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pd29no04 Remarks at the Closing Session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation...
when it comes to Social Security and Medicare. In my recent campaign, I made it clear that I think it's very important for us to address those long-term unfunded liabilities. For example, in Social Security, I talked about the need for personal savings accounts for younger workers as a part of a solution. Frankly, the Chilean model serves as a good example for those that are going to be writing the law in the United States. And so my commitment to the international world is that we'll deal with the short-term deficit and the long-term unfunded liabilities, so that people can then take a look at our dollar in terms of fiscal austerity in Washington. Press Secretary Scott McClellan. The first question from the American press will come from Finlay Lewis of Copley News Service. Guest-Worker Program Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Your administration recently received a letter from 21 or 22 Members of the House raising skeptical questions about your guest-worker program. Now, you met with President Fox earlier today, and I'm wondering how much--specifically how much political capital--that you're so proud of--you're going to spend on trying to overcome the built-in resistance to that plan. Specifically, what kind of steps are you proposing to take to sell it to the Congress? President Bush. Finlay, I am proud of my political capital. That's what you get when you win an election, and in the course of that election, I talked about immigration reform. I think it's important for our country to recognize that people are coming to our country to do jobs that Americans won't do, and therefore, I think a program that recognizes the desire of some to come to America to work and the desire of some in America to employ them makes sense. It makes sense not only for our economy; it makes sense for border security. We'd much rather have security guards chasing down terrorists or drugrunners or drug smugglers than people coming to work. And so, therefore, I think a guest-worker program is important, and I look forward to working with Congress on it. I get letters all the time from people that are trying to steer me one way or the other when it comes to legislation. But I'm going to move forward. In the letter, I noticed that [[Page 2854]] they said, ``Well, this is because''--they're objecting to the program because it's an amnesty program. It's not an amnesty program. It's a worker program. It's a program that recognizes, however, that if somebody wants to become a citizen in the United States, they can get a line--in line with the people who have done so legally. I think it's necessary. I think it's an important piece of legislation. I look forward to working it. You asked me what my tactics are. I'm going to find supporters on the Hill and move it. Iraq Q. President Bush, good evening. Conservative calculations say that the Iraqi war has left many dead. This action has led to enormous protests all over the world. This week we saw them in Chile. You stated that you like to hear the wisdom of President Lagos. At any point did Chile say no to this invasion--Chile did say no to this invasion. Who was right and who was wrong? And how can we change this negative image of the White House that exists in large parts of the world right now? President Bush. President Lagos didn't agree with my decision, and I respect that. He's still my friend. Secondly, whether people agree with my decision or not, there are two things that they've got to agree with: One, the world is better off with Saddam Hussein not in power; and secondly, it is important to succeed in Iraq. It's important to develop a democracy there. I fully recognize some do not believe that a democracy can take hold in Iraq. I strongly disagree. I believe not only democracy can take hold in Iraq, I believe a democracy will take hold in Iraq. I noticed today that the elections are on schedule for January * the 30th. Think how far that society has come from the days of mass grave and torture chambers to a day in which they're going to be voting for a President. Prime Minister Allawi, the current leader of Iraq, is a strong, capable democrat. He believes in the possibilities of the people of Iraq, and he knows that a free society will unleash those possibilities. * White House correction. And so the United States of America will stay the course, and we will complete the task. We will help Iraq develop a democracy, and the world will be better off for it. Free societies don't attack each other. Democracies listen to the aspirations of their people, not feed hatred and resentment and future terrorists. And what we're doing is the right thing in Iraq, and history will prove it right. Press Secretary McClellan. Mark Silver from the Chicago Tribune. Legislation To Restructure the Intelligence Community Q. Thank you, Mr. President. With the intelligence reform bill apparently failing, how confident are you that Secretary Rumsfeld is not partly responsible for that? Is there something more you, personally, could have done? And what does this say about your ability to achieve your own legislative agenda in the next 2 years? President Bush. I was disappointed that the bill didn't pass. I thought it was going to pass up until the last minute. So I look forward to going back to Washington to work with the interested parties to get it passed. I understand they're back into session to see if they can't get the bill passed, and I look forward to working with Members of the Senate and the House to get it passed. It's very clear I wanted the bill passed. I talked to key Members of the House, as did my Vice President. And we'll continue working with them, and hopefully, we can get a bill done. I saw the Speaker today said that the matter wasn't complete; it wasn't over; it wasn't final; that we have a chance to get a bill. And therefore, when I get home, I'm looking forward to working it. Thank you, sir. President Lagos. Thank you. Note: The President's news conference began at 8:10 p.m. at La Moneda. In his remarks, he referred to Luisa Duran de Lagos, wife of President Lagos; President Hu Jintao of China; former President Saddam Hussein of Iraq; and Prime Minister Ayad Allawi of the Iraqi Interim Government. A reporter referred to President Vicente Fox of Mexico. President Lagos spoke in Spanish, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. [[Page 2855]] <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 2855-2858] Pages 2841 2868 Week Ending Friday, November 26, 2004 The President's News Conference With President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia in Cartagena, Colombia November 22, 2004 President Uribe. Mr. President, Mrs. Laura Bush, Lina Maria, members of the delegations of the U.S. and Colombia, friends from the media, citizens of the United States, and my fellow citizens of Colombia: Mr. President, Mrs. Bush, welcome to the historic city of Cartagena de Indias, an expression of this Colombia, full of possibilities, with many problems to resolve, and with citizens who are happy, who are joyous, and who have not been made bitter by terrorism and the poverty that it has brought with it. Thank you, President Bush, and thank you, Mrs. Bush, for honoring us with your visit. We greatly appreciate the support of your Government and of the U.S. people. While the Colombian people fight for democracy, terrorism has assassinated democratic fighters. While the Colombian people fight for growth, employment, and social justice, terrorism has halted our economy. It made poverty more acute and produced internal displacement and a stampede towards other countries. While the Colombian army destroys the antipersonnel landmines and gives the world the example of facing the terrorist threat by following the rule of law and respecting human rights, the terrorists have killed 600 Colombians over the last year, especially members of law enforcement forces. While the Colombian people love to live in peace and respect the ethical rule of not hurting your neighbor, terrorism only wreaks havoc and destruction. The drugs that finance terrorism have sacrificed generations of Colombians, with thousands of young people who have been assassinated or put in jail, and their families are saddened. The drugs that finance terrorism threaten to destroy the Amazonian jungle. They already tried this by eliminating 1.7 million hectares of tropical forests in Colombia. The support of the United States left behind speeches and has become an effective type of help. And we trust that the United States and President Bush will continue with that help until Colombia is free of the scourge of terrorism and drugs. We cannot stop this task halfway through. We will win, but we have not won yet. We have made progress, but the serpent is still alive. President Bush, our success against terrorism will be the success of the people, of democracy, of the supremacy of law. Our success will be the guarantee for the happiness of our children and future generations. Our success will avoid contagion to other neighboring countries, and our success will be a reason for pride in the U.S. and Colombia for those who have suffered from the scourge of drugs. The negotiation of a free trade agreement is a step in the process to unify the Americas, and we are sure that it will be an agreement reached with equity, offering opportunity for the agricultural sector, for small business, activities that we need to bolster in order to provide true alternatives of revindication for the poor and to foster the creativity of our social enterprises that are based on our capitalist society. The respect for intellectual property must be joined to the rights of researchers so that science can move forward and so that the people will have the right to have universal access to new medications and welfare. We attach great importance to this visit, President Bush, just after your new victory and at the beginning of your second term. This is a new example of your friendship for Colombia and a clear indication of a renewed interest in Latin America. Latin America needs social cohesion, good governance, and trust in integration. The role of the United States in the multilateral institutions, in the IMF, your signals to the markets will be definitive so that this continent can build social justice. The role of the United States in the struggle against terrorism and in the respect for the tolerant debate of opposing ideas is definitive for good governance on the continent. The equity we need to guarantee in the free trade agreement is going to be a beacon to establish the necessary confidence for all the Americas to become integrated. In this same spot your father stood, President George Bush, along with President Virgilio Barco, at a summit meeting against drugs. This historic city is pleased to show you its past and its promise for the future. [[Page 2856]] Endowed by nature like other parts of Colombia, it is grateful for the generous help of the United States. This beautiful city, which is now adorned by your visit, wants you to take back to the people of the United States an invitation to come and visit. In order to do so and with your help, we have made a major effort, Mr. President, which translates into greater security. We welcome you, President Bush, with gratitude and with friendship, in the midst of our emotional reflections of Abraham Lincoln and Simon Bolivar, both of them paradigms of a commitment to their peoples and the idea of authority and order to respect the law. In Gettysburg, President Lincoln made the democratic statement that establishes that the Government ``of the people, by the people, and for the people must never perish from the face of this Earth.'' The message to the Ocana Convention by the Liberator, Bolivar, is for us a proposal that the strength of the state must guarantee the life of the weak and must guarantee the Government and the strength of institutions as a warranty of virtue and the permanence of our Nation. Thank you very much, President Bush, for this wonderful visit. Thank you, Mrs. Bush. President Bush. I appreciate those kind words. Laura and I are so honored to be here. We want to thank you and Mrs. Uribe for such warm hospitality, such gracious hospitality. I want to thank your Cabinet and thank the Colombian people as well. I'm proud to be with my friend President Uribe. El es mi amigo. He's a strong--and he's courageous, like the nation he leads. He has been tireless in the fight against terror, and he's making progress on behalf of the people of Colombia. President Uribe and the Colombian people are dedicated to the triumph of democracy and the rule of law against the forces of violence. And the United States stands with you. Our two nations share in the struggle against drugs. The drug traffickers who practice violence and intimidation in this country send their addictive and deadly products to the United States. Defeating them is vital to the safety of our peoples and to the stability of this hemisphere. President Uribe and I also share a basic optimism. This war against narcoterrorism can and will be won, and Colombia is well on its way to that victory. During the President's tenure in office, he's built an impressive record. Kidnapings in Colombia are significantly down. Terrorist attacks and homicides have declined. Cocaine seizures have risen dramatically. And since July of last year, dozens of leaders and financiers of the FARC narcoterrorist organization have been killed or captured. President Uribe has also reformed Colombia's judicial system and is aggressively fighting corruption. My Nation will continue to help Colombia prevail in this vital struggle. Since the year 2000, when we began Plan Colombia, the United States has provided more than $3 billion in vital aid. We'll continue providing aid. We've helped Colombia to strengthen this democracy, to combat drug production, to create a more transparent and effective judicial system, to increase the size and professionalism of its military and police forces, to protect human rights, and to reduce corruption. Mr. President, you and your Government have not let us down. Plan Colombia enjoys wide bipartisan support in my country, and next year I will ask our Congress to renew its support so that this courageous nation can win its war against narcoterrorists. Full and final victory also requires the spread of prosperity and progress throughout this nation and throughout this region. President Uribe's economic reforms have created jobs and improved living standards. Investor confidence is up. Unemployment is down, and growth is strong. Our two nations also share a strong commitment to advancing free and fair trade and economic growth throughout the Americas. We're working hard on a free trade agreement that will link the United States and Colombia, as well as other Andean nations of South America, in a wider economic partnership. As hope advances, violence and extremism will retreat. President Uribe has a vision for a better Colombia, a vision of peace and prosperity that he is pursuing with skill and energy. He is a fierce opponent of terror and drug trafficking. He's a defender of Colombia's democracy, and I'm proud to call him friend. Gracias, Senor Presidente. [[Page 2857]] President Uribe. Thank you, President. Thank you very much. Plan Colombia/Free Trade Agreement Q. Mr. President, President Bush, good afternoon. How far are you willing to pursue the groups that you have labeled as terrorists in Colombia, including the self-defense groups? And how do you see the peace process that is being carried out here with the self-defense groups? And President Uribe, what did President Bush actually say to you about helping Colombia and being a little more flexible with regard to the FTA, especially with the farmers in our country? Thank you. President Bush. First, let me talk about the security situation and the President's strategy to defeat groups like the FARC. If I didn't think he had an effective strategy and the willingness to fight the FARC, I wouldn't be standing here in this great nation saying I'm going to work with Congress to continue the support. In other words, I believe in results. My administration is a results-oriented administration. And so when I first met with the President in the Oval Office a couple of years ago, we talked about how to achieve results for the good of Colombia and for the good of our hemisphere. And he said he was going to do the following things, and he did. And so to answer your question, we will support him in this strategy, because it's working. President Uribe. Thank you, President. Can I answer him first? The issue of the free trade agreement--we understand that the FTA has to be totally equitable. It has to be passed
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