Transcript: Joint Press Conference with President Bush and Prime Minister Blair

Tuesday, June 7, 2005; 4:20 PM

The following is a transcript of a joint press appearance by President Bush and United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair.

BUSH: Thank you all. Good afternoon. Laura and I are really honored to welcome the prime minister and Cherie back to the White House. Welcome, Tony. Glad you're here. Congratulations on your great victory.

It was a landmark victory, and I'm really thrilled to be able to work with you to spread freedom and peace over the next years. Our alliance with Great Britain is strong, and it's essential to peace and security.

Together, our two nations worked to liberate Europe from fascism. Together, we defended freedom during the Cold War. Today, we're standing together again to fight the war on terror, to secure democracy and freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan and the broader Middle East, and to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

As we face the challenges and opportunities of a new century, our alliance is stronger than ever. Prime Minister Blair and I share a common vision of a world that is free, prosperous and at peace. When men and women are free to chose their own governments, to speak their minds and to pursue a good life for their families, they build a strong, prosperous and just society.

This is the vision chosen by Iraqis in elections in January. And the United States and Britain will stand with the Iraqi people as they continue their journey toward freedom and democracy. We'll support Iraqis as they take the lead in providing their own security.

Our strategy is clear: We're training Iraqi forces so they can take the fight to the enemy, so they can defend their country, and then our troops will come home with the honor they have earned.

By spreading freedom throughout the broader Middle East, we'll end the bitterness and hatred that feed the ideology of terror. We're working together to help build the democratic institutions of a future Palestinian state. We support Israel's disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. We're advancing the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

We also share a commitment to help the people of Africa build strong democratic institutions and healthy economies. The prime minister has made the promotion of reform and development in Africa a centerpiece of the G-8 summit that the United Kingdom will be hosting next month. And I'm grateful for your vision and I'm grateful for your leadership on this important subject.

Helping those who suffer and preventing the senseless death of millions of people in Africa is a central commitment of my administration's foreign policy. We're making historic progress in helping the poorest countries in Africa gain a fresh start and to build a future of greater opportunity and prosperity. America will continue to lead the world to meet our duty in helping the world's most vulnerable people.

Over the past four years, we have tripled our assistance to sub- Saharan Africa, and now America accounts for nearly a quarter of all the aid in the region, and we are committed to doing more in the future. We also agree that highly indebted developing countries that are on the path to reform should not be burdened by mountains of debt.

To develop and make available clean and efficient technologies that'll help attain these goals has got to be part of our dialogue at the G-8. I look forward to also continuing our discussion to support freedom and democracy in the broader Middle East. The United States congratulates the United Kingdom as it takes over the presidency of the E.U. on July the 1st.

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