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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Official Visit

Aired January 14, 2003 - 11:42   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: The president of Poland is visiting with President Bush today at the White House. We're about to get some videotape in from that meeting, where we expect to hear comments from President Bush on two very big topics.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We've been reading some of them have bee sneaking out from this meeting, and they've been running on the wires this morning, President Bush has already been talking about Iraq, saying he is sick and tired of Iraqi deceptions, and he says that Iraq is running out of time to comply.

KAGAN: Also talking about North Korea a very different way that that country's nuclear crisis is being handled. Now the president coming out saying willing to talk to North Korea.

Actually, let's just go ahead and listen to the president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we're going to do here is have a couple of opening statements, two questions from the American press, two questions from the Polish press.

Let me first start by saying how much I'm honored that my friend, the president of Poland, is back in Washington. We're thrilled you're here. My only regret is that you didn't bring your beautiful wife with you, the first lady of Poland. But we're here to have a substantive talk on a lot of issues, issues ranging from the war on terror to the recent decision by the Polish government on the purchase of U.S.-made aircraft, how best to implement that decision so that the Polish people benefit. So the decision's not only good for the defense ministry of Poland, but it's good for the people of Poland, and the president cares deeply about the people of Poland and we'll have a good discussion along those lines.

I have got no better a friend in Europe today than Poland. One of the reasons why is because this man has made a commitment to work together, as equal partners in the war on terror, on the desire to life the -- to find freedom for people who live in misery.

And so, Mr. President, we're so glad you're back, and welcome back to the Oval Office.

ALEKSANDER KWASNIEWSKI, PRESIDENT OF POLAND: Thank you.

BUSH: I appreciate you. KWASNIEWSKI: Mr. President, after a very short time because I paid an actual visit to the United States July of last year, I'm again in the Oval Office in the White House in Washington, and I think this is a good sign that our cooperation, our relations are very active and very friendly.

KWASNIEWSKI: Now we have consultations where we discuss all the problems concerning war (inaudible) the international situation, and I think today is the best time to discuss because before action, before last decision, it's necessary to exchange our opinion of experiences, of some ideas and that's just a very substantial element of trip to Washington now.

Second, what President Bush mentioned, Poland decided to have your fighter, F-16. It was very transparent, very open and very well prepared tender, and I think we have a chance not only to have a good place for Polish army, not only to have a good contribution to our NATO membership, but we have a chance to open a new chapter in the current relations between Poland and the United States, and this is the next reason of my visit and of our discussions.

KWASNIEWSKI: America has a unique chance to accelerate economic activities, investment activities in Poland. We are open. We are prepared. We have good partners. We have specialities. And what is my satisfaction, America wants to do it, so that is what is good news, good message for all of us here in the United States and Poland as well.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: First of all, there's been concern here in our country about North Korea, and I'm absolutely convinced this issue will be solved in a peaceful way. I want to remind the American people that prior to North Korea making the decision it made that I had instructed our secretary of state to approach North Korea about a bold initiative, an initiative which would talk about energy and food because we care deeply about the suffering of the North Korean people.

BUSH: And then, the North Koreans made a decision. And the decision they made was to ignore international norm, ignore treaties that they -- agreements that they had reached and start building potential nuclear weapons, enriching uranium. And now, they have expelled or are in the process of kicking out IAEA people.

I view this as an opportunity to bind together nations in the neighborhood and around the world to make it clear to the North Koreans that we expect this issue to be resolved peacefully, and we expect them to disarm. We expect them not to develop nuclear weapons. And if they so choose to do so -- their choice -- then I will reconsider whether or not we'll start the bold initiative that I've talked to Secretary Powell about.

People say, "Well, are you willing to talk to North Korea?" Of course, we are. But what this nation won't do is be blackmailed. And what this nation will do is, use this as an opportunity to bring the Chinese and the Russians and the South Koreans and the Japanese to the table to solve this problem peacefully.

KWASNIEWSKI: I agree. I think it's -- the Korean case, absolutely not to compare with the Iraqi case.

KWASNIEWSKI: And we have a chance to discuss about North Korea with very serious partners which are thinking the same way. I mean, Japan, Russia, China, South Korea: We have a chance to propose something very positive to North Korea, maybe not core (ph) regime because when I read some information about this regime that's, what, it's not so easy to propose something.

(LAUGHTER)

But, absolutely, I'm sure that we have enough possibilities to propose positive solution for this case, but with all international partners.

BUSH: Would you care to call on somebody from Poland, the Polish press?

QUESTION: Can the war on terror be decisively won? (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Well, let me start. You bet the war on terror can be won. And not only can it be won, we're going to win it. And the way you win it is you work together. You share intelligence. You complement each other's efforts. If we find somebody thinking about doing something to our friends in Poland, we'll share the information with its government and vice versa.

We will work together to cut off money, and we will hunt the killers down one at a time, and that's exactly what we are doing and exactly what we're going to do. We're going to find them. They think they can hide in a cave in the outer reaches of Afghanistan. We will go in the cave and find them. And one by one, we are dismantling this terrorist network.

BUSH: It requires a lot of communication. It requires a lot of cooperation. And it requires a lot of patience. And this government has got all three.

QUESTION: Mr. President, there are (OFF-MIKE) United States. What is your perception of all the Polish Americans?

BUSH: I think that one of the greatest contributions to Poland to our country is Polish Americans, people who are enterprising, hardworking, God-fearing, family-loving people. One of the great strengths of our country is our diversity, and part of our diversity is the fact that a lot of our citizens were born in Poland and/or their fathers and mothers were born in Poland or their grandparents were born in Poland.

Truly one of the great blessings and gifts from Poland to this country is the Polish heritage.

BUSH: Scott (ph)?

QUESTION: Mr. President...

BUSH: I mean, Steve (ph). Is the name Steve (ph) or Scott (ph)?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: Listening in to a meeting between President Bush and the Polish president, Alexander Kwasniewski. We apologize for the audio problems on that tape. But we hope you're able to listen, hearing the president talk about North Korea and Iraq. For more on that, let's bring in John King from the White House -- John..

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, two quick ones, Daryn. Obviously, the thing that I think that will generate the most headlines out of this is the president's tough language about Iraq. He says there's no timetable for deciding whether to go to military action, but that he is sick and tired of the deception from Iraq, that he sees no evidence that Saddam Hussein is cooperating in compliance with the new United Nations Security resolution, and that -- quote -- "time is running out." How do you bridge that between what we heard just a short time ago from Koffi Annan, the U.N. Secretary General, saying the inspectors need time to fill in the gaps, to ask Iraq questions? That will be the challenge for this administration in the days and weeks ahead.

But the president making clear time is running out, and that he's sick and tired that as the U.S. military buildup escalates on North Korea, the president trying to say it is not inconsistent to say on the one hand, if North Korea gets rid of its nuclear weapons programs in a verifiable way, he is prepared to go back to offering energy and other assistance. The president insisting that is not inconsistent with the administration's pledge that it will not be blackmailed by North Korea. Still awaiting to see whether there can be a diplomatic breakthrough on that front. The president says he's confident there ultimately will be -- Daryn.

KAGAN: John King at the White House. John, thanks so much.

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