Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom and an Exchange With Reporters in Heiligendamm
Prime Minister Blair. Right, obviously, this is a summit where we'll be discussing two crucial issues. One is the change in the climate and the actions that we need to take in order to address that. And I think there is a very substantial coming together around the need to make sure that we have a substantial reduction in emissions and find the right process and the right way that we can achieve that.
And I think with the President's speech last week, this has moved the situation on a great deal. I think there is a real desire to come together. I think everyone wants to be part of a post-Kyoto deal. Everyone wants to try and make sure that that is a deal that's got to be—that includes all the major emitters. And everyone wants to make sure that that deal can then command broad agreement right across the international community and deliver what people want to see, both for reasons of the environment and for reasons of energy security.
However, I think both myself and the President are very concerned, as well, to make sure that we do not simply focus on climate change. We've also got to focus on recommitting ourselves to the Gleneagles process on Africa, on making major steps forward there in relation to things like HIV/AIDS and education. In addition to that, of course, there's the situation in Darfur, where we both are anxious that there is strong action taken. And then we've also managed to have a word, too, about the world trade talks, which we want to see reach a successful conclusion.
So, I mean, there's still obviously a lot of talking and discussing going on, and we're about to go in for the main session now. But I do feel, myself, that people are coming together, and I think that's important.
President Bush. Yes. Good start there.
Prime Minister Blair. Thank you.
President Bush. You know, we had a press conference in the Rose Garden where, you know, it was the last time on U.S. soil I'll be standing next to the Prime Minister talking about a—what we believe and how our efforts are going to lead to peace and to a better world for a lot of people. This is the last meeting I will have had with him as Prime Minister. It's a nostalgic moment for me. I'm sorry it's come to be, but that's what happens in life. We'll move on.
We—Tony said we talked about global climate change. I told him in Washington, and I recommitted myself today that the United States will be actively involved, if not taking the lead, in a post-Kyoto framework, post-Kyoto agreement. I view our role as a bridge between people in Europe and others and India and China. And if you want them at the table, it's important to give them an opportunity to set an international goal. And that's why I laid out the initiative I laid out. And I told Tony that we're deadly earnest in getting something done; this is serious business. And the fundamental question is, how best to send proper signals to create the technologies necessary to deal with this issue?
And as we discuss global climate change, it's really important we don't forget those who are dying. And I appreciate this man's commitment to global AIDS—fighting global AIDS. We do that ourselves—laid out a $30 billion initiative. I'm very proud of the United States citizens for supporting such an initiative. Over the past 3 years, antiretroviral drugs has been extended from—to over a million people, up from 50,000. So it's important to debate the environment and discuss it. It's also important for those of us who have got the wealth to put it to use to save lives. The malaria initiative we talked about is a really important initiative, and I hope that countries here at the G-8 join Great Britain and the United States in saving lives that can be saved in a pretty easy way. It just takes will, focus, and effort.
We did discuss Darfur. I'm frustrated, but the international organizations can't move quickly enough. I don't know how long it's going to take for people to hear the call to save lives. I will be stressing, along with Tony, the need for nations to take action. If the U.N. won't act, we need to take action ourselves, and I laid out a series of sanctions that I think, hopefully, will affect Bashir's behavior. But enough is enough in Darfur.
We talked about Doha. We're committed to doing a deal in Doha. If you're interested in alleviating poverty around the world, then they ought to be joining and making the necessary concessions to have a global trading system that helps affect the poor.
So I've come with a broad agenda and a serious agenda, and so has the Prime Minister. And it's been a good, meaningful discussion, as usual. We'll answer one question apiece, then we've got to go get our picture taken.
United Kingdom-Saudi Arabia Relations/International Cooperation on the Environment
Q. Mr. President, you've said it's important to set an international goal. How long does the world have to wait for America to set a goal that others can measure of how much you're cutting greenhouse gases by?
And Prime Minister, if I could ask you about another matter. Were you aware that your Government was approving payments to a friend of President Bush's as part of British Aerospace's kickback system? And is that why you suspended a fraud inquiry?
President Bush. Glad you're answering that question—[laughter]—a friend of mine. [Laughter]
Prime Minister Blair. On the point you asked me—let me make one thing very clear: I'm not going to comment on the individual allegations. And a lot of this, of course, relates to things that go back to the 1980s.
But let me just make one thing very, very clear to you: This investigation, if it had gone ahead, would have involved the most serious allegations and investigations being made of the Saudi royal family. And my job is to give advice as to whether that is a sensible thing, in circumstances where I don't believe the investigation, incidentally, would have led anywhere, except to the complete wreckage of a vital strategic relationship for our country in terms of fighting terrorism, in terms of the Middle East, in terms of British interests there, quite apart from the fact that we would have lost thousands—thousands—of British jobs.
So I totally understand why you guys have got to do your job, but I've got to do mine. And mine is sometimes taking these decisions about what I believe to be in the strategic interests of our country and holding to it. And that's what I've done.
President Bush. Greenhouse gases declined last year in the United States, in spite of the fact that our economy grew. Not many countries can make that claim. In other words, we're taking steps necessary to be good stewards of the environment; at the same time, advance technologies. Our record is a strong record. We've spent billions of dollars on technologies necessary to make us less dependent on foreign sources of oil and, at the same time, good stewards of the environment.
Secondly, as I proposed, that by the end of 2008, the world's emitters of greenhouse gases should come together and set an international goal. Nothing is going to happen in terms of substantial reductions unless China and India are participating, see. And so I—it is our role to serve as a bridge between people who have got one point of view about how to solve greenhouse gases and about how to get the developing nations such as China and India at the table.
In the meantime, we'll move forward with a very aggressive agenda. I don't know if you've followed my speeches in the United States, but I said, we'll reduce gasoline usage by 20 percent over the next 10 years. And the way you do that is through technologies and ethanols and battery technologies, and I'm convinced we'll meet that goal. And in so doing, we'll be, yet again, a world leader when it comes to new technologies.
Q. Is there an international goal for many years to come, Mr. President?
President Bush. Jennifer [Jennifer Loven, Associated Press].
Missile Defense System/Russia-U.S. Relations
Q. Thanks. Last night, the Russians said again—Putin's spokesman said again that everything they've heard from you and from your staff about missile defense has left them unconvinced. Is there—what can you say to President Putin today that's maybe different or more specific than what we've heard so far that might change his mind?
President Bush. Well, I mean, the—I'm looking forward to my meeting with Vladimir Putin. A missile defense system cannot stop multiple-launch regimes. In other words, the facts are, is that—the fact is this: that you can't stop two, three, four, five missiles. And therefore, I will explain to him once again that a missile defense system is aimed at a rogue regime that may try to hold Russia and/or Europe and the United States hostage. I'll—I think the best thing for me to do is just talk about the facts.
Secondly, it is important for Russia and Russians to understand that I believe the cold war ended, that Russia is not an enemy of the United States, that there's a lot of areas where we can work together, for example, in Iran or areas of proliferation. There's a lot of constructive work we can do.
And so I'm looking forward to my dialog with Vladimir Putin this afternoon. It's, hopefully, an attempt to find other areas where we can work together and make sure our rhetoric doesn't cause concern in our respective countries and here in Europe. There's—he can be—he doesn't have to be viewed as a—in his—as an enemy, see. And the missile defense system should say, we'll—we can work together. I actually think that Russia ought to participate with us. If it's aimed at dealing with a rogue regime, then it makes sense for Russia to say, "Let's join, let's share technologies."
And so I will reiterate the proposal we made, and that's: Send your generals to the United States, send your scientists to the United States, and we'll share our vision. And hopefully, that will help. Hopefully, the visit this afternoon will make it clear that we have no animosity; we bear no ill will. We're simply trying to deal with the true threats of the 21st century. And I repeat: Russia is not a threat; they're not a military threat. They're not a—something that we ought to be hyperventilating about. What we ought to be doing is figuring out ways to work together.
Thank you all.
NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 9:26 a.m. at the Kempinski Grand Hotel Heiligendamm. In his remarks, he referred to President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir of Sudan; and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
George W. Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom and an Exchange With Reporters in Heiligendamm Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/275938