Press Availability with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Camp David, Maryland
June 8, 2002
10:32 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, thank you. Welcome to Camp David. It is a joy
for me and Laura to have you here at this beautiful part of our country, a place
where we like to come and relax, and a place where we like to welcome our friends.
We had a -- the President and I had a good dinner last night. We talked a lot
about our mutual concerns, opportunities to make the world a more peaceful place.
And we got up and had a good private visit, and then met with our delegations.
First, I want to thank the President of Egypt for his country's strong support
in our war against terror. I know there's been a lot of focus on obviously the
Middle East, and I'll mention that in a second, but we're still in a war against
people who want to harm America and people who want to harm Egypt. And we've
had -- we've got a good friend, Americans have a good friend, when it comes
to this war on terror, in Egypt.
The President understands that we've got a long way to go in order to be successful.
He's now been told again by me that my most important job is to secure our homeland,
and this country is plenty tough and plenty patient and plenty determined to
achieve that objective.
Obviously, we spent time talking about the Middle East, and we share a common
vision of two states living side by side in peace. And I appreciated so very
much his -- listening to his ideas as to how to achieve that objective, that
grand goal. The world -- the Palestinians hurt, and I know that. And my concern
is for the Palestinian people. And my view is, is that if the Palestinian people
have a government that is transparent and open and willing to serve the people,
Israel will be better off, Egypt will be better off, America will be better
off, and we're more likely to achieve peace. And we discussed how to achieve
The President of Egypt has had a lot of experience, and I appreciate his experience,
and I appreciate his advice. Anytime he is willing to give it, I'm willing to
listen. And so, Mr. President, I want to thank you for your time, and I appreciate
your friendship, and welcome you to Camp David.
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: Thank you very much for that. I will deliver my speech in
PRESIDENT BUSH: He's going to speak in Arabic. That's good, the American press
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: I would like to thank President Bush for his welcoming remarks,
which reflects the deep friendship between us. During our stay at Camp David
here, I conducted extensive discussions with President Bush on a range of issues
of mutual concern, most important of which was the deteriorating situation in
the Middle East, and especially the Palestinian-Israeli track and its negative
impact on regional and international security in general.
There is no doubt that the peace process in the Middle East is passing through
a critical junction which requires us to exert all possible efforts on the political
and security tracks, to rebuild the confidence between the parties, on one hand,
and to relaunch a serious political negotiations aimed at final settlement on
While Egypt's leading quest for peace in the Middle East has achieved its objectives
here at Camp David 24 years ago, we have come back together today fully committed
to exert our maximum efforts once again, so that peace and security may prevail
in the Middle East region.
And I must affirm here that your personal role, Mr. President, and the role
of the United States today remains as important as was America's contribution
towards reaching the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel more than two decades
ago. And we look forward to the continuation of the effective role.
The entire international community, ladies and gentlemen, has supported the
courageous vision of peace in the Middle East put forward by President Bush
in his speech before the United Nations last fall. This vision was adopted by
the Security Council in its Resolution 1397, which affirmed that peace in the
Middle East must be based on two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by
side. We in Egypt, and the entire Arab world, support this vision, and strongly
believe that it represents the only way to achieve progress towards the settlement
of the conflict.
Now it is time to move to implement our common vision, in an effective and systematic
way. And we have a strong foundation to implement that vision, and that is represented
in the principles adopted by the Madrid peace conference, and supported by the
initiative adopted by the Arab League summit conference in Beirut, which affirmed
Arab rights, while responding to all Israeli concerns. These are the terms of
references that should govern all future efforts.
For us to be able to achieve this vision, the confidence that was lost between
the two parties during the previous period must be rebuilt. as we embark on
serious political negotiations that will contribute to the realization of our
objectives. In this context, Israel must end the siege imposed on the Palestinian
people, and withdraw its forces to positions occupied on September 28, 2000;
and halt assassinations and the repeated incursions in the territories under
the control of the Palestinian Authority; and immediately halt all settlement
activities in the occupied territories, including the illegal confiscation of
land and expansion of settlements under the pretext of natural growth or any
At the same time, the Palestinian Authority must continue to intensify its efforts
towards restructuring in a way that facilitates the better performance of its
functions based on the principles of transparency and trust, in preparation
for the establishment of its sovereign independent state. The Palestinian Authority
must continue in its firm implementation of President Arafat's decisive commitment
to halt the violence and intensify the security cooperation and coordination
under the supervision of the United States.
It also falls upon all of us, as partners in peace, to work towards alleviating
the suffering of the Palestinian people, through economic and humanitarian assistance,
so as to remove the feeling of despair that stands in the way of reaching the
Mr. President, Egypt and the Arab states have affirmed their condemnation and
rejection of the use of force and violence against civilians. Egypt has also
affirmed its commitment to continue its major role in the search for peace.
At the same time, the United States has affirmed, by putting forward this clear
vision for peace, its commitment to effectively play its role in its capacity
as the main sponsor of the peace process.
We look forward to a strong American engagement in the coming phase to implement
this vision, in the context of an agreed time frame and through negotiations
on a permanent settlement that should lead to the establishment of a Palestinian
state on the entire West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem. For the settlement
to be just and comprehensive, Israel must withdraw from all the Arab territories
occupied during 1967, including Syrian and Lebanese territories.
While pursuing our efforts, it must be kept in mind that there are forces that
lack the conviction of our joint vision, and will continue to obstruct our efforts
to move towards a final and a comprehensive settlement. The way to confront
the enemies of peace is to move forward with courage and determination to renew
hope to the Palestinians and Israeli peoples in the future, in which prosperity
and stability prevail, and away from the menace of violence and confrontation.
My meeting here today with President Bush has reaffirmed our joint determination
to revive the hopes of peace through the longstanding partnership between our
two countries and through which we have and will continue together to reach
historic achievements on the path of peace between Arabs and Israelis for the
benefit of the peoples of the region, and also for the benefit of regional and
The depth of Egyptian-American relations represents one of the essential cornerstones
in our joint pursuit of peace and stability in the Middle East. In this context,
we discussed today means to strengthen our bilateral ties, including our trade
and economic relations, so as to reinforce Egypt's ability to implement its
plans for economic reform and to guide us toward a more balanced trade relationship
Our meeting today coincides with a visit by the United States Trade Representative,
Mr. Robert Zoellick, to Egypt, to meet with his counterparts on the Egyptian
side, which I hope that it will result in tangible progress in furthering our
relationships to new heights.
Mr. President, I look forward to working with you in the weeks and months ahead,
to chart the correct path on the road to peace, so that we can complete together
the implementation of the mission that we have started together here at Camp
David, more than 20 years ago to achieve just, comprehensive and lasting peace
in the Middle East. I am confident that our joint efforts, supported by a solid
determination, will lead us to achieve this goal in the near future. Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you very much. I appreciate it, thank you.
QUESTION: President Bush --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Hold on a second, please. We'll answer two questions apiece,
two from the American side, two from the Egyptian side. I'm going to call on
the American first. If you don't mind, contain your questions to one of us,
if that's possible. And we'll start with Mr. Fournier, who I know -- I know
will adhere to that rule. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Mr. President --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you.
QUESTION: Do you agree with President Mubarak that there needs to be a deadline
for a Palestinian state to give the Palestinian people hope? And on the other
hand, I want to know if President Mubarak -- the reforms of the Palestinian
Authority that you say -- that President Bush says will give the Israelis hope,
can they be done with Arafat still in charge?
PRESIDENT BUSH: See, it's hard to reform the press. (Laughter.) It may be harder
to reform the press than to implement the needed reforms in the Palestinian
territories. Your first question was?
QUESTION: Do you agree with President Mubarak that there needs to be a deadline
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes. Here's the timetable I have in mind. We need to start immediately
in building the institutions necessary for the emergence of a Palestinian state
which, on the one hand, will give hope to the Palestinian people and, on the
other hand, say to the world, including the neighborhood, that there is a chance
to defeat -- to live in peace, to defeat terror. And that's important.
I also agree with the President of Egypt that, as we discussed the development
of institutions necessary to provide hope and security in the region, that we've
got to be talking about a political -- have a political dialogue. Part of the
consultation process that we are having is to determine what's feasible in terms
of that political dialogue, what's feasible in terms of the timetable that a
lot of people are anxious to talk about. We're not ready to lay down a specific
calendar, except for the fact we need to get started quickly, soon, so that
we can seize the moment.
And one of the things I'm most appreciative about, about the -- about the progress
made to date, is people now understand they have responsibilities. As I said
in my April 4th speech, I talked about the responsibilities necessary to achieve
a vision of peace. And President Mubarak has shown that he is accepting responsibility.
He's very much involved in this process, and he's very much anxious that we
work together to achieve that which is necessary and, to put it in his words,
to come up with an effective and systematic way to get to the vision that we've
-- that I've outlined.
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: What's your second question, please?
QUESTION: I just want to know whether those Palestinian reforms that President
Bush says have to happen first, can they be done, sir, in your opinion, by Yasser
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: Look, we should give this man a chance. We are working very
hard in cooperation with the United States for the reform in the Palestinian
Authority. Such a chance will prove that he is going to deliver or not. If he's
going to deliver, I think everybody will support him. If he's not going to deliver,
his people will tell him that.
QUESTION: President Bush --
PRESIDENT BUSH: The President gets to decide what member from the Egyptian press
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: Yes.
QUESTION: President Bush --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Good going. He selected you. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Right. Nihal Saad, from Egyptian Television. Thank you for giving
me the floor. It has been the stand of successive American administrations that
the settlements, the Israeli settlements is an obstacle to peace. But ever since
Prime Minister Sharon came to office, there has been a steep increase in the
settlements, by almost 40 percent. Now, what is the stand of your administration
concerning the settlement building, and what message would you tell the Israeli
government concerning that issue?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, on April 4th I delivered the speech that I'm talking about,
that I would hope you'd review what I said. I said, all parties have got responsibilities
to achieve peace, including the Israelis. And Israel must work to create the
conditions necessary to achieve peace. And my position hasn't changed since
QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. President -- President Bush, are you confident you
will get support from Arab leaders for reaching beyond Yasser Arafat to other
PRESIDENT BUSH: Look, Adam, here's what I'm confident about. I'm confident about
the Arab leaders understand the need for us to develop the institutions necessary
for a peaceful and hopeful state to emerge.
Chairman Arafat, as far as I'm concerned, is not the issue. The issue is whether
or not the Palestinian people can have a hopeful future. I have constantly said
I am disappointed in his leadership. I think he's let the Palestinian people
down. And so, therefore, my focus is on the reforms necessary to help the Palestinians.
The President believes that the Chairman -- if you notice, he didn't say he's
going to deliver -- should be given a chance to deliver. And that's an interesting
point of view. I also happen to believe that there is plenty of talent in --
amongst the Palestinians, and that if we develop the institutions necessary
for the development of a state, that talent will emerge.
The issue is bigger than one person. The issue is an issue that really deals
with people who suffer and people who have no hope. And I believe -- I believe
it is in the Palestinians' interest to have an independent state, at peace with
its neighbor, and I believe it's in Israel's interest. Otherwise I would not
have taken this position.
QUESTION: President Mubarak -- my question is addressed for President Mubarak.
And I want to have a comment from Mr. President Bush, if you please. My name
is Hanaa Simery, from the Egyptian Television, and my question is, is it realistic
to ask for a complete halt of violence between the Palestinians and Israelis
as a precondition for resuming any political negotiations?
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: Me or you?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I don't care. Who would you like to answer it?
QUESTION: Both of you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Both of us, okay.
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: Both of us, on the same question. All right --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Maybe we'll give the same answer. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: I think we have the experience since the Prime Minister took
office that he will never start the negotiation unless violence could come to
an end. Even that before Prime Minister Sharon. Till now violence didn't stop,
and I don't think the violence will come to an end unless the people feel that
there is hope for peace and there is something to show that peace is coming.
If they didn't feel that, they will not stop violence. It will continue forever.
PRESIDENT BUSH: My attitude about violence is this: People have responsibilities
to do everything they can to stop violence. Chairman Arafat must do everything
in his power to stop the violence, to stop the attacks on Israel. I mean everything.
And that includes reforming the security forces so that they are -- their primary
function is to deal with violence.
The Arab world must work hard to defeat terror and violence. My opening comments
were sincere about the President of Egypt; he's working hard to defeat violence
and terror. And so the one thing I'm certain of is that we've all got to focus
a lot of energy and attention on stopping violence -- not only in the Middle
East, but all around the world.
See, there are terrorists who would love to destroy any peace process, and we
have the responsibility to prevent them from doing so. And that means working
all the time to stop it from happening. There are people who hate freedom, and
they'll use terror to destroy innocent lives to achieve evil objectives. And
all of us -- that's what I'm certain about -- all of us must work -- I'm certain
if we don't work together and assume our responsibilities, it's going to be
hard to win the war on terror. I'm certain if we stay focused and tough and
resolute, we can win the war on terror.
And as we remain tough, we're going to be able to achieve peace in parts of
the world where people have kind of said there's no chance for peace. And it's
not just in the Middle East. Not just in the Middle East.