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Photo Op with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao
The Oval Office
White House
Washington, D.C.
September 10, 2002
10:57 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: It's my honor to welcome Prime Minister Durao of Portugal to the Oval Office. He's one of the bright young leaders on the international stage. And it's a conversation I've been looking forward to having with Jose.

He comes at a very interesting time. It's a time where the world is discussing the present and the future. Today -- tomorrow we'll be reliving a horrible reminder of what is possible in the 21st century -- that is, no country is immune from attack.

We will discuss today our mutual desire to fight terror. And I appreciate the government of Portugal for its strong support in the war against terror. We will also discuss future threats that we face, all of us face -- the dire possibilities that outlaw regimes will develop weapons of mass destruction and use them with terrorist organizations, or use them on their own, against countries which love freedom, countries such as Portugal.

We will discuss our relationship in NATO, and of course we've got a very important conference coming in NATO about the expansion. I look forward to hearing the Prime Minister's views on that important issue.

So you're here at a perfect time --

PRIME MINISTER DURAO: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: -- to discuss important issues. I value his judgment, I look forward to his advice.

Mr. Prime Minister, if you'd like to say a few things.

PRIME MINISTER DURAO: Okay, thank you very much. Let me first of all thank very much Mr. Bush, President Bush, for receiving me here today. I think it is very important the United States of America and President Bush listens to the opinion of close allies, and Portugal is a very close ally of the United States.

I think that it was Winston Churchill that said once that: The problem with allies is that sometimes they have opinions. (Laughter.) And I come here to listen to President Bush, but also --

THE PRESIDENT: I'm going to listen. (Laughter.)

PRIME MINISTER DURAO: -- to give you my opinion, very frankly. The opinion of a friend, the opinion of a close ally of the United States, a country that shares the same basic values.

And I think at this very moment, where there are some global threats that have to have a global answer, we should act globally. And that's one of the messages I will convey to President Bush, a personality I admire very much for everything he represents, for the free world, the way he has led this global coalition against terrorism.

And I'm very proud to be today here with you, to convey to you the deep respect of the Portuguese people -- indeed, I would say, of Europe -- in all our common endeavors against global terrorism.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir. Thank you all.

END 11:00 A.M. EDT