Op with Polish President Kwasniewski
The Oval Office
The White House
January 14, 2003
11:28 A.M. EST
PRESIDENT BUSH: 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, to how best to implement that decision, to let
the Polish people benefit so the decision is 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've got no better 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 lift
the -- 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
PRESIDENT KWASNIEWSKI: Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I appreciate you.
PRESIDENT KWASNIEWSKI: Mr. President, dear friends, so after very short time
-- because I paid official visit to the United States July last year -- I am
again in Oval Office, in White House in Washington, and I think this is a good
sign that our cooperation, our relations are very active and very friendly.
Now we'll have consultations, we will discuss all the problems concerning war
against terror, at the national situation. And I think today is the best time
to discuss, because before action, before last decisions it's necessary to exchange
opinions, of experiences, of some ideas. And that is very substantial element
of my 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 good place for Polish army, not only to have
a good contribution to our NATO membership -- but we have a chance to open new
chapter in the economic relations between Poland and United States, and this
is the next reason of my visit and of our discussion.
America has unique chance to accelerate economic activities, investment activities
in Poland. We are open, we are prepared, we have good practice, we have specialists.
And what is my satisfaction, America wants to do it. That's what is good news,
good message for all of us here in the United States and Poland, as well.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Fournier.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Jack Kelly has very publicly promised North Korea energy aid
in exchange for Pyongyang giving up its nuclear program. Isn't that rewarding
North Korea for bad behavior -- something you promised never to do?
PRESIDENT BUSH: First of all, there's a big 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.
And then the North Koreans made a decision. And the decision they made was to
ignore international norm, ignore treaties that they had -- agreements that
they had reached, and start building potential nuclear weapons, enriching uranium.
And now they have expelled -- are in the process of kicking out IEAE [sic] 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 will start the bold initiative that
I 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 South
Koreans and the Japanese to the table to solve this problem peacefully.
PRESIDENT KWASNIEWSKI: I agree. I think in the Korean case absolutely not to
compare with Iraq's case. 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 for regime -- because when I read some information about this
regime, it's not so easy to propose something -- something special. But absolutely.
I am sure that we have enough possibilities to propose positive solution for
this case, but with all international partners.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Would you care to call on somebody from Poland, Polish press?
QUESTION: Can the war of terror be decisively won? This is a question for both Presidents.
And what would be Poland's role in the war of terror -- on terror?
PRESIDENT BUSH: 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 this 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 are 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. 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 10 million of the Polish Americans in the United
States. What is your perception about the Polish Americans?
PRESIDENT 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.
QUESTION: Sir. Mr. President, the U.N. weapons inspectors say they need until --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Is it Steve or Scott?
QUESTION: The weapons inspectors say they need until March, maybe six months, maybe
a year. Is this what you had in mind when you went to the U.N. back in September?
PRESIDENT BUSH: What I have in mind for Saddam Hussein is to disarm. The United
Nations spoke with one voice. We said, we expect Saddam Hussein, for the sake
of peace, to disarm. That's the question: Is Saddam Hussein disarming? He's
been given 11 years to disarm. And so the world came together and we have given
him one last chance to disarm. So far, I haven't seen any evidence that he is
Time is running out on Saddam Hussein. He must disarm. I'm sick and tired of
games and deception. And that's my view of timetables.