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President Bush Speaks in Berlin

Aired May 23, 2002 - 07:13   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to cut off from the vice president and take you directly to Berlin, where the president of the United States is addressing reporters -- let's listen.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The chancellor and I have met -- I think it's now five times -- and I value our friendship. I appreciate the frank discussions we have.

BUSH: I'm here to let the German people know how proud I am of our relationship -- our personal relationship, and how proud I am of the relationship between our two countries.

Germany is an incredibly important ally to the United States of America, and we respect the German people. We appreciate democracy in this land, and we appreciate the struggles that Germany has gone through, and we value their friendship going forward. In my speech today in the Bundestag will talk about the problems that we can solve together, that we share so much, particularly when it comes to values, and our deep abiding concern for humanity and for peace.

One of the things I like about Gerhard is he's willing to confront problems in an open way and he is -- hopefully, like people consider me -- a problem solver, that we're willing to use our respective positions to solve problems, such as making sure our respective homelands are secure from terrorist attack. I'm going to talk clearly about that today, about the need for us to continue to cooperate and to fight against terror -- people who hate freedom, people who are challenging civilization itself.

I want to thank, again, the German people and the German government for the commitment to Afghanistan. The chancellor made a very tough but I think correct decision in sending troops to Afghanistan, and those troops have performed brilliantly.

BUSH: I know you've lost life, as have we, and our hearts go out to the families of the soldiers who died.

But in my judgment, the sacrifice is necessary because we defend freedom, and freedom is precious.

We talked about weapons of mass destruction, and the need for us to be concerned about weapons of mass destruction. As I will mention in my speech, one way to help our mutual security is to work together to solve regional problems, and we spent a lot of time talking about the Middle East.

The German government has been very helpful in helping set the foundation for peace. Both of us agree that there ought to be two states -- a Palestinian state and, obviously, the Israeli state, living side by side in peace.

A hot topic today, of course, in the world and one that we've spent a lot of time talking about, as Gerhard mentioned, is the India- Pakistan issue.

My point is, is that we've got a reliable friend and ally in Germany. This is a confident country, led by a confident man, and that's good. That's good for world peace. It's good for those of us who love and embrace freedom.

So Mr. Chancellor, thanks for giving me a chance to come and visit with you. Thanks for your hospitality. Thanks for giving me a chance to speak to the Bundestag here in a little bit.

And we'll be glad to answer a couple of questions for you.


SCHROEDER (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Well, there is the possibility to put three questions from each side. These, possibly the guests could start.

BUSH: Did he just call on you?


BUSH: OK, sorry, Ron, have you got a question?



BUSH: Wait a minute, how many questions are you going to ask?

QUESTION: Do the American people (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Well, first of all, I've got great confidence in our CIA and FBI. I know what's taken place since the attacks on September 11th: Our communications between the two agencies is much better than ever before; we're doing a much better job of ensuring intelligence.

I, of course, want the Congress to take a look at what took place prior to September 11. But since it deals with such sensitive information, in my judgment, what's best for the ongoing war against terror, that the investigation be done in the Intelligence Committee.

There are committees set up with both Republicans and Democrats who understand the obligations of upholding our secrets and our sources and methods of collecting intelligence. And, therefore, I think that's the best place for Congress to take a good look at the events leading up to September 11.

The other question?


BUSH: Oh, yes. Well, one of the things that is very important is that the information given to the president be protected because we don't want to give away sources and uses and methodology of intelligence-gathering.

And one of the things that we're learning is in order to bring this war on terror, we've got to have the best intelligence-gathering possible. And not only do we have to share intelligence between friends, which we do, but we're still at war. We've still got threats to the homeland that we've got to deal with, and it's very important for us not to hamper our ability to wage that war, and so there are ways to gather information to help improve the system without jeopardizing the capacity for us gather intelligence. Those are the ways I support.

GERHARD SCHROEDER, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Saddam Hussein is a dictator, there can be no doubt, nothing else, and he does act without looking after his people whatsoever. We're agreed when it comes to that.

We're also agreed, in fact, that it is up to the international community of states to go in and exercise a lot of political pressure in the most marked possible way. The United Nations has decided to do so as well. We need to pressurize him so that international arms inspectors can get into the country to find out what weapons of mass destruction can be found in his hands. I mean, there is no difference there between President Bush and myself when it comes to the assessment of this situation.

SCHROEDER (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We then obviously also talked about the question as to what should happen in the future, what could happen in the future.

I have taken notice of the fact that his excellency, the president, does think about all possible alternatives, but despite what people occasionally present here in rumors, there are no concrete military plans of attack on Iraq, and that is why, for me, there is no reason whatsoever to speculate about when and if and how.

I think such speculation should be forbidden. That, certainly, is not the right thing for a chancellor. And I am in this position.

We will be called upon to take our decision, if and when, after consultations. And we've been assured that such consultations are going to be happening. And then we'll take a decision.

And before that, I think we should not speculate about serious questions like this one.

ZAHN: We just wanted to give you an idea of some of the statements coming from President Bush and chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. This in advance of a speech the president will deliver about an hour from now. The president pretty forcefully saying just moments ago that he believes the communication between the FBI and CIA have improved, that he thinks it's appropriate for the intelligence committees of the Senate and House to look into why the clues weren't better put together to predict what might have happened on September 11th. But made it quite clear he was opposed to any special commission looking into this and the president also saying that he does view a time when you have a Palestinian state and an Israel state living side by side in peace, giving us a short preview of what we might expect about an hour from now when he delivers his full-blown speech at the Reichstag in Berlin.




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