Bush and Blair: Call for multi-national force at Israeli- Lebanon border.

SHARE Bush and Blair: Call for multi-national force at Israeli- Lebanon border.

President Bushhosted British Prime Minister Tony Blairat the White House on Friday…..do they have a plan for the Mideast? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice returns to Jerusalem this weekend.


Date:7/28/06 3


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release July 28, 2006




The East Room

12:36 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all. Prime Minister Tony Blair,

welcome back to the White House. As you know, we’ve got a close

relationship. You tell me what you think. You share with me your

perspective — and you let me know when the microphone is on.


Today the Prime Minister and I talked about the ways we’re working

to advance freedom and human dignity across the world. Prime Minister

Blair and I discussed the crisis in the Middle East. In Lebanon,

Hezbollah and its Iranian and Syrian sponsors are willing to kill, and

to use violence to stop the spread of peace and democracy — and they’re

not going to succeed.

The Prime Minister and I have committed our governments to a plan

to make every effort to achieve a lasting peace out of this crisis. Our

top priorities in Lebanon are providing immediate humanitarian relief,

achieving an end to the violence, ensuring the return of displaced

persons, and assisting with reconstruction. We recognize that many

Lebanese people have lost their homes, so we’ll help rebuild the

civilian infrastructure that will allow them to return home safely.

Our goal is to achieve a lasting peace, which requires that a free,

democratic and independent Lebanese government be empowered to exercise

full authority over its territory. We want a Lebanon free of militias

and foreign interference, and a Lebanon that governs its own destiny, as

is called for by U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1680.

We agree that a multinational force must be dispatched to Lebanon

quickly, to augment a Lebanese army as it moves to the south of that

country. An effective multinational force will help speed delivery of

humanitarian relief, facilitate the return of displaced persons, and

support the Lebanese government as it asserts full sovereignty over its

territory and guards its borders.

We’re working quickly to achieve these goals. Tomorrow, Secretary

Rice will return to the region. She will work with the leaders of

Israel and Lebanon to seize this opportunity to achieve lasting peace

and stability for both of their countries. Next week, the U.N. Security

Council will meet, as well. Our goal is a Chapter 7 resolution setting

out a clear framework for cessation of hostilities on an urgent basis,

and mandating the multinational force.

Also at the United Nations, senior officials from many countries

will meet to discuss the design and deployment of the multinational

force. Prime Minister Blair and I agree that this approach gives the

best hope to end the violence and create lasting peace and stability in

Lebanon. This approach will demonstrate the international community’s

determination to support the government of Lebanon, and defeat the

threat from Hezbollah and its foreign sponsors.

This approach will make possible what so many around the world want

to see: the end of Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel, the return of Israeli

soldiers taken hostage by the terrorists, the suspension of Israel’s

operations in Lebanon, and the withdrawal of Israeli forces.

This is a moment of intense conflict in the Middle East. Yet our

aim is to turn it into a moment of opportunity and a chance for a

broader change in the region. Prime Minister Blair and I remain

committed to the vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine,

living side-by-side in peace and security. This vision has been

embraced by Israel, the Palestinians, and many others throughout the

region and the world, and we will make every effort to make this vision

a reality. The United States is committed to using all of its influence

to seize this moment to build a stable and democratic Middle East.

We also talked about other regions and other challenges and other

conflicts. The Prime Minister and I each met with the Prime Minister of

Iraq this week. The U.S. and U.K. are working together to support the

Prime Minister and his unity government, and we will continue to support

that government.

Afghanistan’s people and their freely-elected government can also

count on our support. Our two nations urge Iran to accept the EU-3

offer, which also has the backing of Russia, China, and the United

States. We agree that the Iranian regime will not be allowed to develop

or acquire nuclear weapons. The suffering in Darfur deserves the name

of genocide. Our two nations support a United Nations peacekeeping

mission in Darfur, which is the best hope for the people in that region.

I want to thank you for coming. It’s good to discuss these urgent

matters with you. We will continue to consult with each other as events

unfold in the Middle East and beyond. The alliance between Britain and

America is stronger than ever, because we share the same values, we

share the same goals, and we share the same determination to advance

freedom and to defeat terror across the world.

Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for

your welcome to the White House once again. And first of all, I’d like

to say some words about the present Middle East crisis, and then we’ll

talk about some of the other issues that we discussed.

What is happening in the Middle East at the moment is a complete

tragedy for Lebanon, for Israel and for the wider region. And the scale

of destruction is very clear. There are innocent lives that have been

lost, both Lebanese and Israeli. There are hundreds of thousands of

people that have been displaced from their homes, again, both in Lebanon

and in Israel. And it’s been a tremendous and terrible setback for

Lebanon’s democracy.

We shouldn’t forget how this began, how it started. In defiance of

the U.N. Resolution 1559, Hezbollah, for almost two years, has been

fortifying and arming militia down in the south of Lebanon, when it is

the proper and democratically elected government of Lebanon and its

armed forces who should have control of that area, as they should of the

whole of Lebanon. They then, in defiance of that U.N. resolution,

crossed the U.N. blue line. As you know, they kidnapped two Israeli

soldiers; they killed eight more. Then, of course, there was the

retaliation by Israel, and there are rockets being fired from the south

of Lebanon into the north of Israel the entire time.

So we know how this situation came about and how it started, and

the question is, now, how to get it stopped and get it stopped with the

urgency that the situation demands.

Since our meeting in St. Petersburg for the G8, we have been

working hard on a plan to ensure that this happens. And as well as,

obviously, the consultations that I’ve had with President Bush, I’ve

spoken to President Chirac, Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Erdogan of

Turkey, the President of the European Union, the Prime Minister of

Finland, and many, many others.

And as the President has just outlined to you, I think there are

three essential steps that we can take in order to ensure that there is

the cessation of hostilities we all want to see. The first is, I

welcome very much the fact that Secretary Rice will go back to the

region tomorrow. She will have with her the package of proposals in

order to get agreement both from the government of Israel and the

government of Lebanon on what is necessary to happen in order for this

crisis to stop.

Secondly, we are bringing forward to Monday the meeting in the

United Nations about the international stabilization force. And again,

this is something we’ve been discussing with various different countries

over the past few days. The absolute vital importance of that force is

that it is able to ensure that the agreement the international community

comes to in respect of Lebanon is enforced, and that we have the

government of Lebanon able to make its writ run fully with its own armed

forces in the south of Lebanon.

And then, thirdly, as the President has just said to you, we want

to see tabled and agreed a U.N. resolution as early as possible that

will allow the cessation of hostilities. Provided that resolution is

agreed and acted upon, we can, indeed, bring an end to this crisis. But

nothing will work unless, as well as an end to the immediate crisis, we

put in place the measures necessary to prevent it occurring again.

That is why I return at every opportunity to the basis of the

United Nations Resolution 1559 — almost two years ago now — that said

precisely what should happen in order to make sure that the southern

part of Lebanon was not used as a base for armed militia. The purpose

of what we are doing, therefore, is to bring about, yes, the cessation

of hostilities, which we want to see as quickly and as urgently as

possible, but also to put in place a framework that allows us to

stabilize the situation for the medium and longer-term.

In addition to that, we, both of us, believe it is important that

we take the opportunity to ensure that the Middle East peace process,

which has been in such difficulty over the past few months, is given

fresh impetus towards the two-state solution that we in the

international community want to see. In the end, that is of fundamental

importance, also, to the stability and peace of the region.

Now, in addition to all of these things — and obviously, we

discussed Iraq, as the President has just said, and the work that our

troops are doing in Iraq and, indeed, in Afghanistan. And if I might,

let me, once again, pay tribute to the quite extraordinary

professionalism, dedication, bravery and commitment of the armed forces

of both the United States and the United Kingdom, and the many other

countries that are working there with us.

In addition to that, as the President indicated to you, we

discussed the situation in the Sudan. We will have an opportunity to

discuss other issues later, notably, obviously the World Trade talks and

other such things. But I want to emphasize, just in concluding my

opening remarks, by referring once again to the absolutely essential

importance of ensuring that not merely do we get the cessation of

hostilities now in Lebanon, and in respect of Israel, but that we take

this opportunity — since we know why this has occurred, we know what

started it, we know what the underlying forces are behind what has

happened in the past few weeks — we take this opportunity to set out

and achieve a different strategic direction for the whole of that

region, which will allow the government of Lebanon to be in control of

its country, Lebanon to be the democracy its people want, and also allow

us to get the solution in respect of Palestine that we have wanted so

long to see.

If we are able, out of what has been a tragedy, a catastrophe for

many of the people in the region, to achieve such a thing, then we will

have turned what has been a situation of tragedy into one of

opportunity. And we intend to do that.


Three questions a side. Tom.

Q Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, with support apparently

growing among the Arab population, both Shia and Sunni, for Hezbollah by

bounds, is there a risk that every day that goes by without a cease-fire

will tip this conflict into a wider war?

And, Mr. President, when Secretary Rice goes back to the region,

will she have any new instructions, such as meeting with Syrians?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Her instructions are to work with Israel and

Lebanon to get a — to come up with an acceptable U.N. Security Council

resolution that we can table next week. And secondly, it’s really

important for people to understand that terrorists are trying to stop

the advance of freedom, and therefore, it’s essential that we do what’s

right and not necessarily what appears to be immediately popular.

There’s a lot of suffering in Lebanon, because Hezbollah attacked

Israel. There’s a lot of suffering in the Palestinian Territory because

militant Hamas is trying to stop the advance of democracy.

There is suffering in Iraq because terrorists are trying to spread

sectarian violence and stop the spread of democracy. And now is the

time for the free world to work to create the conditions so that people

everywhere can have hope.

And those are the stakes, that’s what we face right now. We’ve got

a plan to deal with this immediate crisis. It’s one of the reasons the

Prime Minister came, to talk about that plan. But the stakes are larger

than just Lebanon.

Isn’t it interesting that when Prime Minister Olmert starts to

reach out to President Abbas to develop a Palestinian state, militant

Hamas creates the conditions so that there’s crisis, and then Hezbollah

follows up? Isn’t it interesting, as a democracy takes hold in Iraq,

that al Qaeda steps up its efforts to murder and bomb in order to stop

the democracy?

And so one of the things that the people in the Middle East must

understand is that we’re working to create the conditions of hope and

opportunity for all of them. And we’ll continue to do that, Tom.

That’s — this is the challenge of the 21st century.

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: It’s very obvious what the strategy of

terrorism is, and of the actions that Hezbollah took. Their strategy is

to commit an outrage that provokes a reaction, and then on the back of

the reaction, to mobilize extreme elements, and then try and create a

situation which even moderate people feel drawn to their case. That’s

the strategy.

And you, quite rightly, say, well, isn’t there a danger that the

Arab street and people in Arab Muslim countries become more sympathetic

to Hezbollah as a result of what’s happened? That is their strategy.

How do we counter it? We counter it, one, by having our own strategy to

bring the immediate crisis to an end, which we do. That is what is

important about the Secretary of State visiting the region, getting an

agreement, tabling it to the United Nations, getting the endorsement of

the United Nations, having an international stabilization force to move

into the situation. We’ve got to deal with the immediate situation.

But then, as the President was saying a moment or two ago, we’ve

then got to realize what has happened in the past few weeks is not an

isolated incident. It is part of a bigger picture. Now, I’m going to

say some more things about this in the days to come, but we really will

never understand how we deal with this situation unless we understand

that there is a big picture out in the Middle East, which is about

reactionary and terrorist groups trying to stop what the vast majority

of people in the Middle East want, which is progress towards democracy,

liberty, human rights, the same as the rest of us.

Now, that’s the battle that’s going on. And, yes, it is always

very difficult when something like this happens, as it has happened over

the past few weeks. So we’ve got to resolve the immediate situation,

but we shouldn’t be in any doubt at all, that will be a temporary

respite unless we put in place the longer-term framework.

Q Mr. President, you spoke of having a plan to rebuild houses in

Lebanon. Wouldn’t the people of Lebanon rather know when you’re going

to tell the Israelis to stop destroying houses?

And, Prime Minister, you’ve talked of having a plan today, but

isn’t the truth that you and the President believe that Israel is on the

right side in the war on terror and you want them to win this war, not

to stop it?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Look, we care deeply about the people whose lives

have been affected in Lebanon, just like we care deeply about the people

whose lives have been affected in Israel. There’s over a million people

in Israel that are — are threatened by this consistent rocket attack

coming out of Lebanon. And, yes, we want to help people rebuild their

lives, absolutely. But we also want to address the root causes of the

problem. And the root cause of the problem is you’ve got Hezbollah that

is armed and willing to fire rockets into Israel; a Hezbollah, by the

way, that I firmly believe is backed by Iran and encouraged by Iran.

And so for the sake of long-term stability, we’ve got to deal with

this issue now. Listen, the temptation is to say, it’s too tough, let’s

just try to solve it quickly with something that won’t last; let’s just

get it off the TV screens. But that won’t solve the problem. And it’s

certainly not going to help the Lebanese citizens have a life that is

normal and peaceful.

What is necessary is to help the Siniora government. And one way

to help the Siniora government is to make aid available to help rebuild

the houses that were destroyed. Another way to help the Siniora

government is to implement 1559, which is the disarmament of armed

militia inside his country.

And I — look, we care deeply about the lives that have been

affected on both sides of this issue, just like I care deeply about the

innocent people who are being killed in Iraq, and people being denied a

state in the Palestinian Territory. But make no mistake about it, it is

the goal and aims of the terrorist organizations to stop that type of

advance. That’s what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to evoke

sympathy for themselves. They’re not sympathetic people. They’re

violent, cold-blooded killers who are trying to stop the advance of


And this is the calling of the 21st century, it seems like to me,

and now is the time to confront the problem. And of course, we’re going

to help the people in Lebanon rebuild their lives. But as Tony said,

this conflict started, out of the blue, with two Israeli soldiers

kidnapped and rockets being fired across the border.

Now, we have urged restraint. We made it clear that we care about

wanton destruction. On the other hand, in my judgment, it would be a

big mistake not to solve the underlying problems. Otherwise everything

will seem fine, and then you’ll be back at a press conference, saying,

how come you didn’t solve the underlying problems?

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: We feel deeply for people in Lebanon and

people in Israel who are the innocent casualties of this conflict, of

course, we do. And we want it to stop and we want it to stop now. And

what we’re putting forward today is actually a practical plan that would

lead to a U.N. resolution, could be early next week, that would allow

it, put in place the conditions for it to stop.

But what we’ve also got to do is to make sure that we recognize

that this action wasn’t simply aimed against Israel, and then Israel

retaliated. It was also aimed against the proper government of Lebanon

being able to control its own country. And the very reason why, two

years ago, the international community passed this resolution was

because people could see that what was going to happen in southern

Lebanon was that these Hezbollah militias, that are armed and financed

by Iran and by Syria, were going to move into the south of the country

in order to be a focus of terrorism and discontent.

Now, that is the fact. And, of course, all of us are appalled at

the destruction and loss of life. Of course, we are. And that’s why

we’ve actually come together today with a viable plan, if people can

agree it, as I believe they can, to get it stopped. But once you stop

this violence happening now

— which, of course, we should do — once you do, it doesn’t alter the

underlying reality unless we’ve got a framework that allows us to put

the government of Lebanon properly back in charge of its own country;

unless we’ve got the commitment to take forward the Israel-Palestine two

state deal, which is there and which everyone wants to see; and then if

we can — unless we mobilize the international community, to deal with

the threat that Iran poses.

And there’s no other way out of this. We’re not — we can, all of

us, make whatever statements we want to do, use whatever words we want

to do, but the brutal reality of the situation is that we’re only going

to get violence stopped and stability introduced on the basis of clear


Now, as I say, we’ve set out a way to do this. But it requires the

long-term, as well as the short-term.

Q Thank you. Mr. President, on the issue of a multinational

force, what shape should it take, who should lead it, who should be part

of it? And also, should Hezbollah agreeing to it be a precondition for

setting up the force?

And, Mr. Prime Minister, you talked about a resolution leading to a

cessation of hostilities, and I’m just wondering, should it include a

call for an immediate cease-fire?

PRESIDENT BUSH: In terms of the troops, that’s what the meeting

Monday is going to be about. And this is one of these issues that

requires international consensus, people who put forth ideas, and we’ll

participate in terms of trying to help develop a consensus about what

the force ought to look like.

In a general sense, though, the force needs to serve as a

complement to a Lebanese force. See, that’s the whole purpose of the

force, is to strengthen the Lebanese government by helping the Lebanese

force move into the area. The whole cornerstone of the policy for

Lebanon is for Lebanon to be free and able to govern herself and defend

herself with a viable force.

And so one of the things you’ll see in discussions there is, how do

we help the Lebanese army succeed? What does it — what’s required?

What’s the manpower need to be in order to help this force move into the

south so the government can take control of the country. What it looks

like — if I hold a press conference on Tuesday, I’ll be able to answer

that better. But since I probably won’t be, read your newspaper.

Q What about Hezbollah —

PRESIDENT BUSH: That’s a part of the conditions that they’ll be

discussing. That’s what they’ll be talking about. The key is to have

Lebanon agree with it. And the key is to have Israel agree with it.

Those are the two parties. Hezbollah is not a state. They’re a

supposed political party that happens to be armed. Now, what kind of

state is it that has got a political party that has got a militia? It’s

a state that needs to be helped, is what that is. And we need to help

the Siniora government deal with a political party that is armed, that

gets its arms and help from other parts of the world — in order for

Lebanon’s democracy to succeed.

A lot has changed in Lebanon. It wasn’t all that long ago that

Lebanon was occupied by Syria. And we came together and worked in the

U.N. Security Council, and Syria is now out of Lebanon. But part of the

resolution that enabled Syria to get out was that Hezbollah would

disarm. And if we truly want peace in the region, we’ve got to follow

through on that 1559, and that’s what the whole strategy is. And part

of the peacekeepers will be to — or the multinational force, whatever

you call them, will be in there trying to help the government.

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Just on the international force, the thing

that’s very important to realize is that the purpose of it, obviously,

is to help stabilize the situation. But it’s also to allow the

government of Lebanon’s true armed forces to come down from the north

and occupy the south, themselves. In other words, the purpose of the

force is almost as a bridge between the north and the south in order to

allow the forces of the government of Lebanon to come down and do what

Resolution 1559 always anticipated would happen.

And as for your second question, yes, of course, the U.N.

resolution, the passing of it, the agreeing of it can be the occasion

for the end of hostilities if it’s acted upon and agreed upon. And that

requires not just the government of Israel and the government of

Lebanon, obviously, to abide by it, but also for the whole of the

international community to exert the necessary pressure so that there is

the cessation of hostilities on both sides. Now, that will be

important, also, in making it very clear to Hezbollah and those that

back Hezbollah that they have to allow the stabilization force to enter.

But, yes, of course — look, anybody with any human feeling for

what is going on there wants this to stop as quickly as possible. And

we have a process that allows us to do this, but it’s got to be acted

on. It’s not just going to be agreed in theory, it’s got to be acted

on, too.

Q Thank you. Mr. President, and Prime Minister Blair, can I ask

you both tonight what your messages are for the governments of Iran and

Syria, given that you say this is the crisis of the 21st century?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Want me to start? My message is, give up your

nuclear weapon and your nuclear weapon ambitions. That’s my message to

Syria — I mean, to Iran. And my message to Syria is, become an active

participant in the neighborhood for peace.

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: The message is very, very simple to them.

It is that, you have a choice. Iran and Syria have a choice. And they

may think that they can avoid this choice; in fact, they can’t. And

when things are set in train like what has happened in Lebanon over the

past few weeks, it only, in my view, underscores the fact they have this

choice. They can either come in and participate as proper and

responsible members of the international community, or they will face

the risk of increasing confrontation.

And coming in and being proper members of the international

community does not mean — though I would love to see both Syria and

Iran proper democracies — does not mean to say that we insist that they

change their government or even their system of government, although, of

course, we want to see change in those countries. But it does mean Iran

abides by its obligations under the nuclear weapons treaty. It does

mean that Iran and Syria stop supporting terrorism. It does mean that

instead of trying to prevent the democratically-elected government of

Iraq fulfill its mandate, they allow it to fulfill its mandate.

Now, that’s their choice. It’s a perfectly simple one. They can

either decide they are going to abide by the rules of the international

community or continue to transgress them. And, look, in the end, that’s

the choice that they will have to make. But where I think they make a

strategic miscalculation is if they think that because of all the other

issues that we have to resolve and so on, that we are indifferent to

what they are doing. There will be no side-tracking of our

determination, for example, to make sure that Iran is fully compliant

with the call that’s been made on them from the whole of the

international community in respect of nuclear weapons capability. And I

hope they realize there is a different relationship that is possible

with the international community, but only on the basis that has been

set out.

PRESIDENT BUSH: David Gregory.

Q Thank you. Mr. President, both of you, I’d like to ask you

about the big picture that you’re discussing. Mr. President, three

years ago, you argued that an invasion of Iraq would create a new stage

of Arab-Israeli peace. And yet today, there is an Iraqi Prime Minister

who has been sharply critical of Israel. Arab governments, despite your

arguments, who have criticized Hezbollah, have now changed their tune.

Now they’re sharply critical of Israel. And despite from both of you,

warnings to Syria and Iran to back off support from Hezbollah,

effectively, Mr. President, your words are being ignored. So what has

happened to America’s clout in this region that you’ve committed

yourself to transform?

PRESIDENT BUSH: David, it’s an interesting period because instead

of having foreign policies based upon trying to create a sense of

stability, we have a foreign policy that addresses the root causes of

violence and instability.

For a while, American foreign policy was just, let’s hope

everything is calm, kind of managed calm. But beneath the surface

brewed a lot of resentment and anger that was manifested in its — on

September the 11th. And so we’ve taken a foreign policy that says, on

the one hand, we will protect ourselves from further attack in the

short-run by being aggressive and chasing down the killers and bringing

them to justice — and make no mistake, they’re still out there, and

they would like to harm our respective peoples because of what we stand

for — in the long-term, to defeat this ideology, and they’re bound by

an ideology. You defeat it with a more hopeful ideology called freedom.

And, look, I fully understand some people don’t believe it’s

possible for freedom and democracy to overcome this ideology of hatred.

I understand that. I just happen to believe it is possible, and I

believe it will happen. And so what you’re seeing is a clash of

governing styles, for example. The notion of democracy beginning to

emerge scares the ideologues, the totalitarians, those who want to

impose their vision. It just frightens them, and so they respond.

They’ve always been violent.

I hear this amazing kind of editorial thought that says, all of a

sudden Hezbollah has become violent because we’re promoting democracy.

They have been violent for a long period of time. Or Hamas. One reason

why the Palestinians still suffer is because there are militants who

refuse to accept a Palestinian state based upon democratic principles.

And so what the world is seeing is a desire by this country and our

allies to defeat the ideology of hate with an ideology that has worked

and that brings hope. And one of the challenges, of course, is to

convince people that Muslims would like to be free, that there’s other

people other than people in Britain and America that would like to be

free in the world. There’s this kind of almost — kind of weird kind of

elitism, that says, well, maybe certain people in certain parts of the

world shouldn’t be free; maybe it’s best just to let them sit in these

tyrannical societies. And our foreign policy rejects that concept. We

don’t accept it.

And so we’re working. And this is — as I said the other day, when

these attacks took place, I said this should be a moment of clarity for

people to see the stakes in the 21st century. I mean, there’s an

unprovoked attack on a democracy. Why? I happen to believe, because

progress is being made toward democracies. And I believe that — I also

believe that Iran would like to exert additional influence in the

region. A theocracy would like to spread its influence using


And so I’m as determined as ever to continue fostering a foreign

policy based upon liberty. And I think it’s going to work, unless we

lose our nerve and quit. And this government isn’t going to quit.

Q I asked you about the loss of American influence in the


PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, David, we went to the G8 and worked with our

allies and got a remarkable statement on what took place. We’re working

to get a United Nations resolution on Iran. We’re working to have a

Palestinian state. But the reason why — you asked the question — is

because terrorists are trying to stop that progress. And we’ll

ultimately prevail, because they have — their ideology is so dark and

so dismal that when people really think about it, it will be rejected.

They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent

lives to achieve objectives. That’s what they do. And they’re good.

They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about,

well, this, that or the other. I mean, they’re able to kind of say to

people, don’t come and bother us because we will kill you.

And my attitude is, is that now is the time to be firm. And we’ve

got a great weapon on our side, and that is freedom, and liberty. And

it’s got — those two concepts have got the capacity to defeat

ideologies of hate.

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: I don’t think, actually, it’s anything to do

with a loss of American influence at all. I think — we’ve got to go

back and ask what changed policy, because policy has changed in the past

few years. And what changed policy was September the 11th. That

changed policy, but actually, before September the 11th this global

movement with a global ideology was already in being. September the

11th was the culmination of what they wanted to do. But, actually —

and this is probably where the policymakers, such as myself, were truly

in error — is that even before September the 11th, this was happening

in all sorts of different ways in different countries.

I mean, in Algeria, for example, tens and tens of thousands of

people lost their lives. This movement has grown, it is there, it will

latch on to any cause that it possibly can and give it a dimension of

terrorism and hatred. You can see this. You can see it in Kashmir, for

example. You can see it in Chechnya. You can see it in Palestine.

Now, what is its purpose? Its purpose is to promote its ideology

based upon the perversion of Islam, and to use any methods at all, but

particularly terrorism, to do that, because they know that the value of

terrorism to them is — as I was saying a moment or two ago, it’s not

simply the act of terror, it’s the chain reaction that terror brings

with it. Terrorism brings the reprisal; the reprisal brings the

additional hatred; the additional hatred breeds the additional

terrorism, and so on. But in a small way, we lived through that in

Northern Ireland over many, many decades.

Now, what happened after September the 11th — and this explains, I

think, the President’s policy, but also the reason why I have taken the

view, and still take the view that Britain and America should remain

strong allies, shoulder-to-shoulder in fighting this battle, is that we

are never going to succeed unless we understand they are going to fight

hard. The reason why they are doing what they’re doing in Iraq at the

moment — and, yes, it’s really tough as a result of it — is because

they know that if, right in the center of the Middle East, in an Arab,

Muslim country, you’ve got a non-sectarian democracy, in other words

people weren’t governed either by religious fanatics or secular

dictators, you’ve got a genuine democracy of the people, how does their

ideology flourish in such circumstances?

So they have imported the terrorism into that country, preyed on

whatever reactionary elements there are to boost it. And that’s why we

have the issue there; that’s why the Taliban are trying to come back in

Afghanistan. That is why, the moment it looked as if you could get

progress in Israel and Palestine, it had to be stopped. That’s the

moment when, as they saw there was a problem in Gaza, so they realized,

well, there’s a possibility now we can set Lebanon against Israel.

Now, it’s a global movement, it’s a global ideology. And if

there’s any mistake that’s ever made in these circumstances, it’s if

people are surprised that it’s tough to fight, because you’re up against

an ideology that’s prepared to use any means at all, including killing

any number of wholly innocent people.

And I don’t dispute part of the implication of your question at

all, in the sense that you look at what is happening in the Middle East

and what is happening in Iraq and Lebanon and Palestine, and, of course,

there’s a sense of shock and frustration and anger at what is happening,

and grief at the loss of innocent lives. But it is not a reason for

walking away. It’s a reason for staying the course, and staying it no

matter how tough it is, because the alternative is actually letting this

ideology grip a larger and larger number of people.

And it is going to be difficult. Look, we’ve got a problem even in

our own Muslim communities in Europe, who will half-buy into some of the

propaganda that’s pushed at it — the purpose of America is to suppress

Islam, Britain has joined with America in the suppression of Islam. And

one of the things we’ve got to stop doing is stop apologizing for our

own positions. Muslims in America, as far as I’m aware of, are free to

worship; Muslims in Britain are free to worship. We are plural


It’s nonsense, the propaganda is nonsense. And we’re not going to

defeat this ideology until we in the West go out with sufficient

confidence in our own position and say, this is wrong. It’s not just

wrong in its methods, it’s wrong in its ideas, it’s wrong in its

ideology, it’s wrong in every single wretched reactionary thing about

it. And it will be a long struggle, I’m afraid. But there’s no

alternative but to stay the course with it. And we will.

Q Can I ask you both how soon realistically you think there

could be an end to the violence, given there’s no signs at the moment of

1559 being met? I mean, do you think we’re looking at more weeks,

months, or can it be achieved sooner than that? And also, will the

multinational force potentially be used to effect a cease-fire, or

simply to police an agreement once we eventually get to that?

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, the answer to the first point is, as

soon as possible. And if we can get the U.N. resolution agreed next

week and acted upon, then it can happen, and it can happen then. We

want to see it happen as quickly as possible, but the conditions have

got to be in place to allow it to happen.

And in relation to the multinational force, what will be — it’s

not going to be the opportunity to fight — to fight their way in. But

the very way that you posed that question underlines this basic point,

which is, this can only work if Hezbollah are prepared to allow it to

work. And we’ve got to make sure, therefore, that we have the force go

in as part of an agreement that the government of Lebanon has bound

itself to, the government of Israel has bound itself to, the

international community has bound itself to. And Hezbollah have got to

appreciate that if they stand out against that, then it’s not really

that they will be doing a huge disservice to the people of Lebanon, but

they will also, again, face the fact that action will have to be taken

against them.

PRESIDENT BUSH: We share the same urgency of trying to stop the

violence. It’s why Condi Rice went out there very quickly. Her job is

to, first and foremost, was to make it clear to the Lebanese people that

we wanted to send aid and help, and help work on the corridors necessary

to get the aid to the Lebanese people. And she’s coming back to the

region tonight, will be there tomorrow. I could have called her back

here and could have sat around, visited and talked. But I thought it

was important for her to go back to the region to work on a United

Nations Security Council resolution.

So, like the Prime Minister, I would like to end this as quickly as

possible, as well. Having said that, I want to make sure that we

address the root cause of the problem. And I believe the plan that Tony

and I discussed will yield exactly what we want, and that is addressing

the root cause of the problem.

Thank you all for coming.

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