George Bush photo

Joint News Conference of President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in Helsinki, Finland

September 09, 1990

President Bush. I've been advised that I'm to take the first question. And if so, I would identify Helen Thomas, of the UP [United Press International].

Persian Gulf Crisis

Q. I'd like to ask both Presidents whether we are going to have a war in the Persian Gulf. And I'd like to follow up.

President Bush. Well, with your permission, Mr. President, I hope that we can achieve a peaceful solution, and the way to do that is to have Iraq comply with the United Nations resolutions. And I think the part of our joint statement, two short lines, said it most clearly: Nothing short of the complete implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions is acceptable. As soon as Saddam Hussein realizes that, then there certainly will be a peaceful resolution to this question.

Q. How about President Gorbachev -- what do you think?

President Gorbachev. In replying to your question I should like to say that the whole of our 7 hours of meeting today were devoted to the quest for a political resolution of that conflict. And I believe that we're on the right road.

Q. Mr. President, if I may follow up with you, President Bush. You are indicating that hostilities could break out if this is not resolved peacefully.

President Bush. The question is what?

Q. I said, you are indicating that there could be hostilities.

President Bush. No, the United States is determined to see these resolutions enforced, and I'd like to feel that they will be enforced and that that will result in a peaceful resolution.

Middle East Peace Efforts

Q. Do you think, Mr. President, that the conflict of the Gulf gives the opportunity to solve the Palestinian problem through an international peace conference for the Middle East? And my second question is, was this problem discussed today with Mr. Gorbachev?

President Bush. Well, let me say that I see the implementation of the United Nations resolutions separate and apart for the need to solve the other question. That question has been on the agenda of many countries for many years, and it is very important that that question be resolved. The Secretary of State said the other day, and I strongly support that, that under certain circumstances the consideration of a conference of that nature would be acceptable. Indeed, it's been a part of our policy from time to time. But the thing that I feel strongly about is that these issues are not linked. And any effort to link them is an effort to dilute the resolutions of the United Nations.

Persian Gulf Crisis

Q. This question to President Bush from Soviet radio and television. How long will the United States troops be present in the Persian Gulf area?

President Bush. They will be present in the area until we are satisfied that the security needs of the area have been met and that these resolutions have been complied with. And the sooner they are out of there, as far as I'm concerned, the better. I made very clear to President Gorbachev, as I think he will confirm, that we have no intention keeping them a day longer than is required. So, I'd leave it right there.

President Gorbachev. I'd like to add something and to confirm what the President of the United States has just said to me in our conversation -- that the United States of America does not intend to leave their forces in the zone. And in connection with the change or the normalization of the situation, the United States administration and, personally, the President will do everything possible to ensure that the forces are withdrawn from the region, from the zone. And that is a very important statement.

Economic Assistance for the Soviet Union and Soviet Military Advisers in Iraq

Q. I have a question for both Presidents. The unity that you're expressing doesn't ignore the fact that there is still some irritants between the two countries. President Bush, are you more sympathetic to suggestions of Western economic aid to the Soviet Union? And President Gorbachev, would you be willing to withdraw the Soviet military advisers from Iraq?

President Bush. For my part, I am very much interested in assisting to be sure that perestroika is successful. We, indeed, have a mission of high-level businessmen on their way to the Soviet Union -- right now they happen to be in Helsinki. This is but one manifestation of the fact that we are trying to encourage economic cooperation in as many ways as possible. And we had a good, long discussion in our expanded meeting this afternoon about that. And I am -- given the common stand that the Soviet Union and the United States have taken at the United Nations, it seems to me that we should be as forthcoming as we possibly can in terms of economics, and I plan to do that. There are certain constraints, as you say. There are certain nuances of difference; there are certain differences -- real differences.

But on the other hand, I have said before -- and I'll repeat it here in front of all these journalists from all around the world -- we, of course, want perestroika to succeed. It is an internal matter of the Soviet Union. But I think this remarkable cooperation that has been demonstrated by the Soviet Union at the United Nations gets me inclined to recommend as close cooperation in the economic field as possible. And I will be saying this to the Congress when I get back. We still have problems. Look, we've got some big problems ourselves in our economy, and we are not in the position, operating at the enormous deficits, to write out large checks. Having said that, there are many ways that we can endeavor to be of assistance to the emerging economy in the Soviet Union.

President Gorbachev. There was a question also addressed to me. I would like, nevertheless, on the question which did appear also to be addressed to me -- the Western assistance to the Soviet -- I would like to continue. The conversation with President Bush is continuing on the Western assistance to the Soviet Union. I see that there is an attempt being made to link, to establish a link between this and disagreements or the lack of disagreements. In response to that, I would say the following:

We began our conversation today together by reviewing the situation and realizing that the whole of world society and our two great states are undergoing a trial. This is a test of the durability of the new approach to resolving world problems. And as we enter upon a new peaceful period and as we emerge from the cold war, we see that no less efforts are necessary in order to find ways and means in this period of peace to meet the new situation and to tackle all problems that may arise. I think if it hadn't been for Malta it would have been very difficult for us to act in the very difficult situation which arose in Eastern Europe -- in Europe and in the situation connected with the unification of Germany.

I think that if, following that, there hadn't been Washington and Camp David and the other meetings on this level with other partners in international relations, we would now be in a difficult situation facing the crisis in the Persian Gulf. And the fact that today we have taken a common approach to such difficult problems -- problems which may well have tragic consequences for the whole world, not just for the peoples of that region -- demonstrates that we still are moving forward in the right direction and that we are capable of resolving the most difficult and the most acute problems and to find appropriate responses to the challenges of our time. And the greater part of our conversation together was devoted to this. I believe that this is the most important point to bear in mind. Differences, nuances in the differences of view, arguments, these can be -- these are natural. It's natural those should arise. But what we have seen today is that we have confirmed the most important progress of recent time.

Now I should like to say something about the Iraqi question -- but, in fact, I haven't quite finished on the first subject. I wouldn't want President Bush's reply to give rise to the opinion that the Soviet Union is going to align a certain sum with a certain behavior. We are acting in a difficult situation. We are finding a solution. We shall find a solution which will be satisfactory and, above all, which will remove the danger of an explosion. And this is becoming a normal element of the new kind of cooperation -- in trade, in technology, in human exchange. All of these elements characterize the new peaceful period upon which we are just now embarked, which we have to get used to.

It would be very oversimplified and very superficial to judge that the Soviet Union could be bought for dollars because, although we do look forward to cooperation in this very serious time of far-reaching changes in our economy -- and that's normal -- let's remember the reforms of recent years in a number of states. They always, in addition to the principal efforts made by the peoples concerned themselves, they always involved also the participation of the world community in one form or another. So if anybody wants to try to impose a different view, that's unacceptable to us. It's unacceptable to the United States, it's unacceptable to the Soviet Union, and it would be unacceptable to any other state.

Now, to move on the second part of your question concerning our experts in Iraq. They are not so much advisers as specialists or experts who are working under contract. And their number is being reduced. Whereas at the beginning of the conflict I think there was still 196 of them, there are now some 150 of them. And the Iraqi leadership looks upon the matter thus: that if they haven't completed their work, their normal work under contract, even though it may be a matter of weapons, then they are nevertheless leaving Iraq and the process is going forward. So, I don't really think there's a problem.

Persian Gulf Crisis

Q. A question to both. Did you discuss any possible military options for curbing Iraqi aggression? And what would be the conditions, and what would be the point where you would consider that the political options were exhausted and it was time to go to the Security Council and talk about -- through the Security Council -- demanding an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait?

President Bush. The answer to your question is, no, we did not discuss military options. And your question is too hypothetical. And I would like to see this matter peacefully resolved.

President Gorbachev. I would like to support what was said by President Bush. And I stress once more that the whole of our time together was spent on talking about this conflict in a mutual search for a political solution. And I think we can look with optimism, in the final analysis, on the efforts being taken by the international community working together within the Security Council of the U.N.

Q. You were just saying that if Iraq doesn't withdraw its forces peacefully, then it will be necessary to take military steps. What kind of Soviet contribution will there be to those military steps? And what will happen then to the Soviet citizens who are in Iraq now? And what will the Arab factor be?

President Gorbachev. Firstly, I did not say that if Iraq does not withdraw peacefully we're going to have recourse to military methods. I did not state that. I do not state that. And moreover, in my view, that would draw us into consequences which we can't at this stage forecast. Therefore, our country and the United Nations as a whole has a whole range of possibilities of finding a political solution to this problem. Therefore, I would limit ourselves to that and, therefore, the second part of your question is irrelevant.

Q. If I could ask President Gorbachev, specifically: Iraq had been your ally. What directly have you done in contact with Saddam Hussein to reverse the situation there? And, President Bush, what specifically have you asked Mr. Gorbachev to do directly? Have you asked him to make a direct contact with Saddam Hussein?

President Gorbachev. I should say that from the start of the crisis we've been actively exchanging views and carrying forth dialog, not only within the Security Council, not only with the administration of the U.S.A. These types of contacts have great importance to us, but we are also holding active dialog with the leadership of China, of India, of all the other European states, especially those which are members of the Security Council. And in my view, it's this dialog which has helped us towards the Security Council resolution which was passed.

On top of that, we're also actively cooperating with the Arab States, the countries of the Arab world. And here our dialog is no less intensive than with our partners in the countries I previously mentioned, including dialog with President Hussein. And I can state that what we have announced publicly is also being said to President Hussein in our dialog with him. Which all means that the President and the leadership of Iraq are expected to show a reasonable approach, to stop and to understand what is implied by the position taken by the Security Council on this issue. This is the dialog which we have undertaken with him. And we are trying to make sure that our arguments are convincing. We discussed various options for ending the situation with him. And we are also attempting, as I already said, to make it quite clear to Saddam Hussein that if Iraq were to provoke military action then the result would be a tragedy first and foremost for the Iraqi people themselves, for the whole of the region, and for the whole of the world.

You know, this is, of course, a dialog in a very difficult situation; but we consider it's a very useful dialog. And we don't exclude the possibility of establishing new contacts, of having new meetings at various levels. And the type of communication which we have had up until now with the Iraqis gives us hope that those links we have with them can be used positively for the sake of all of us, for the sake of finding a peaceful solution to this problem and especially of preventing the situation turning into aggression in the situation.

President Bush. My answer would simply be that there is no need to ask President Gorbachev to contact Saddam Hussein. Clearly, from his answer you can see that President Gorbachev answered the question about the contact with Saddam Hussein. And clearly, your question to me is if I asked him to contact Saddam Hussein? The answer is no.

The Soviet Union is in contact. He, himself, received the Foreign Minister, `Aziz. But I would just simply sum it up by saying the best answer to Saddam Hussein -- or the best contact is the contact that took place at the United Nations when there was worldwide condemnation of the aggression. And I happen to feel that this statement showing the Soviet Union and the United States in essential agreement here is another good statement for Saddam Hussein. And hopefully, he will see that he is not going to divide us and divide other countries and that he will do what he should have done sometime ago, and that is comply with the United Nations' sanctions. But I did not ask him to do that because they're way ahead of us on that. They are having contacts and trying to be helpful in that regard.

Arms Control Negotiations

Q. I have a question to Mr. Bush. Mr. President, what is your position on the question of signing a treaty limiting strategic offensive weapons? And when do you think that such a treaty will, in fact, be signed?

President Bush. We still remain committed to a strategic arms treaty. We vowed that we would encourage our negotiators to move forward more rapidly on both the strategic arms treaty and the conventional force agreement. And I'm still hopeful that by the end of the year we will have such an agreement.

President Gorbachev. I'd like to confirm what President Bush has just said: that we really have agreed to make fresh efforts to give further instructions because we see that there is a possibility successfully to complete the negotiating process in those two fora and to come up with positive results in the course of this year.

Middle East Peace Efforts

Q. My question is for President Bush. And I would also like to hear President Gorbachev's comment on that. President Bush mentioned that you fail to see the link between the Palestinian question and the present situation. I would like to know how come it is so important to implement U.N. resolutions in this particular instance when other standing ones have been frozen and overlooked and disregarded for so long? So I'd like to know how come this situation is so different from other ones. And I would also like to add that I personally feel that the Palestinian dilemma and question needs the attention of the superpowers more than ever. Thank you very much.

President Bush. I agree that it needs it, and we are very much interested in implementing Resolution 242 of the United Nations. We've been zealously trying to do that, as have many other powers for many years. But the fact that that resolution hasn't been fulfilled when it calls for withdrawal to secure and recognized boundaries -- and it should be, and hopefully we can be catalytic in seeing that happen -- does not mean that you sit idly by in the face of a naked aggression against Kuwait. And the United Nations has moved, and the United Nations resolutions should be implemented on their face without trying to tie it in to some other unresolved dispute. But I couldn't agree more that it is important. It is very important that that question eventually, and hopefully sooner than later, be resolved.

President Gorbachev. I think that everything that is taking place in the Middle East is a matter of concern to us -- of equal concern. And even more than in the case of the Persian Gulf, we need to act more energetically in order to resolve the complex of problems in the Middle East and to come up with decisions and to devise a system to devise guarantees that would ensure the interests of all peoples and of the whole world community because it's a matter which is of vital concern to all of us.

And it seems to me that there is a link here because the failure to find a solution in the Middle East at large also has a bearing on the acuteness of the particular conflict we've been talking about here.

Persian Gulf Crisis

Q. A question for both Presidents, please. In your statement, you pledged to work individually and in concert to ensure full compliance with the U.N. sanctions against Iraq. May I inquire what, if any, specific and concrete steps you have agreed to take in furtherance of that?

President Bush. We didn't agree to specific and concrete steps. I think President Gorbachev in the contacts he's had with Saddam Hussein -- I mean with the Iraqis -- and if they continue, will be a step in that direction. Clearly, this message itself will be a step in the right direction. But we did not sit at this meeting and try to assign each other or ask each other to undertake specific measures in keeping with that particular paragraph.

President Gorbachev. I'd like to add to that that the emphasis here is on the significance of the political fact that we feel necessary to reflect in this statement and which testifies to our political will to act jointly, or in parallel, independently really, in search of these new steps toward a peaceful resolution of the problem.

I think that, therefore, the meeting and the document that we've just adopted is more important than our enumerating various steps that might have been taken here. That forms the basis for the further active quest for solutions.

Soviet-U.S. Relations

Q. I also have a question to the Presidents of both countries -- Mr. President, Mr. Gorbachev, first of all. Since the last meeting, it seems to be that you've had a good mutual understanding. Have you succeeded in deepening that mutual understanding in the course of today's meeting? And how, in general -- what bearing, in general, is that factor having on the results of your negotiations?

President Bush. I think clearly there has been a developing mutual understanding over the years. I like to feel, and I think President Gorbachev agrees, that our meeting in Malta had something to do with furthering that understanding. I'm convinced that our meeting in the United States, at Camp David particularly, furthered that understanding. I think the world sees clearly that if this had occurred 20 years ago, there wouldn't have been this cooperative feeling at the United Nations. And I think it's very important.

So, I don't know how one quantifies mutual understanding, but I feel we're moving on the right track. Neither of us, when we talk, try to hide our differences. Neither of us try to indicate that we look at exactly every problem exactly the same way. But the very fact we can talk with that degree of frankness without rancor, I think, enhances mutual understanding. And then, when we see us on a question of this nature, standing shoulder to shoulder with many other countries at the United Nations, I think it is obvious manifestation of this developing mutual understanding.

It's a very broad philosophical question. But differences still remain. But the common ground, in my view at least, surges ahead of these differences. And we will continue to cooperate with President Gorbachev.

President Gorbachev. I don't know if I would be allowed to tell you a secret here. I haven't asked President Bush if he'll let me. But I must admit that I'm dying to take the risk and tell you. [Laughter] But it's too important to give you an answer to this particular question. But that last sentence does really give me the hope that we'll get by. In our talks, the President said, "You know, there was a long time when our view was that the Soviet Union had nothing to do in the Middle East -- had no business being there." This was something that we had to talk through during this meeting here in Helsinki. And what was said here is that it's very important for us to cooperate in the Middle East, just as it is on other issues of world politics.

So, that is -- in answer to your question, it is very important that at each meeting we move forward, we enrich our relationship, and I think I should say that we increase our trust. If trust is engendered between the leaders of two such nations during meetings of this kind -- then I'm sure you'll agree with me -- that that is for the good of all of us, whether we want it or not. History dictates that a lot is going to depend on whether the two countries can work together. That's not our ambition, it's just the way that history has gone. So, far from excluding such a possibility, we intend to cooperate with all sorts of other countries as well, more and more. That's how we see our role in the world developing.

And my last comment is also very important. It seems to me that the way the world is, the way the world is changing, in today's world no single country, however powerful, will be able to provide the leadership which individual countries formerly tried to provide, including some countries which are represented here. We can only succeed if we work together and solve our problems together. That is what is emerging from these negotiations, and that we consider the most important aspect.

Persian Gulf Crisis

Q. I'm going to speak French, if I may. Could I ask Mr. Gorbachev whether the Soviet Union is still Iraq's friend, as Minister Tariq Aziz declared in Moscow last week? Are you still the friend of Saddam Hussein? And another question also directed to Mr. Gorbachev -- President Saddam Hussein stated yesterday that the Soviet Union would demonstrate that it is a great power by resisting George Bush's pressure and by supporting the Baghdad regime. Could you indicate to me, if you would, what your reply would be to Saddam Hussein?

President Gorbachev. I want to reply to you and so to repeat it also to Saddam Hussein -- the same reply that I've given to previous questions -- my position is unchanged. We see our role and our responsibility, and within the framework of that responsibility we shall act in cooperation with the other members of the Security Council. And, in this instance, I can once again say since we are sitting here, two Presidents together, I should interact and cooperate with the President of the United States.

I'd very much like to express the hope that President Saddam Hussein will display -- I really hope that he will display sobriety, will look carefully at the whole situation and will respond to the appeals and the demands of the world community, and that he will take steps that are suitable to the situation, that are carefully weighed in their worldwide implications and in their implications for the Arab world, too. No one has any intention of trying to exclude Iraq from the community of nations, but what the present Iraqi leadership is doing is driving it into a dead end. And I hope that President Saddam Hussein will heed this appeal to him.

Q. As a neighboring country of the conflict -- we're from Turkish press.

Q. I think I'm next. I'd like to ask Mr. Gorbachev if you have ruled out the possibility of a Soviet military participation in this effort in any sense, either as part of the naval blockade or as part of some future peacekeeping force in the region? And I would follow up with a question to Mr. Bush -- to what degree that would be a disappointment to you if that's Mr. Gorbachev's position?

President Gorbachev. I don't see the point of doing that now. And we shall continue to act in cooperation within the Security Council and in strict compliance with all of its decisions.

President Bush. I'm not disappointed in that answer. [Laughter]

Q. I mean, you said you're determined to see this aggression end and current steps are being considered. What does this mean? What comes next?

President Bush. It's too hypothetical. We want to see the message get through to Saddam Hussein. We want to see him do what the United Nations calls on him to do. And that statement can be interpreted any way you want to interpret it, but it's out there. And I would simply not go into any hypothetical questions that would lead me beyond what that statement says.

President Gorbachev. Could I add a couple of words? Please, if you would excuse me, I'll add a couple of words just to what Mr. Bush has already said. You know, in my view, I have the impression that both the press and public opinion in some countries is in some ways saying that there's a lack of decision on somebody's part, that we're withdrawing in the face of those who are trampling on international law. I cannot agree with that view. In fact, it's a view which causes a certain amount of embarrassment to the leadership of nations which are acting through the Security Council in this respect.

What has been done up until now in answer to Iraqi aggression is very important because action has been taken not only within the framework of the Security Council, but there has been unanimous world opinion, a kind of solidarity which has never been expressed before in the history of the world. And we have prevented the aggression going any further. We have preserved the functioning of the structures which are of economic importance which would affect so many other countries as well.

And finally, the resolution has been taken on an embargo, which is a very stiff measure, in reaction to the aggression. In my view, this is a strategic way of tackling the question which has been tackled successfully at the first stages. And we are convinced that the next stage of a political solution, achieved politically, to put an end to this acute international crisis and make sure that a political sentiment should be possible -- that in this situation, decisiveness, willpower, and responsibility, and political faith in the possibility of a political solution to this very difficult issue shows that the political leaders of the world are being responsible to their own nations and to the world. And we do not want to get caught up in arguments about prestige and so on.

Q. Concerning the humanitarian aid, does your joint statement mean in practice that you consider that food should be now allowed to Iraq?

President Gorbachev. The Presidents felt it necessary to reflect in our joint declaration that we see the need to uphold what was decided by the Security Council on this subject. And the Security Council was prepared to admit, for humanitarian purposes, the supply of medicines and of foodstuffs required first and foremost for children. We've actually stated this quite plainly in our statement. And so, we've taken a very clear-cut position on that. But we've also made it clear that this mistake is within the framework of certain international organizations and being monitored by them at all stages of the operations. So I think that this is being stated in the correct terms.

President Bush. I agree with President Gorbachev on that point and that the language is very good because it does express the concern that both countries feel in the event there actually are children and others who are suffering because of lack of food. I hope that nobody around the world interprets this as our view that now there should be wholesale food shipments to Iraq. Because I can speak only here for the United States when I would call attention to the fact that we need some kind of international agencies to see that there is this humanitarian concern, as expressed, this exception in the United Nations embargo for humanitarian purposes -- and not only is it required for this humanitarian circumstance but that the food gets where it is supposed to go. So, this should not be, from the U.S. standpoint, interpreted as a wholesale big hole in this embargo. It was not our intention, and I think the language is very clear on that point.

Q. A few things if you could clear up for us. First of all, you seem to disagree on the military option when you talk about further steps being taken to implement the U.S. sanctions. President Bush, you seem to be saying the military option is still out there. President Gorbachev seems to disagree. Do you disagree on that? Did you ask President Gorbachev to pull his experts out of Iraq? And did you ask him to send troops into the Gulf region?

President Bush. I did not ask him to send troops in. If the Soviets decided to do that at the invitation of the Saudis, that would be fine with us. But I did not ask him to do that. I believe with the 23 countries that are participating on the ground -- 23 countries that are participating on the ground and at sea -- that the security of Saudi Arabia is close to safeguarded.

What were the other two points?

Q. Did you ask him to pull the experts out of Iraq? And do you disagree on the use of military force? You seem to say it's still an option. He seems to say it's not an option ever.

President Bush. We may have a difference on that. As I think I've answered over and over again at home, I'm not going to discuss what I will or won't do. And President Gorbachev made an eloquent appeal, to which I agree, that a peaceful solution is the best. So I've left it open. He can comment on the other.

Again, John [John Cochran, NBC News], I'm sorry -- the second point.

Q. The experts, pulling the experts out.

President Bush. Well, I think it would facilitate things. But on the other hand, he's given his answer here. And that is not a major irritant. You've said that -- I think he said that he is reducing the numbers there. But I think I tried to make clear that this was a question that was widely being raised in the United States, and it would facilitate things if they were out of there in terms of total understanding. But I heard his answer, listened to it very, very carefully, and must say that I would let it stand at that. If I was just saying, would I like to see them all out of there, I think I'd say, absolutely. But I'd let him add to that.

President Gorbachev. In answer to all these questions which you gave us such a clear list of, I've already given answers. I really don't have anything to add to the answers I've already given.

Q. A question to the two Presidents, please. You mentioned something about the security arrangements. Is the Soviet Union going to participate in any kind of security arrangements, and what is the role of the region and the countries of that region of the Middle East?

President Gorbachev. To the first question, as we began, we intend to continue to cooperate closely and actively in the framework of the Security Council. And on the basis of the decisions that have been adopted we shall act accordingly. That's the first point.

Secondly, as concerns the role of the countries of the region, yes, I think that, generally speaking, I would stress the importance of the Arab factor not yet really having been brought to bear in efforts to help resolve this crisis situation. I don't want to offer you an analysis right now as to why that's the case, but nevertheless, I am convinced that there is an obvious activation of the quest on the part of Arab States to find the response to the urgent situation which faces us all here. We cooperate with all the Arab countries and I might say, not unusefully. The outlines of possible steps are beginning to emerge, but it is too soon to be specific. We are continuing our cooperation with Arab countries, and at a certain stage when the situation has changed and when the tension has been reduced, then perhaps we might carry this further. But we shall continue in the Security Council, the United Nations Security Council, to guarantee security.

I have no doubt that we shall succeed in resolving the problem by political means.

President Bush. May I comment on that one, please? I am very glad that the Arab States -- the Arab League, and in other ways -- have stated their condemnation of Saddam Hussein. He is trying to make this a contest between the Arab world and the United States. And it is no such thing -- if you will look at how the United Nations has overwhelmingly condemned him. So the Arab States have a very key role in this. Many Arab States have responded in the defense of Saudi Arabia -- Syria, Morocco, Egypt, say nothing of the GCC countries. So, it is not Saddam Hussein and the Arab world against the United States; it is Saddam Hussein against the United Nations and against a majority of the Arab League. And that is a very important point that I will continue to make, because the Arab League itself has stood up to him and urged his compliance with the sanctions and condemned his aggression.

So, in this case, I see the Arab States as having a very important role to play in the resolution of this question. And they have not been taken in by his attempt to make this the Arab world versus the United States of America when it is nothing of the kind.

Mr. Fitzwater. Thank you very much.

President Gorbachev. I want, the President and myself, to conclude this press conference by stressing our deep sympathies and feelings for the people of Finland, for the hospitalities extended to us on this soil, and to appreciate highly the contribution made by the President of this country and his wife to make these excellent arrangements for these meetings.

President Bush. May I simply add that President Koivisto and Mrs. Koivisto have been most hospitable. And I agree with this. We owe them a great debt of gratitude, and the people of Finland.

Note: President Bush's 60th news conference began at 5:52 p.m. in Finlandia Hall. President Gorbachev spoke in Russian, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. Marlin Fitzwater was Press Secretary to President Bush. Following the news conference, President Bush returned to Washington, DC.

George Bush, Joint News Conference of President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in Helsinki, Finland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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