Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Martin of Canada in a Press Availability

Apr 30, 2004, 01:00 ET from White House Press Office

    WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of
 remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Martin of Canada in a press
 availability:
 
     The Rose Garden
 
     11:53 A.M. EDT
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH: The Prime Minister and I will have some opening comments.
 We'll answer two questions per side.
     Mr. Prime Minister, welcome. I'm glad you're here. I've really been
 looking forward to this meeting because I view it as a meeting between friends
 and allies.
     I really appreciate the Prime Minister's clear vision about the world in
 which we live. He understands the danger of terror. He understands the
 opportunity of trade. And he understands that we share values that will --
 that are so important, the values of freedom, human dignity. We care about the
 human condition. I appreciate your concern about working together to help heal
 those who hurt, provide medicines for those who suffer from a disease.
     We've got a good friend in Canada. It's an important relationship; it's a
 crucial relationship; and it's one that I look forward to continuing to
 nurture with this Prime Minister.
     Welcome.
 
     PRIME MINISTER MARTIN: Well, thank you, Mr. President. We really did have
 a very, very good discussion. We discussed a wide range of areas, and we're
 going to continue over lunch. And we're doing it within the context of our
 shared values and the fact that we share much more than a continent. We talked
 about national security and Canada's new national security policy, which makes
 it very clear that we're going to defend the northern half of North America,
 and we recognize our responsibilities to those in the United States, with whom
 we share the continent.
     We discussed a number of issues between us.  We talked about -- we talked
 about the whole question of BSE, mad cow, and I must say that the President
 was very encouraging. We also -- (begins speaking in French).
     We talked about Haiti. We talked about a wide range of issues. And I must
 say, Mr. President, that it's very clear that Canada and the United States,
 working together, we can make great progress.
 
     Q   Mr. President, 134 soldiers have died in Iraq this month, more than
 any other month. A year after you declared an end to major combat, are things
 getting worse in Iraq rather than better?
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH: First, any time you talk about somebody who died in Iraq,
 or in Afghanistan, is a moment for me to thank them and their families for
 their sacrifice. And their sacrifice will not go in vain because there will be
 a free Iraq. And a free Iraq is in the interests of our two nations. A free
 Iraq is in the interests of world peace. Because free societies do not harbor
 terrorists; free societies do not threaten people or use weapons of mass
 destruction.
 
     Q     Mr. President -- sorry.
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH: A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier, saying
 that we had achieved an important objective, that we'd accomplished a mission,
 which was the removal of Saddam Hussein. And as a result, there are no longer
 torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq. As a result, a friend
 of terror has been removed, and now sits in a jail. I also said on that
 carrier that day that there was still difficult work ahead.
     And we've faced tough times in Iraq, Mr. Prime Minister, we've had some
 tough times. We've had some tough fighting, because there are people who hate
 the idea of a free Iraq. They're trying to stop progress, because they
 understand what freedom means to their terrorist ambitions.
     And so we're making progress, you bet. There's a strategy toward freedom.
 One of it, of course, is to continue to deal with those who are trying to stop
 the Iraqi people from realizing their ambitions of a free society. Whether it
 be in Fallujah, or elsewhere, we will deal with them, those few who are
 stopping the hopes of many.
     There's a political strategy, and the Prime Minister and I will talk about
 that over lunch -- Mr. Brahimi's mission of putting together an entity to
 which we will transfer sovereignty. No, there is a strategy that will help us
 achieve the objective, which is a free and peaceful country in the heart of
 the Middle East that is desperate for freedom and democracy and peace.
 
     Q   Mr. President, you're a rancher. Is there any hope -- what hope can
 you offer your fellow ranchers in Canada about when the border might be open
 to live Canadian cattle?
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH: As soon as possible. My administration is committed to a
 policy of free trade when it comes to beef. And we had a discussion about that
 today with -- that subject today, with our respective agricultural ministers -
 - or secretaries, as we call them here. And I assured the Prime Minister, I
 want to get this solution -- this issue solved as quickly as possible. And
 it's in our nations' interests that live beef be moving back and forth. It's
 also in the interest to make sure we make decisions based upon sound science,
 which he fully understands.
 
     Q     Mr. President --
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH:  Hold on a second.  Steve.
 
     Q   What is your reaction to photos of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi
 prisoners? How are you going to win their hearts and minds with these sort of
 tactics?
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, I shared a deep disgust that those prisoners were
 treated the way they were treated. Their treatment does not reflect the nature
 of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America. And so I -
 - I didn't like it one bit.
     But I also want to remind people that those few people who did that do not
 reflect the nature of the men and women we've sent overseas. That's not the
 way the people are, that's not their character, that are serving our nation in
 the cause of freedom. And there will be an investigation. I think -- they'll
 be taken care of.
 
     Q   Mr. President, could you tell us what you'd like to see Canada doing
 on Iraq, both diplomatically and in terms, eventually, of getting possibly
 police and troops on the ground there?
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH: My first answer to that is, I want to Canada to do what it
 feels comfortable doing in Iraq. That's -- and that's what I told the Prime
 Minister before. Canada is an independent nation. Canada makes -- will make
 its decisions based upon her own judgment. The Prime Minister shares my deep
 desire for there to be peace in the world. And to the extent that the country
 feels comfortable in helping that, we're grateful.
     Canada is doing a lot in Afghanistan. Canada is doing a lot in Haiti.
 Canada is a contributor to reconstruction in Iraq. And I am grateful to be
 able to talk to a friend who shares the same goal, which is affecting behavior
 in a way that's based upon our values of human rights, human dignity, and
 freedom. And we've got no better partner in understanding the power of free
 societies.
     There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose
 skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject
 that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim
 faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily --
 are a different color than white can self-govern.
     And the Prime Minister -- I don't want to put words in his mouth -- but I
 think he shares that great sense of optimism and possibility. And it's good to
 have a friend who shares that with us.
     Would you like to have the First Ladies come on up?
 
     PRIME MINISTER MARTIN: I've got to say, though, I really do like sharing a
 press conference with you. You answer those questions perfectly. (Laughter.)
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH:  Thank you.  Record that.
 
     Q     (Question asked in French.)
 
     PRIME MINISTER MARTIN:  (Responding in French.)
 
     If you can give me just two seconds, I'm going to translate. They want it.
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH: Some of these guys understand French. (Laughter.) Raise
 your hand, Gregory. (Laughter.)
 
     PRIME MINISTER MARTIN:  (Translating his remarks in French.)
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH:  Listen, thank you all.
 
     Come on up, Laura.
 
     MRS. MARTIN:  How do you do?
 
     PRIME MINISTER MARTIN:  Good to see you.
 
     MRS. BUSH:  Prime Minister, welcome.  I'm so glad you're here.
 
     Q   Will the next trip be down at the ranch, Mr. President, for the Prime
 Minister?
 
     PRESIDENT BUSH: This is a nice place, but the ranch is even nicer.
 (Laughter.)
 
     Q     You need to teach him to ride.  (Laughter.)
 
     PRIME MINISTER MARTIN:  I'll invite him to the farm.
 
     END        12:05 P.M. EDT
 
 

SOURCE White House Press Office