them. Deep in their souls there's not this great longing for freedom, and therefore, let's not be very hopeful about what happened."
And sure enough, millions showed up, but Germany was there ahead of time. I mean, Germany was—there was a great, sort of, faith that everybody wants to be free. And the reason I bring that up, that is an important understanding when it comes to taking on the big goals of establishing peace through the advancement of liberty.
Again, very much like the relations that are viewed to be, you know, not perfect— this will be an opportunity to send a message that I'm giving you now that there's much more that unites us than divides us. And we want good relations. Listen, German-American relations are long standing and very important, and like any relationship, there is ups and downs. My attitude is, is that now is the opportunity to tackle common issues.
Iran is a common issue. And it should be interesting to the world to see that the three nations that are directly involved with the Iranians—sending the Iranians the universal message that "we will not have a nuclear weapon," is France, Great Britain, and Germany. And the United States is very pleased to be a party with you, in encouraging you to carry that message. It shows we've got faith in our friends, and we share a common value and the common goal. And the goal is two things: One, state-sponsored terror must end if there's going to be peace; and secondly, to make sure that the Iranians do not have a nuclear weapon.
But there are areas I'm looking forward to talking about. I mentioned Lebanon and Syria, of course Iran, and the issue that tends to really focus Europe in that part of the world is the Arab-Israeli—I mean, the Palestinian-Israeli potential peace. And I must address that head-on. I've talked about it to Gerhard. He's very interested in the subject. Jacques Chirac, of course, is very interested. Tony Blair is very interested.
This subject always comes up when I talk to these leaders. They recognize the United States has a role to play, and I recognize Europe has a role to play. And the first significant role that Europe will be playing, beyond just helping—working to keep the process going, is the March 1st London conference, which is an opportunity for the Palestinians to hear from the world that we—that there will be help for you to build a democratic—the institutions necessary for a democratic state to emerge.
My own judgment is there will never be longstanding peace until the Palestinians become a democracy. And I look forward to working with the European leaders to see that be the case. And it's happening. Things are happening. In my State of the Union Address—and I'll remind this in my speech in Belgium, that peace is within reach, I said. It's within reach, and I believe that. I wouldn't have said it if it didn't believe it. And if you believe it's within reach, it will provide opportunity for all of us to focus on how to get there.
And Abbas has shown some courage. In order to achieve peace, you have to show courage, and he has. And Israel is working hard to keep the process going. The Palestinian elections, which I viewed as a vital moment for Abbas—nothing like being endorsed by the people to kind of reinvigorate the soul. The Israelis helped to have these—the Israelis helped ensure the elections were as open as possible, and that was a vital contribution.
Anyway, I'm kind of rambling here. But the point is, there's a lot we can discuss. We can discuss hunger. We can discuss poverty. We can discuss disease. We can discuss all kinds of issues, and the march of freedom as well. And there's a lot of common ground that we can work together on, and that's what this visit is intended to say to the world.
Matus [Matus Kostolny, SME].
President's Upcoming Visit to Slovakia/ Meeting With Russian President Putin
Q. Why did you choose Bratislava as the last stop of your trip? Why did you choose to meet President Putin there?
The President. Yes, good question. First, I told your Prime Minister that—I can't remember how it worked—we were in the Oval Office. Either he said, "When are you coming?" Or I said, "When are you going to invite me?" [Laughter] I can't remember exactly. However it plays best for him, put it in your newspaper that way. [Laughter]
We have had a—I suspect it is because he said, "When are you coming?" And I think it's very important to go to the Slovak Republic to say to the people, "Congratulations for doing the hard work of democracy and freedom." And I'm going to meet with freedom fighters, heroes of democracy. It's also important to—and so, one, I'm going because I like your leadership. Two, I'm going because I like your story. And three, I'm going because I want others to see what's possible, to see a country emerge and grow and become confident and strong. And President Putin is coming there because he said he wanted to meet me in Europe. And I said, "If the Government is willing to let us both meet there, it's the perfect place to meet."
And so I'm looking forward to it. I want to thank the Government and the people for not only hosting me and my wife but also hosting what will be an important meeting with the Government and eventually—and ultimately, meeting with Vladimir Putin there. I'm looking forward to it. I'm sorry it's not a little warmer, because the Prime Minister keeps continually urging me to run with him. He's a great runner. I'm injured, however. I'd ride my mountain bike with him.
Yes, sir. Andrei. Have you had your nerves calmed down by now?
Q. Thank you, sir. They've come back and left a few times.
The President. Okay, good.
Q. As you just said, you will be meeting President Putin for the 12th time now. You know him pretty well.
The President. How many?
Q. Twelve times. That was the Russian side calculation. [Laughter] I don't know if figures computes.
The President. Yes, it feels like 12, for him. That's right. [Laughter]
Q. Anyway, you know each other pretty well by now——
The President. Yes, I do.
Q. But at the same time, you are in the second terms, both of you. So for you, this meeting, this coming meeting, when you look at it, do you regard it as sort of a followup on what's been going on up until now? Or is it an opportunity to maybe make it a fresh start for the second term?
The President. I view it as a, on a personal level, a followup. We don't need a fresh start for a personal relationship. I'll take your word for it; we've met 12 times. And then it will be 13 in May, by the way. And during those previous—this will be the 12th meeting, so the 11 meetings prior to this, we've gotten to know each other. And I think that is an important part of developing relationships. It's a way to have a relationship—it's a way of putting a relationship in a position where you can be frank with somebody. If you disagree with him, you tell him you disagree with him.
And I think that's a vital part of my relationship with Vladimir. There is still some distrust between the countries but not at the leadership level. In other words, I think he feels there are some people in our Government that are anti-Soviet, that have an anti-Soviet bias, and therefore, hold it against Russia. And I think there are some in our Government who feels like that—that there's a—the information he gets is not as accurate about American views. And so therefore, it's very important to have a personal relationship to be able to help our Governments better understand each other.
Vladimir has made some decisions that I look forward to hearing, in a very private way—you know, why he made the decisions he made. One of the interesting things about leadership is that you get to make decisions. As a matter of fact, the most— people say, "What is your job description?" My job description is, make decisions. And I make a lot of them. And therefore, it's an interesting opportunity, Andrei, to talk to a fellow decisionmaker about why you make decisions, what is the rationale; "Tell me why you do this or that or the other." And I look forward to that aspect of it.
We've got a strategic framework in place that is set. I think it's—that is at all levels of Government, through the energy ministries and the proliferation ministries—and Hadley has been in charge of that, by the way. And so now that he's got a new position, perhaps it would be an opportunity for him to reinvigorate the strategic dialog. And so to a certain extent, there's a chance to kind of renew a commitment to this strategic dialog.
And I'm looking forward to it, looking forward to coming to St. Petersburg—or to Moscow, I guess it is, Moscow—in May, right?
The President. Sixtieth anniversary for the end of the Russian theater in World War II. That's going to be good.
One more round. Philippe, and then I've got to see the television people.
Q. Mr. President, you said you appreciate the efforts of Great Britain, Germany, France and trying to engage Iran. Why don't you join them in those cause?
The President. Well, first of all, we're joined in the process. We're on the IAEA board. We have made it clear that we agree with the objective to get rid of the weapons. The Iranians don't need—they don't need any excuses. They just need to do what the free world has asked them to do. And it's pretty clear: Give up your weapons program. And we look forward to working with our friends.
And I find this to be an excuse. You know, "We can't move because X, Y, and Z is not happening." They know what they need to do. They have been told point blank by very effective interlocutors, privately as well as public statements by our Government and your governments, "Get rid of your nuclear weapons."
And remember how this happened. This all started because there was a group not happy with the Iranian Government—of Iranian citizens—a group of Iranian citizens who weren't happy with the Government, who blew the whistle on enrichment and told the IAEA. And sure enough, upon investigation, they were enriching, and yet they didn't tell anybody. And so we've all got to ask why. Why would you want to secretly enrich uranium? And that's what started the IAEA investigations and the need for an additional protocol, et cetera, et cetera.
And so the Iranians, I read the other day where they said, "We can't go forward unless this, that, or the other—unless the United States is involved." They know what they need to do. That's why I appreciate the leadership of France, Great Britain, and Germany. They've been very clear about what Iran needs to do.
Q. Mr. President——
The President. Back to the constitution?
President's Second-Term Goals
Q. No, no, no, we'll leave that one aside. [Laughter]
In the wake of you reelection last November, one of the big questions that everyone in the rest of the world was asking was, "How will a second term of President George W. Bush be different from the first one, if at all?" And one of the comments that your new Secretary of State made recently caused a lot of attention when she said, "The time for diplomacy is now," and she also talked about the need for conversations. And I just wonder if you could say, sir, how you feel your second term—how you feel you may be different in your second term from your first term? And is it the case that the famous, dare I say it, sort of straight-talking Texan President is going to be less straight-talking now? [Laughter]
The President. You know, I told the American people that in a second term, I would work with friends and allies to spread freedom and peace. I believe that. I believe that every soul desires to be free. And by spreading freedom, the world is more peaceful. That's what the lesson of Europe has been. That's what the lesson of the Middle East can be.
And so we will work together. And I will be straightforward. I don't see how you can deal with people if you're not straightforward. I mean, if you're—I worry about a leader who doesn't know what he or she believes and, therefore, is willing to kind of have everybody guess. I don't believe that's good leadership. I believe it's vital to tell people, "Here's what I believe, and how can we work together?" I think clarity is an important part of being able to achieve big goals.
But I also fully recognize that the hard work done in the past 4 years will allow us to more likely advance freedom in a peaceful way. It's what we all want. But we can't do it alone. And that's going to be the message in Europe, that I fully recognize that.
And in most cases, we have worked closely together. And the other thing is— back to the question about multipolarity. I think that was Klaus's question, which I really didn't address head-on, which I think I need to do—which is, some have said, "Well, we must have a unified Europe to balance America." Why do you need— why—when, in fact, we share values and goals. We share the same goals, prosperity for our people, respect for human rights and dignity, and peace. And therefore, as opposed to counterbalancing each other, why don't we view this as a moment where we can move forward in a concerted fashion to achieve those goals. And so perhaps in a second term, I've got to do a better job of explaining the common goals and the fact that by working together, we are more likely to achieve them for our own— for our own security, for example.
I view this war on terror—and, again, I repeat to you, I fully understand there's going to be a different magnitude of concern, and I can understand why. But I hope there's a common understanding that we're facing an ideology that is real and hateful. There's vision, no matter how dark that vision may be, that must be confronted by people and countries who don't share that vision. Because if not, if we don't confront that ideology of hate, we'll leave behind a troubled world for children and grandchildren. And now is the time to take it on.
And so part of the dialog with our friends who share the same values is to come to a common understanding that this is a movement we face and, sure enough, it's going to strike. I mean, these people are— they hit, and they hit hard. But they do it for a reason, because they're trying to cause fear in the West, retreat in the Middle East. They'd like to have—safe haven is just a—is a mild form of their strategy. They like the parasitical relationship like they had with the Taliban in Afghanistan. They've become—the host has become so infected that they can have run of a country. There's aspirations of toppling governments in the Middle East.
In other words, these are big problems that, if not faced now, will become acute for generations to come. And I think this is an area of common ground and importance to work together.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Q. Mr. President, you are going to meet the NATO leaders on Thursday——
The President. Yes, Klaus. I think I know where you might be going. [Laughter]
Q. Chancellor Schroeder wrote the other day that NATO was no longer an adequate mechanism for consulting, coordinating the vision of his members. Do you——
The President. Is that what he said, "adequate"? I'm not—is that—make sure you get his words right.
Q. Adequate. It is right—it is "adequate."
The President. I disagree. I think NATO is vital. And I think it's a vital relationship and one that we'll work to keep strong. I look forward to talking to him about exactly what he meant by that. But NATO is a very important relationship, as far as the United States is concerned. And it's one that has worked in the past and will work in the future, just so long as there's that strong commitment to NATO.
I'm not sure what "adequate"—make sure you got the German translation right in English.
Q. Yes, the word was "adequate."
The President. Okay, Klaus, I'll take your word for it. My roommate in college, by the way, was named Dieter.
Q. Does the transatlantic relationship may, indeed, need some sort of institutional overhaul?
The President. I'm not sure what that means, by that. I mean, it depends on what institutions you're talking about. If you're talking about a NATO becoming more cost effective, the ability to match threat to capability, yes, reform within NATO. And that is what the NATO leadership is now in the process of doing.
But "institutional overhaul," that's kind of a loaded word, Klaus. And I'm not castigating; I'm just trying to—I mean, it is— I don't know exactly what that means, "institutional overhaul." Does it mean diminishing the effect of, replacing with? Again, I think NATO is a vital, necessary, important part of keeping the peace.
Q. I would have one more Slovak question.
The President. That's what you're supposed to do.
The President. Okay.
Q. Your Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, studied the history of Czechoslovakia. What did she tell you about Slovakia? What do you know from her about our country?
The President. You know, she just left the Oval Office, and she was saying to me that—bring some warm clothes. [Laughter] She also told me that I am going to be very impressed by the spirit of the people, the sense of enthusiasm for living in a free society, and will understand and get a clearer vision about how difficult it is to go from a nondemocratic to democracy. It's hard work, really hard work. We tend to take it for granted. The Slovak Republic and Russia are finding it to be hard work. And the Iraqis will find it to be hard work.
But if you look back at our own history— and this is really important to remember; I think I may say this in Belgium as well— our own march to democracy was a little rough at times. Our respective revolutions, Philippe, were a little checkered. No, but the French Revolution, the American Revolution—with all due respect, Alec, sorry to bring up the subject—[laughter]—but these were difficult adjustments. And Condi reminded me that in the Slovak Republic we'll be witnessing—I will be in a country that is—where the world is witnessing the emergence of a true democracy.
And it's an important lesson for people, important lesson for people. Lebanon must have free and fair elections. That's a place where the French and I—Jacques and I tend to—will want to talk about. But elections are one thing, but allowing for a society to develop with minority rights and respect for culture and respect for differences of opinion is hard to do. And yet the Slovak Republic is doing that.
All right, final question. Andrei.
Q. Thank you, sir——
The President. I'm nervous about what your question is going to be.
Q. I must admit that some of your Russian visitors today were complaining about the chilly wind here in Washington. [Laughter]
The President. I'm right with them, man, believe me. I'm a warm-weather guy. [Laughter]
Q. I wanted to ask you, sir, about your agenda for a second term and your relations with Russia. How well are we doing on the checklist that you and President Putin agreed on at Camp David? Specifically, you mentioned the energy dialog. It seemed to be, like, stopped for the past year. What can we do to reinvigorate that?
The President. Well, one of the things that Vladimir and I can do is talk about our commitment to reinvigorate it. I think, actually, the conversations seem to be going pretty good. Of course, the elections tend to disrupt things. People were wondering whether or not I was even going to be there. I know you knew I was going to be there, Andrei, but others might have not been so confident. And the campaign can disrupt dialog. And so now is a chance to—back to your initial question—there is kind of a reinvigoration that will take place because Vladimir knows I'll be there for 4 years, as will he.
But one of the things we'll discuss is the checklist, the strategic dialog, the integration of the different components. Look, I mean, energy is—the dialog is, "You got a lot of it, and we don't have much." [Laughter] And there's ways to—but Russia has to make her mind up as to whether or not she wants to continue to attract outside capital, which is really what the energy dialog is about.
The proliferation dialog is important, and I look forward to discussing that with Vladimir and continuing to make progress to make sure that there's a safe storage of nuclear materials and clear understanding of how we can work together.
Trade is a very important dialog. I'm going to say in my speech in Belgium, I want to work with Russia so that she becomes admitted to the WTO. I know that's on Vladimir's mind, and it's something I think is an objective we all ought to work to achieve. There are certain criterion that have to be met, and Zoellick, who is now the Deputy Secretary of State or will be soon—confirmed but not sworn in—actually spent some time working with one of his counterparts there to figure out the way forward on the WTO.
So there's a variety of kind of the different points that I look forward to talking to Vladimir about. Iran is going to be a subject I'll spend time with him on. And he's got influence in that area, on that subject, and he agrees with our friends in Europe that the Iranians should not have a nuclear weapon. And that's the common goal. And we've just got to keep sight of that goal and keep them focused on that goal—keep the Iranians focused on the goal. And that's a very important part about achieving success and not let them try to divide the United States or Europe or Russia and Europe or Russia and the United States on the subject. There needs to be— and I said this the other day—I said, "We've got to go speak with a common voice." And that's important for the ayatollahs to hear, a common voice, in order to achieve the objective we all want.
I'm looking forward to it.
The President. Yes. Andrei, is this a followup?
Q. Yes, a followup, a very brief followup.
You mentioned May and Moscow——
The President. Yes.
World War II Memorial
Q. Only a year ago, you dedicated the national memorial here in Washington to veterans. Does it mean they had not been recognized before? Your father was a veteran in that war.
The President. Oh, no, no, they've all been recognized. I mean, listen, Americans love—there have been books; the "Greatest Generation," they were called. And this is a generation of Americans that are completely revered and loved. And I hope there's the same sense of veneration and love in Russia toward guys my dad's age.
Q. There sure is.
The President. But no, you should not— that's an interesting point you make. Just because it took a while to get the site, the money raised, the architecture done, does not—should not reflect the great appreciation that our Nation has for those who fought in World War II.
Okay, guys, thank you.
NOTE: The interview began at 9:45 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, and the transcript was embargoed for release by the Office of the Press Secretary until 11:59 p.m. In his remarks, the President referred to President Jacques Chirac of France; Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany; Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom; President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) of the Palestinian Authority; and Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda of Slovakia. He also referred to Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), a component of NATO's International Security Assistance Force operating in Afghanistan. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this interview.
George W. Bush, Interview With European Print Journalists Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/216660