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Bush Thanks Queen for State Visit

Aired November 21, 2003 - 11:24   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Want to let you listen in on some comments coming from President Bush and Tony Blair, prime minister, talking about how well the trip went on that state visit right now.

TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINSTER OF ENGLAND: I'd just like to say, first of all, how delighted we both are to be at Sedgefield School here and how wonderful the welcome has been from all the teachers and pupils, and what a magnificent work -- job of what they do here.

And I also want to express my real pride that the president of the United States of America is here in my constituency and in the northeast of England. And everyone is really thrilled to see him here and delighted at the honor his presence here does us.

The last two or three days have been an interesting thing I think to reflect; been a time when some very tragic things going on in the world. It's been an opportunity for us to reflect and know that amongst the tragedy, the alliance between Great Britain, between the United States of America is an alliance that is strong and enduring, of immense importance to our two countries. And we've got to continue that alliance now.

And these terrible attacks that happened, the terrorism that we see, the destruction, the intent to take innocent life that we see around us in our world today should make us just all the more determined to do what we need to do to restore order and justice, to bring peace and freedom and democracy to people all over the world.

And it's been a fantastic opportunity these last few days just to -- as I say -- to think about this relationship between Britain and the United States, to reflect on its history, to assess the strength of it today, and to use that strength for a better future for our two countries, but also for the wider world.

And, Mr. President, George, you and the first lady, Laura, have been really welcome here in the Northeast. And as I say, it's been a fantastic day for people here. And we can't tell you how delighted we are to see you.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Prime Minister, it's been a great trip. Thanks for the invitation. Thanks for the hospitality. You and Her Majesty, the queen, have made this a special part of our life.

And it's really good to be in your own constituency. It's clear they love you up here, which is always a good sign.


We have -- you know, being with the school kids here remind us of our solemn responsibility to protect our people and to create the conditions necessary for peace to prevail when they become older. That's our biggest job.

And yesterday's attack in Turkey reminded us that we haven't complete our job yet.

BUSH: You know, as the prime minister so eloquently said yesterday, the terrorists are trying to intimidate the free world. And this man will not be intimidated and neither will I.

But more importantly, the people of Great Britain won't be intimidated, and neither will the people of America. And working together we will make the world safer and freer for boys and girls all across the world, starting with these right here.

And so, Mr. Prime Minister, this has been a fantastic trip and we're so thrilled to have been here. Thank you for your wonderful hospitality. And we look forward to -- I look forward to our weekly phone calls to stay on the offensive as you -- against the enemy.

Thank you. I've already answered your questions. If you've got another one.


BLAIR: I think the important thing is that, when these terrible terrorist attacks occurred, there's one of two responses. People can respond by being intimidated by it, by feeling, "Well, let's reduce our profile in this struggle." That's one response. Or people can respond by saying, "When we're under attack, we defend ourselves and we go out and fight with renewed strength and determination for what we believe in."

Because when you look at what we're trying to do, in trying to make sure that the world is not just -- it's not just about security, it's actually about recognizing that a world that is more free and stable and prosperous is a world that is more secure. When you recognize that that's what we're trying to do, and these people are trying, by these appalling acts of terrorism against wholly innocent people, trying to prevent that world happening, then I think the response from everyone is very clear.

And I believe and hope that that is true, not just in Britain, but all over Europe. Because, after all, what did we learn in Europe, in our history, in the history that we share with the United States of America? And that is when freedom is threatened in Europe, we had to fight.

And the reason why you have a European Union today, and we have democracy and stability and freedom in Europe, is because in the face of attacks upon that freedom, we and with our allies, the United States, defended that freedom.

BLAIR: And so, you know, I'm sure that people in other countries in Europe will feel the same way about that.

And I think you saw from their reaction, for example, in Italy, when that terrible act of terrorism killed Italian citizens who were over in Iraq trying to make that country better, I think you could see by that reaction in Italy that I think there were was instinctive knowledge that when you're attacked by people, by these wicked acts, there is only one response that it's possible to make, and that is to get out there and be absolutely up front and say, "We are not tolerating this; we're going to fight back."


BUSH: Chancellor Schroeder's committing troops to Afghanistan and it is very helpful for our coalition. Afghanistan is -- obviously been a recently liberated country from a barbaric regime. And Chancellor Schroeder understands that it is essential that Afghanistan be free and democratic and peaceful and I thank him for his significant and strong contribution.

QUESTION: Mr. Prime Minister, you've talked a lot about the alliance between two countries. A lot of your critics this week have said that Britain is not getting enough out of this alliance. What do you say to that? And do you feel that you've accomplished a lot this week for Britain?

BLAIR: What I say to that is that people sometimes talk about this alliance between Britain and the United States of America as if it were some score card. It isn't. It's an alliance of values, it's an alliance of common interests, it's an alliance of common convictions and beliefs.

And the reason why we are standing side by side with America is not because we feel forced to, it is because we want to, because we believe that is the right place to be.

And as I was saying to somebody I was discussing this with last night and we were just reflecting, when September the 11th happened, remember, obviously, many, American citizens lost their lives. This was the worst terrorist attack against British citizens.

We're in this together and we didn't -- Britain didn't go up and attack al Qaeda.

BLAIR: We didn't start a war against these people. They came to us.

And if you look right around the world at the moment, there are something like nationals from 60 different nations in the world that lost citizens in these terrorist attacks.

And it doesn't matter whether you're up front or at the back, whether you're people who've got big profile on this or a low profile, these people aren't interested in that. This is a fundamental struggle.

And so the reason that we have this alliance with the United States, the reason I'm proud to have the president here, the reason why, I believe, the vast majority of my country is proud of the alliance with the United States, is not because there's some payback that's going to be given to us. It's not about that. It's about knowing that this is a struggle in which we're both engaged, just as in my father's generation they knew there was a struggle in which we both had to be engaged. And thank goodness both of us were, because that's the reason we're standing in a free country today.

BUSH: Listen, thank you. One comment on that: This leader and this country are willing to take on hard tasks in the name of freedom and peace. And so is America. And by working together, we will be able to accomplish a lot in these hard things.

You know, as I said in my comments that we are fortunate to have friends. I'm fortunate to have a friend like Tony Blair. America's fortunate to have friends like the people of Great Britain because the people of Great Britain have got grip and strength and determination and are willing to take on a challenge.

And we're being challenged. We're challenged by killers, cold- blooded killers. And we're going to prevail. And we're more likely to prevail working together. And that's the importance of the relationship.

Listen, thank you all. It's been a wonderful time being here in this great country.


COLLINS: Those words coming today from Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush at the Sedgefield School talking with children and the reporters there. After four days in England, President Bush is headed home now.


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