President Bush Participates in Joint Press Conference Availability with Slovenian Prime Minister Janša and European Commission President Barroso (Excerpts)

June 10, 2008

PRIME MINISTER JANŠA: (As translated.) Good afternoon, and welcome to Slovenia. Welcome to Brdo, where we have just concluded this year's summit meeting between the EU and the U.S.A. I welcome in our midst the President of the United States of America, Mr. George W. Bush, and the President of the European Commission, Mr. José Barroso.

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We spent a lot of time on the Middle East. Besides the Palestinian state, we talked about Lebanon, Iran and Syria. One thing is for certain: If more people lived in free societies in the Middle East, the Middle East would be a more hopeful and more peaceful place. And so we strategized as to how to do that, Mr. Prime Minister, and I want to thank you for that.

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We spent a lot of time on Iran. I appreciate the Foreign Minister Solana going to Iran to deliver a clear message: there is a better way for you to move forward than a way that so far has led to isolation. Iran with a nuclear weapon would be incredibly dangerous for world peace. And so we've got to continue to work together to make it clear, abundantly clear to them, that it's their choice to make: They can either face isolation or they can have better relations with all of us if they verifiably suspend their enrichment program.

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Q Thank you, gentlemen. I wonder if I could ask about your statement on Iran and the communique today. And you described a combination of incentives as well as additional measures that you might take, and I wonder if you think that that is enough -- the idea of the prospect of future action is enough or sufficient to get the Iranians to change their point of view? And for you, President Bush, sir, are you frustrated at all by the pace of the diplomatic negotiations underway, particularly in light of the IAEA findings and Iran's insistence that it's going to continue to enrich? Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUSH: I'll start. We've always made it clear to the Iranians there's a better way forward; that if they want to have a relationship with the EU3 and the United States and other countries, they -- all they've got to do is verifiably suspend their enrichment program. And the reason why that's important is that they learn to enrich, it means they've learned to -- a key part of developing a nuclear weapon. And if they end up with a nuclear weapon, the free world is going to say, why didn't we do something about it at the time, before they developed it? And so now is the time for there to be strong diplomacy.

You know, the fundamental question is -- it's not ours to make; it's theirs to make -- and that is, are they going to continue on their path of obstruction? Or will they continue to isolate their people? Or are they going to continue to deny the people of Iran a bright future by basically saying, we don't care what the world says.

And that's the position they're in. I leave behind a multilateral framework to work this issue. I think the Prime Minister said it's -- you know, one country can't solve all problems. I fully agree with that. A group of countries can send a clear message to the Iranians, and that is, we're going to continue to isolate you; we'll continue to work on sanctions; we'll find new sanctions if need be -- if you continue to deny the just demands of a free world, which is to give up your enrichment program.

They've ignored IAEA in the past, and therefore they can't be trusted with enrichment. And I thought we had a very fruitful discussion. We're on the same page. And I want to thank both leaders up here, and Foreign Minister Solana, as well.

Q (Inaudible.)

PRESIDENT BUSH: This is "Ask George" day. (Laughter.)

Q I would have a question for both of -- President and the Prime Minister.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Which President? (Laughter.) Let me guess.

Q The President of the United States.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, all right. (Laughter.) Sorry, José. Just trying to work you in the deal here, you know? (Laughter.)

Q As you said, he's the Commission's press.


Q On Iran, I would like to ask you, Mr. President, there is -- seems to be an emerging debate in Israel about a military option against the nuclear installations in Iran. How do you see that debate?

And Prime Minister Janša, I would like to ask you on climate change, how do you rate the chances that in the following years there will be an agreement with the U.S. on this issue?

PRESIDENT BUSH: First of all, if you were living in Israel you'd be a little nervous, too, if a leader in your neighborhood announced that they -- he'd like to destroy you. And one sure way of achieving that means is through the development of a nuclear weapon. Therefore, now is the time for all of us to work together to stop them. There's a lot of urgencies when it comes to dealing with Iran, and the Israeli political folks -- and if you go to Israel and listen carefully, you'll hear that urgency in their voice, one of many urgencies. And I'm hopeful we can get it done.

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