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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 6, 2009 10:30am-11:00am EDT

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cooperated, he has led. and that kind of approach is serving the interests of france, but also serving the interests of the world. we're very grateful for that. obviously, i also want to make mention of the extraordinary tragedy of the air france plane that we believe may have gone down. we don't know yet what exactly happened, but it is heartbreaking obviously for the families. the american people for their thoughts and prayers. we have already authorized all of our resources to coordinate with the french in trying to discover where the plane went down. and to find as much information as possible.
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but our deepest condolences to the people of france, most particularly to the families involved. and we are determined to find out what happened and support france in that regard. so with that, i think that we can take a question. >> mr. president, -- excuse me. the journalist is begin without a microphone. >> apparently, you are speaking without a microphone, said the translator cannot hear you. you have a microphone? >> yes, right here. >> sorry. >> he has the microphone. >> you said yesterday that you hope to see significant progress
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in the middle east by the end of this year. what did you mean by that? president sarkozy, you had a meeting earlier this week with the iranian foreign minister. what message was he able to give you to pass on to the president's? thank you. >> i think all of us understand what would constitute progress when it comes to the israeli/palestinian conflict. progress would mean that the parties involved supported by not just the united states, not just france, but other arab states, are in serious constructive negotiations about how to achieve a two-state solution.
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i don't expect a 60-year problem is solved overnight, but as i said before, i do expect both sides to recognize that their fates are tied together and it is in the interests of israel, its security interests as well as the security interests of the palestinians, to resolve this in a peaceful way. there are a whole host of difficult questions. we know what those questions are. but i believe preston sarkozy and i agree -- i believe president sarkozy and i agree we have been to move beyond this. but sides will have to have obligations. i have discussed the importance of a secession of settlement construction, but i also want to reemphasize, because that has gotten more attention than what
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i have also said, which is the palestinians have to renounce violence and incitement, improve their governance so that israelis can be confident that the palestinians can follow through on any commitments they make across the table. i cannot impose such negotiations or certainly the terms of a final settlement on the parties. that is their taske. president sarkozy cannot impose peace in that region, but what we can do is to be friends to israel, honest in our assessment of what it will take, hold the palestinians accountable for their end of the bargain, and move the process forward.
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and we are going to try to put as much energy as we can into it. my special envoy, george mitchell, will be returning to the region this week. we are going to systematically work through as many of these issues as possible. one last point. the arab states have to be a part of this process. it is not sufficient just to point at the palestinian problem and then saying we are not going to engage, we will not take responsibility. they are going to have to step up as well, because the arab states not only are important politically, they are also important economically. and to the extent that they put their shoulder behind the wheel, that can move the process forward significantly.
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>> it is not for me to speak for the minister of foreign affairs of iran. i can tell you what i told him. i said to him that he had to take his hand stretched by barack obama and set a meeting so that the group of six party talks start again. secondly, that we all are allowed iran once access to nuclear energy, to sit idle. but if he wants military nuclear , the answer militaryno. you have to understand this fair and square. -- the answer is no. if your interests are peaceful, then except control. we cannot except the iranian leader to make aggressive statements on the one hand. . aie -- and aie checks to not be
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accepted by the iranians, and at the same time give them access to severe -- given access to civilian nuclear energy. iran is a great nation, a great civilization. we want peace, we want dialogue and we want to help them develop, but we do not want nuclear weapons to spread. we are clear on that. mr. president, there are a lot of comments on france and germany recently on the fact that you stated -- the fact that he stayed in these countries briefly and you have not spent much private time outside of the official engagements here. does that mean that europe is not a priority on your priority list, or what would you have to say? >> what it means is that i have
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a very tough schedule. i would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in paris, stroll down the street, take my wife up to a nice meal, have a picnic in luxembourg gardens. those days are over for the moment. so i think it is very important to understand that good friends don't worry about the symbols and conventions and protocols. the united states is a critical friend and ally of france, and vice versa.
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i personally considered nicolas sarkozy a friend. i think he feels the same way. since i know i can always pick up the phone and talk to him, that it is not necessary for me to spend huge amounts of time other than just getting business done when i am here. at some point i will be the ex president. then you will find me in france i am sure quite a bit having fun. i said the same thing in germany yesterday where they were asking you did not have an overnight here. i think you guys are reading too much into my schedule. my main issue has to do with the fact that when i take these foreign trips, it is to get business done because i also have an economy where the
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unemployment rate is 9.4%. we still have to pass financial regulations that will prevent the kind of crisis we have seen from happening again. that all requires a lot of work. so my travel schedule is always limited. >> in a democracy one has to accept all criticism and comments. let me tell you sincerely. do you think that we don't have enough on our plate to do without spending time to have our pictures taken? with the unemployment rate in france and united states, the western world, the iranian issues, do you think our prime concern is what magazine we will be pictured in or what reston we are going to spend an evening in, or whether we spend an extra
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night here or not? friendship means that when the u.s. as we will shut down guantanamo, we say we will help you. we will have some of the detainees in france. french is what? is coming back into nato and taking two important command posts. that is what french is about. we are here to work together to achieve results. we're not here watching and saying how much time did you spend with so and so? do you think people are just waiting to see as hand in hand sitting here looking into one another's eyes? of course not. they want us to achieve results. i will tell you one thing. it is very easy to work with the american president. >> president sarkozy speaks quite quickly, so we can get even more done. [laughter] >> i speak fast but you
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understand fast. >> we will take one last question. do we have a microphone here? >> president obama , the ban on head scarves and veils for young girls in french schools and president sarkozy's position, is this likely to hinder the new approach to is one he presented two days ago? >> this is a process. what i have tried to do in cairo was to open up a conversation, both in muslim communities, but also in non-muslim communities. both in the middle east, but also here in the west. as i said in a speech, i think that freedom of religious expression is critical. that is part of our liberal
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tradition, both in france and the united states. and that we should not have two standards for freedom of religious expression and one for muslims and one for non-muslims. that does that mean that each country is not going to be working through these issues with its own history and on sensitivities in mind. i don't take responsibility for how other countries are going to approach this. i will tell you that in the united states, our basic attitude is we are not going to tell people what to wear. if in their exercise of religion they are impeding somebody else's rights, that is something that we would obviously be concerned about. but my general view is that' the
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most effective way to integrate people of all faiths is to not try to suppress their customs or traditions. rather, to open up opportunities and give them a chance for full participation in the life of their country. with respect to turkey, president sarkozy and i discussed this before. i am not a member of the eu. the united states is not a member of the eu, so we cannot dictate the terms in which any country enters into the eu. i do think turkey is an important ally in nato. they are helping us in afghanistan in that critical effort. they have a growing economy. they are interested in further integration with europe. i would encourage that, so i have said publicly i think turkish membership in the eu
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would be important. president sarkozy, as an actual member of the eu, has a different view, but i think it is important to note he strongly supports the work that turkey is doing in nato. i believe he is interested in further economic integration. and what the u.s. wants to do is to continue to encourage discussions and talks and a process whereby turkey can feel confident that it has a friendship with france, with the united states, with all of europe, and to the extent it is defining itself as part of europe, that it has an opportunity to be a partner. but again, that is something that will have to move forward not based on what the united
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states says, but rather a dialogue between the european union members and turkey. in all of this, i think europe and france has a critical role to play just as the united states does in sending a message muslims around the world that we welcome and want their participation in the world community that is peaceful, prosperous, that is economically-integrated, that is developing on behalf of all people and not just some people. and in both france and the united states, we have enormous muslim populations. as i said in a cairo speech, there is no contradiction between america and islam because we have muslim americans who actually have
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higher education and income averages than is the average in the united states. that is a testament to the degree to which they have been able to succeed and remain true to their religion, and be full- fledged patriotic americans. that kind of approach i think is the one we want as opposed to an approach that increases tensions, both within our borders and outside our borders. >> [inaudible] >> that was a very self-serving -- i am teasing. >> perhaps i could just say a few words on this. first of all, i thought president obama's speech was a remarkable speech. we have long been awaiting to
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hear the united states of america, the number 1 power, shouldering its full share of responsibility in avoiding the clash of cultures and civilizations between east and west. and i totally agree with what president obama said, including on head scarves and veils. but in france any girl who wishes to wear -- wishes to wear a headscarf should do so. we simply sit two limits because we are a secular state. that civil servants were actually on duty must not sure -- must not show any sign of religious beliefs, be they jewish, orthodox, a protestant, catholic, you name it. that is what we call a totally impartial secular
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administration. in other words, when on duty at the actual places where they work, there must be no visible sign of whatever religion they belong to. secondly, the fact that young girls choose to wear a veil or headscarf is not a problem, so as long as they have chosen to do so, as opposed to this being imposed upon them. be it by their families or by their environment. in a country like france where everyone can live according to their convictions and beliefs, we respect the individual, we respect women, we respect the family. i have also done a lot when i was the secretary of the interior to ensure that the muslim community in france could practice their religion like any other religion or creed in france. he belonged to a newspaper i have a lot of respect for, which
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called for its readers to vote in the presidential election for my adversary. what would you say to justify this? you said be careful, president sarkozy will align as too much with the president of the united states. two years later you are telling me one subject on which they don't agree. that should reassure you. you should be happy about that. of course we agree. we concur on the ultimate objective. what is the president's objective? what is mine? turkey may play its full part, its essential role as a bridge between east and west. that is an essential role. where there is a difference is in how to go about doing this. the traditional position of the united states is the integration of turkey. this was former presidents
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positions. mine, you are familiar with. it is not integration into the european union, but i did suggest that we together with the russians and with the turks, think about having a common economic security area. we have no divergence as to the objective to achieve. it is simply the way of going about it. turkey, the objective is turkey play its role as a bridge. i think it is important europe has borders, to have a friend tears, because that is a stabilizing factor. i cannot allow that stabilizing factor in the world to be undermined. that does not mean we have to push back turkey to the darkness. turkey is a strong ally and a bridge between different worlds. the only issue is to help to go about achieving that. let us have at least one point on which we are not totally in agreement.
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that will give us some time to think about future elections. >> one question for both presidents. iran and north korea, what has the current policy of recent years produced other than a given time to north korea and iran to advance their nuclear ambitions? thank you. >> i think it is important to distinguish between the two countries and what they have been doing of late. north korea's actions over the last several months have been extraordinarily provocative. and they have made no bones about the fact that they are
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testing nuclear weapons, testing missiles that potentially would have inter-continental capacity. and in fact, we're not intending to continue a policy of rewarding provocation. the parties that are involved in the six-party talks, we have contacted. they issued a very clear statements and are now in the process of working on a very clear resolution condemning north korea's actions. you have not seen china and russia respond as forcefully in the past on these issues, because i think there is an indication that they recognize how destabilizing north korea's
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actions have been. my preference is always to use a diplomatic approach. but diplomacy has to involve the other side engaging in a serious way and trying to solve problems. and we have not seen that kind of reaction from north korea. so we will continue to consult with our allies. we will continue to consult with all the parties who previously had been involved in the six- party talks, but we are going to take a very hard look at how we move forward on these issues. i don't think that there should be an assumption that we will simply continue down a path in which north korea is constantly
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destabilizing the region, and we just react in the same way as i after they have done these things for a while, then we reward them. with respect to iran, i have made very clear that we are not taking the same position. i am curious that you would suggest we are taking the same approach when i am spending an awful lot of time back home answering people who are concerned that what we are doing is too radical. we are breaking significantly from past approaches and we are saying we are willing to have direct negotiations with the iranians on a whole range of issues without preconditions. in an atmosphere of mutual respect and resolve.
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like president sarkozy , my view is that i ran's possession of a nuclear weapon -- that iran's possession of a nuclear weapon would be dangerous not just to the united states, not just to israel, but to the entire region and over time, the entire world. because there is no possibility that iran gets a nuclear weapon in which you do not see a whole host of countries in the middle east decide we have to go for it as well. this is part of the reason when it comes to north korea and i ran when i said it is not sufficient for the united states or france or other members of the nuclear club simply to say all of you have to stop, but we will not do anything to change ourselves. i gave a speech in prague in which i said all of us have
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responsibilities, that i am going to be traveling to moscow for a sum that to restart significant arms reduction negotiations with the russians. that i went to reinvigorate our non-proliferation treaty. i think we should create a stable consensus in which countries who want peaceful -- nuclear power peaceful civilian use are able to do so, and that our collective goal is to eliminate proliferation, lockdown loose nuclear weapons that are out there, negotiate a whole series of treaties that lowered the temperature, and ultimately make nuclear weapons obsolete. that will not happen in my lifetime. it will not happen in president
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sarkozy's lifetime, but if we start moving on that pathway and other countries can look and say the united states is not just talking the talk but walking the walk, then i think that will indicate to the iranians that the goal here is not to settle them down per se. it is to suggest this is dangerous for everybody, including them. their security interests will not be served. they will not be served by possession of a nuclear weapon. the last point i will make on iran, the supreme leader has said we don't want nuclear weapons. that is not what we are pursuing. i am happy to hope that that is true, but in international relations i cannot just based things on hope, especially when you see actions to the contrary.
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one of my famous predecessors, ronald reagan, said it pretty well when he said trust but verify. we're not even to the point yet where we are having those conversations with the iranians, but ultimately if in fact iran does not seek nuclear weapons, then it should not be that hard for us to have a series of negotiations in which the international community feels that confidence, and in which iran is able to is able to enjoy a whole host of economic and political benefits and gain some must -- gains much greater legitimacy in all of its other endeavors. >> thank you.


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