George W. Bush photo

Remarks Prior to Discussions With President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda

June 10, 2003

President Bush. It's my honor to welcome President Museveni back to the White House. Mr. President, you have shown extraordinary leadership on a lot of issues, but the one issue that's really captured the imagination and the hearts of the American people is your extraordinary leadership on HIV/AIDS in your country. You've shown the world what is possible, and I want to congratulate you for that leadership.

I also want to thank you for your steadfast support on the war against terror. And I'm glad you're here.

Before we begin our discussions I do want to say something on the Middle East. I am troubled by the recent Israeli helicopter gunship attacks. I regret the loss of innocent life. I'm concerned that the attacks will make it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to fight off terrorist attacks. I also don't believe the attacks help Israeli security. We have been in touch with all parties in the region. I am determined to keep the process on the road to peace. And I believe, with responsible leadership by all parties, we can bring peace to the region. And I emphasize, all parties must behave responsibly to achieve that objective.

So, Mr. President, I'm glad you're here. Welcome. I'd like for you to make a few comments, please, sir.

President Museveni. Thank you so much. I'm very glad that I'm here. First of all, I congratulate President Bush for his leadership in fighting terrorism. Terrorism is a very irresponsible way of expressing one's dissatisfaction. It uses indiscriminate violence. They don't discriminate between combatants and noncombatants. That's why we oppose terrorism.

We fought with guns for the freedom of our countries. I fought for many years, but I've never used terrorist means. Freedom fighting is not the same thing as terrorism. If you must use violence, you should assure that violence is targeted at the combatants, not at the noncombatants.

Secondly, I salute President Bush for his decision a few years ago to open American markets to African value-added products. You hear so much of poverty in Africa, but in fact, Africa is a very rich continent. The only problem with that, we must— [inaudible]—lose value to the outside. We export only raw materials; we don't export value-added products. So I'm very glad that President Bush opened the American market for our goods.

I'm also glad that he set up the Millennium Challenge Account. That money should be used to aid trade. I don't believe in aid as an end in itself. I believe in trade. Trade is the one that can lead to mutual benefits for all countries in the world. Therefore, aid should head up trade— should aid in order to trade.

And finally, I thank him for the money set up for the AIDS fund, the 15 billion.

So I really am glad I'm here. We shall discuss more in our private discussion.

President Bush. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for coming.

President Museveni. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:20 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.

George W. Bush, Remarks Prior to Discussions With President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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