Bush to Press
G8 to Keep Up
Pressure on Extremists, Iran
President George W. Bush addresses the media as he
delivers a statement in the Rose Garden regarding the upcoming
2008 G8 Summit in Japan.
Photo / Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian
Bush will emphasize during next week’s G8 summit in Japan
that the war against violent extremism is a long-term struggle
while urging continued
support in Iraq and Afghanistan, he told reporters.
in the White House Rose Garden, Bush said he’ll
also encourage participants at the Group of Eight’s annual
summit in Hokkaido, Japan, to keep up pressure on Iran so it
abandons its nuclear weapons development plans.
he strongly disagrees with those who consider extremists simply “a bunch of disgruntled folks who occasionally come
and hurt us” rather than a very real long-term threat to
the United States and its interests.
“That’s not the way I feel about it,” he said. “This
is an ongoing, constant struggle to defend our own security and,
at the same time, help people realize the blessings of liberty.”
Bush said he intends to discuss operations in both Iraq and
Afghanistan at the G8 summit and to ask participants to continue
conceded that U.S. casualty rates in Afghanistan are up, but
insisted coalition and Afghan security
making important headway. “It’s been a tough month
in Afghanistan, but it has also been a tough month for the Taliban,” he
said. “One reason why there have been more deaths is because
our troops are taking the fight to a tough enemy.”
don’t like the fact that the United States
is denying them the safe haven they once enjoyed in Afghanistan,
he said. “America is pressing an ideology that is opposite
of theirs, and so of course there is going to be resistance,” he
Bush expressed confidence that the strategy in Afghanistan,
which includes not only confronting the Taliban and al-Qaida,
but also promoting the growth of a free society with good economic,
education and health policy, will succeed.
“We are constantly reassessing to see if we need to change
tactics in order to achieve our objective,” he said.
Bush noted that the number of Afghan and coalition troops there
has doubled over the last two years.
States is “constantly reviewing troop levels” to
ensure they’re adequate, he said.
expressed condolences to families who have lost loved ones
in the fight in Afghanistan as well
as Iraq. “I
am so appreciative that in a time of danger, Americans are willing
to step up and volunteer and sacrifice,” he said.
Iran’s continued interest in securing nuclear
weapons, Bush insisted that that world community must stick together
and continue applying pressure to discourage Iran’s efforts.
While “all options are on the table,” Bush
said, the best way to deal with the issue is through diplomacy.
the world community needs to send Iran the message that it will
be isolated and suffer economic hardship if it continued trying
to enrich uranium, he said.
“I’ve also made it clear that you can’t solve a problem
diplomatically unless there are other people at the table with
you,” Bush said. “And that is why we have been pursuing
multilateral diplomacy when it comes to convincing the Iranians
that the free world is sincere about insisting that they not
have the technologies necessary to develop a nuclear weapon.”
progress is being made, and he added that he’s
encouraged to see world leaders “stand up and speak out
about the need to keep the coalition active and keep the pressure
The White House
President Bush Discusses 2008 G8 Summit
July 2, 2008
10:31 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Next week I’m going to travel to
Japan for the eighth and final G8 summit of my presidency.
At recent summits, G8 countries have made pledges to help developing
nations address challenges, from health care to education, to
corruption. Now we need to show the world that the G8 can be
accountable for its promises and deliver results. As I said the
other day, we need people who not only make promises, but write
checks, for the sake of human rights and human dignity, and for
the sake of peace.
Accountability is really important when it comes to our work
on the continent of Africa. In 2005, G8 leaders promised to double
development assistance to Africa by 2010. America is on track
to meet our commitments. And in Japan, I’ll urge other leaders
to fulfill their commitments, as well.
We must also fulfill our commitments in the battle against HIV/AIDS
and malaria. I’ve asked Congress to reauthorize and expand the
Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, doubling our funding for this
vital effort. It’s very important that Congress reauthorize this
plan, but in the meantime, we’re fulfilling our promises that
we made, not only to — at the G8, but more importantly, to the
people of — on the continent of Africa.
It’s important that over the next five years that we support
antiretroviral treatment for approximately 2.5 million people,
that we prevent 12 million new AIDS infections, and that we care
for 12 million people also affected by HIV/AIDS — including
5 million orphans and vulnerable children. Last year, the G8
agreed to meet those commitments; they agreed to match. They
also agreed to help us reduce malaria in affected countries by
half. And I just — I hope that these countries understand the
great promise and hope that comes when we help alleviate this
suffering. And so one of my really important agenda items is
going to — is going to rally our partners to make commitments
and meet commitments.
We’ll also discuss additional steps to confront some other challenges,
such as the need to train health care workers in G8 partner countries
in Africa. It’s one thing to say we’re going to help people with
their — deal with disease, but a lot of these countries need
workers that are capable of helping, of reaching out to people
in need. We should set a goal to treat at least 75 percent of
the people with neglected tropical diseases in the most affected
countries. We’ve got to work to confront higher food prices.
I’m confident we’ll be talking about energy and food.
On the food issue, I’ve announced that the United States would
make available nearly $1 billion in new resources to bolster
global food security. Once again I’ll be going to the G8 and
talking about the great compassion and concern of the American
people in addressing problems.
At Toyako I’ll also ask leaders of the G8 to make other important
strategic moves to alleviate hunger, such as increasing the shipments
of food, fertilizers and seeds to countries in need. It’s one
thing to talk about the problem; this is a practical way to help
countries deal with the lack of food.
We need to help severely affected nations grow more of their
own food. It’s one thing to provide food; it seems like — it
make sense to me to say, we’re going to help you become more
agriculturally self-sustaining. This has been a issue in the
United States Congress, by the way. Unfortunately, we tried to
get this in the farm bill. Our members of Congress decided against
this plan, this way forward. But it makes sense for the United
States if we’re going to be providing food aid to encourage people
to grow their own food so we don’t have to deal with this problem
on a regular basis.
I’m also going to make sure that the world understands the importance
of advanced agricultural technologies, including biotechnology,
to help nations grow food so they don’t have to come to the world
for help. We’ll also be talking about export restrictions and
tariffs and subsidies. We will work to tear down barriers to
trade and investment around the world. It’s an opportunity for
those of us in the G8 and the other nations coming to talk about
a successful round of Doha. The United States is firmly committed
to Doha. We’re working hard to get this done by the end of the
year, and it will be a good opportunity in Japan to discuss what
we need to do together to open up market access and to reduce
We’ll be talking about energy security and, of course, at the
same time, the climate change issue. I’ll be reminding people
that we can have better energy security and we can be better
stewards of the environment without sacrificing economic growth.
And the principle is pretty simple. It’s going to be hard to
have the amount of money necessary to invest in new technologies
if we don’t have the money to spend, and therefore we need to
make sure our economies are vibrant.
We’re now implementing new mandatory programs that will reduce
billions of tons of emissions. I’ll remind people at the G8 and
other nations that we’re taking effective steps. We’re going
to make available more than $40 billion in loan-guarantee authority
to support private sector incentives and innovative clean energy
The 2009 budget requests more than $4 billion to support technologies
that have the potential to avoid, reduce and sequester greenhouse
gases. In other words, we’ve got a strong agenda when it comes
to providing money to encourage the advent of new technologies.
And as well, we’ll be meeting with leaders of the major economies
to discuss shared strategies and practical actions for addressing
greenhouse gas emissions. This is called the Major Economies
Process that we proposed and G8 leaders endorsed.
All this is aiming, by the way, to develop a strategy in which
major economies are a part of the strategy. Look, we can’t have
an effective agreement unless China and India are a part of it.
It’s as simple as that. I’m going to remind our partners that’s
the case. And we want the United Nations Framework Convention
to be effective. And so we’ve got to reach common ground on how
And we’re making some progress there, including the knowledge
that we’ve got to have a long-term emissions reduction goal,
midterm goals with national plans to achieve them, and cooperation
in key industrial sectors.
And also we’re going to talk about the struggle against violent
extremists. The temptation is to kind of say, well, maybe this
isn’t really a war, maybe this is just a bunch of disgruntled
folks that occasionally come and hurt us. You know, that’s not
the way I feel about it. This is an ongoing, constant struggle
to defend our own security, and at the same time, help people
realize the blessings of liberty. I’ll, of course, talk about
Afghanistan and Iraq, and ask the G8 to continue to help.
So this is an historic opportunity to meet, to exchange ideas,
and to address some of the problems we all face. And I’m looking
forward to going. And now I’ll be glad to answer a couple of
Q Thank you, Mr. President. June was the deadliest month for
U.S. troops in — since we began the war in Afghanistan. Has
Afghanistan replaced Iraq as the central front of the war on
terror? And is al Qaeda and the Taliban taking the upper hand?
And also, is it possible that we could send additional U.S. troops
there sooner than the 2009 date that you’ve been talking about?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, anytime a troop loses their life,
whether it be in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere, our hearts
go out to their families. And I am so appreciative that, in a
time of danger, Americans are willing to step up and volunteer
Secondly, it has been a tough month in Afghanistan, but it’s
also been a tough month for the Taliban. You know, one reason
why there have been more deaths is because our troops are taking
the fight to a tough enemy, an enemy who doesn’t like our presence
there because they don’t like the idea of America denying safe
haven. America is pressing an ideology that’s opposite of theirs,
and so, of course, there’s going to be resistance.
I am confident that the strategy is going to work, which is
to confront the Taliban, confront elements of al Qaeda, and at
the same time, encourage the growth of a free society by good
economic policy, good education policy, and good health policy.
We’re constantly reviewing troop needs, troop levels. We’re
halfway through 2008; as I said, we’re going to increase troops
by 2009. One thing, however, that you got to understand is that
we have doubled Afghan troops — coalition troops have doubled
from two years ago. So there is an active presence and there
are more troops there than there were. But we’re constantly reassessing
and seeing whether or not we can change tactics in order to achieve
Q What do you realistically expect to accomplish at the G8 to
deal with soaring oil prices and the weak dollar, which are having
effects on the U.S. economy? Even the Chinese now are saying
that the United States needs to stabilize the dollar.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, we’re strong-dollar people in this
administration and have always been for a strong dollar, and
believe that the relative strengths of our economy will reflect
that. One thing we need to make clear when I’m with our partners
is that we’re not going to become protectionists; that we believe
in free trade and open markets. One of the fears around the world
is the United States becomes a protectionist nation.
Secondly, I’ll remind people it took us a while to get into
the energy situation we’re in and it’s going to take us a while
to get out of it. But one thing is for certain here in the United
States, that we can help alleviate shortages by drilling for
oil and gas in our own country — something I’ve been advocating
ever since I’ve been the President. I’ve been reminding our people
that we can do so in environmentally friendly ways. And yet,
the Congress, the Democratically controlled Congress now has
refused to budge. It makes no sense for — to watch these gasoline
prices rise when we know we can help affect the supply of crude
oil, which should affect the supply of gasoline prices.
And so, yes, we’ll be talking about energy. Ultimately, of course,
we’re going to transition away from hydrocarbon. But we’re now
just in a transitional period and we need more oil to be able
to do so. And I’m also going to remind people that our habits
are changing. You notice in these newspapers that automobile
sales have slowed down dramatically as automobile manufacturers
shift from cars that are using more gasoline to cars that are
more efficient, more fuel efficient.
And I’ll also tell them it’s a tough period for American consumers.
I mean, nobody likes high gasoline prices, and I fully understand
why Americans are concerned about gasoline prices. But I want
them to understand fully that we have got the opportunity to
find more crude oil here at home, in environmentally friendly
ways, and they ought to be writing their Congress people about
it; and they ought to say, you ought to be opening up ANWR and
Outer Continental Shelf, and increasing oil shale exploration,
for the sake of our consumers, as well as become less dependent
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Can you tell me what is the outlook
for getting an agreement with the emerging economies that will
limit emissions in a meaningful way in the midterm? What’s the
outlook for that, and how —
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, the first thing, John, is to make
sure we get a understanding that all of us need to agree on a
long-term goal. And part of the reluctance has been — on some
nations that are major economies — to participate at all, because
initially, I’m confident, they thought they were going to get
a free pass from any international agreement. I mean, after all,
the Kyoto international agreement excluded major economies. And
therefore, they probably think, well, maybe history will repeat
The idea is to say, look, we want to be effective. Effectiveness
comes when major economies come to the table. The first step
is to agree to a long-term goal. And I’ve talked to our sherpa
about that, and he feels pretty good that people are now coming
to the clear understanding that we’re going to have to come to
a long-term goal. Hopefully we can do it at this meeting. If
not, we’ll continue to press forward to get it done.
Secondly, one of the — a lot of the developing world says,
well, it’s unfair; the developed world gets to develop and we
don’t. Well, our attitude about that is, why don’t we set up
a technology fund; make it easier for people to be able to afford
the new technologies that nations like ours and others will bring
to the marketplace.
Thirdly, if you really do want to make sure technologies move
around the world, we got to reduce these trade barriers and tariffs
that prohibit technologies from moving like they should.
And so we’ll see, John. I mean, this is a tough issue. It’s
tough to get consensus. People — there’s a consensus that it’s
a problem, but it’s tough to get a consensus that all of us have
a responsibility to do something about it — not just some, but
all of us, so that whatever we do is effective.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. There have been a spate of recent
stories about possible military action against Iran before the
end of the year, if not by the U.S. than by Israel. And that
prompted Iranian officials to say, if they’re attacked they’ll
essentially shut down the Strait of Hormuz. One, how confident
are you that Israel will not act independently as the diplomatic
process moves forward? And two, what do you make of the mixed
messages out of Iran — one of defiance and one of willingness
THE PRESIDENT: I have always said that all options are on the
table, but the first option for the United States is to solve
this problem diplomatically. I’ve also make it clear — made
it clear that you can’t solve a problem diplomatically unless
there are other people at the table with you. And that is why
we have been pursuing multilateral diplomacy when it comes to
convincing the Iranians that the free world is sincere about,
you know, insisting that they not have the technologies necessary
to develop a nuclear weapon.
And we’re making progress along those lines. There’s been the
numerous Security Council resolutions, and in my recent trip
to Europe I was very encouraged to see these leaders stand up
and speak out about the need to keep our coalition active and
keep the pressure on.
I will talk to Martha Raddatz.
Q Let me follow up on that. Would you strongly discourage Israel
from going after Iran militarily? And do you believe when you
leave office Iran will be pursuing a nuclear weapon?
THE PRESIDENT: I have made it very clear to all parties that
the first option ought to be to solve this problem diplomatically.
And the best way to solve it diplomatically is for the United
States to work with other nations to send a focused message,
and that is, that you will be isolated and you will have economic
hardship if you continue trying to enrich.
As you might remember, I worked closely with Vladimir Putin
on this issue, when I said that — when asked at one of these
innumerable press conferences, did you — do you think they ought
to have a civilian nuclear program, I said, of course, they should,
but they can’t be trusted to enrich.
And therefore, I agree with Russia that Russia — when Russia
said she will provide enriched uranium for a civilian nuclear
power program and will collect the enriched uranium, thereby
negating the need for the Iranian regime to enrich at all.
And so we will continue working diplomatically.
Listen, thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed being with you. I
hope you’ve enjoyed being with me. You have? Thank you.
END 10:48 A.M. EDT