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Bush Calls on Iran to Give Up Nuclear Ambitions

Remarks by President Bush at Press Conference with Chancellor Schröder
Electoral Palace Mainz, Germany, February 23, 2005



Thank you very much for your kind hospitality. And Laura and I are looking forward to eating lunch with you and Doris. And we're so honored that you would greet us here in your beautiful country.

I am - it's obvious that my - it's - an obvious decision was to come here on my first trip since my inauguration. After all, Europe is America's closest ally. I said yesterday, and I want to say it again: The European project is important to our country. We want it to succeed. And in order for Europe to be a strong, viable partner, Germany must be strong and viable, as well. And in order for us to have good relations with Europe, we must have good relations with Germany. And that is why this trip is an important trip for my country and for me.

And so I want to thank you very much for the chance to be here, a chance to reconfirm the importance of the transatlantic alliance, and a chance to talk about important issues. Gerhard went over the issues; I will go over them briefly, as well.

First, I do want to say how much I appreciated Minister [of the Interior Otto] Schily coming to Washington, D.C. I had a good visit with him, as did other people in my administration. I appreciate so very much the strong cooperation between Germany and the United States when it comes to sharing intelligence and to working together to find and arrest and bring to justice people who would do harm to our respective peoples, or anybody else in the world. And I want to thank you for that good work.

Secondly, I appreciated your kind words about Iraq, and the need for us to put past differences behind us and focus on the people of that country. After all, over 8 million people said, we want to be free. And in the face of incredible threat to their life and safety, they voted. And as democracies, we have now decided to help them. And I want to thank you for your contributions. I fully understand the limitations of German contribution. However the contributions that Gerhard Schröder talked about are not limited, they're important. Whether it be ministry building or training of law enforcement officers, those are vital contributions, and I appreciate - including debt relief, by the way, is a part of the vital contribution.

We spent a lot of time talking about the Middle East. And I assured the Chancellor that this is a primary objective of my administration, is to help to move the process along. Peace will be achieved because the Israelis and the Palestinians want peace. And our job is to help them achieve that. And I look forward to Condoleezza Rice going to the meeting in London shortly to help the Palestinians develop the institutions necessary for a free society to emerge.

I said in my State of the Union that I believe a settlement on this important issue is within reach. I said that because I believe it. And because it is within reach, it is vital for all of us to do - to work together to help both parties achieve the two-state solution - two states living side-by-side in peace.

We spent time talking about Iran, and I want to thank Gerhard for taking the lead, along with Britain and France, on this important issue. It's vital that the Iranians hear the world speak with one voice that they shouldn't have a nuclear weapon. You know, yesterday I was asked about the U.S. position, and I said all options are on the table. That's part of our position. But I also reminded people that diplomacy is just beginning. Iran is not Iraq. We've just started the diplomatic efforts, and I want to thank our friends for taking the lead and I will - we will work with them to convince the mullahs that they need to give up their nuclear ambitions.

I - we also talked about the environment. And obviously we've had differences on Kyoto. Those differences were first made known in 2001 on my trip to Europe. I assured the Chancellor that the United States cares about the quality of our air, obviously; that we spend $5.8 billion on technology on an annual basis to help - to help develop ways to be able to maintain our standards of living, and at the same time, be good stewards of the environment. And we have a great opportunity to work with a great nation like Germany to share research, share intelligence, and not only to make sure that kind of - I mean, share technologies and to make sure that kind of technology is available for not only our own country, but for developing countries like China and India.

And so we have a great opportunity, I think, Gerhard, and I appreciate you for seeing that opportunity, as well. This is an important trip for me, and it's - and one of the most important stops of all is right here in Germany. And I appreciate your - appreciate your hospitality.

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Updated: April 2005