President Bush Discusses 2008 G8 Summit (Excerpts)

July 2, 2008

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Next week I'm going to travel to Japan for the eighth and final G8 summit of my presidency.

. . .

Q Thank you, Mr. President. There have been a spate of recent stories about possible military action against Iran before the end of the year, if not by the U.S. than by Israel. And that prompted Iranian officials to say, if they're attacked they'll essentially shut down the Strait of Hormuz. One, how confident are you that Israel will not act independently as the diplomatic process moves forward? And two, what do you make of the mixed messages out of Iran -- one of defiance and one of willingness to negotiate?

THE PRESIDENT: I have always said that all options are on the table, but the first option for the United States is to solve this problem diplomatically. I've also make it clear -- made it clear that you can't solve a problem diplomatically unless there are other people at the table with you. And that is why we have been pursuing multilateral diplomacy when it comes to convincing the Iranians that the free world is sincere about, you know, insisting that they not have the technologies necessary to develop a nuclear weapon.

And we're making progress along those lines. There's been the numerous Security Council resolutions, and in my recent trip to Europe I was very encouraged to see these leaders stand up and speak out about the need to keep our coalition active and keep the pressure on.

I will talk to Martha Raddatz.

Q Let me follow up on that. Would you strongly discourage Israel from going after Iran militarily? And do you believe when you leave office Iran will be pursuing a nuclear weapon?

THE PRESIDENT: I have made it very clear to all parties that the first option ought to be to solve this problem diplomatically. And the best way to solve it diplomatically is for the United States to work with other nations to send a focused message, and that is, that you will be isolated and you will have economic hardship if you continue trying to enrich.

As you might remember, I worked closely with Vladimir Putin on this issue, when I said that -- when asked at one of these innumerable press conferences, did you -- do you think they ought to have a civilian nuclear program, I said, of course, they should, but they can't be trusted to enrich.

And therefore, I agree with Russia that Russia -- when Russia said she will provide enriched uranium for a civilian nuclear power program and will collect the enriched uranium, thereby negating the need for the Iranian regime to enrich at all.

And so we will continue working diplomatically.

Listen, thank you very much. I've enjoyed being with you. I hope you've enjoyed being with me. You have? Thank you.