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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Summit of the Americas
Aired January 13, 2004 - 10:35 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We head to Monterey, Mexico. Any minute, we expect some videotape coming out of Monterrey that will show President Bush making an announcement, an important announcement concerning U.S.-Canadian relations. President Bush is expected to announce that Canada will be allowed to bid on the next round of reconstruction contracts for Iraq. Canada had been kept out of the first round. The previous prime minister in Canada, Jean Chretien, had chosen not to include Canada in its support for the U.S. effort in Iraq. But President Bush has come out and said that it's time to mend relations between Canada and the United States. There is a new prime minister there, Paul Martin. Also President Bush will -- you'll hear him talk about mad cow, and the very difficult situation for Canada, and also the U.S., in mending those relations.
President Bush has been at this 34-nation summit taking place in Monterey, Mexico. He returns today to the U.S. Before he does return, he made this announcement. And as we understand it, he did it by videotape. And when it rolls, we'll show it to you right here.
Meanwhile, we can say that -- looks like we're ready to go. Let's take a listen.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a vital relationship. It is a relationship that is important for a lot of reasons. The most important reason is that we share the same values of freedom and human dignity, treating people decently. And I really look forward to working with the prime minister.
PAUL MARTIN, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, I can certainly say the same thing. We share a continent, and we share values, and we share a perspective on what's the best thing for our people.
And, essentially, working together is really the way we are going to do the best thing for our people. And we discussed a number of individual issues and I think that we made a lot of progress.
And so I feel very good about the meeting and I feel very good about the relationships.
BUSH: Well, we're answer a couple or two questions.
QUESTION: Mr. President, Dr. Rice hinted last week that Canada might be considered in a new round of contracting for Iraq reconstruction. Where exactly does that stand? And, Mr. Prime Minister, you supported your predecessor's decision to abstain from the Iraq war. Is there any reason to think this relationship's going to thaw out now?
BUSH: That assumes there was a freeze. And I didn't feel there was. I understood why people disagreed with the position I took.
Secondly, when I talked to Prime Minister Martin on our first phone call, I told him that Canada would be given serious consideration for contracting.
Here's what's going to happen is is that, first of all, they've been very strong supporters at the Madrid conference. They want Iraq to succeed. They want Iraq to be free. They understand the stakes with having a free country in the midst of the Middle East.
And Canada right now is eligible for subcontracting bids in the first round of construction projects. In the second round, the second tranche Canada will be eligible to bid.
MARTIN: Yes, essentially, I think that this really shows how it can work.
MARTIN: We had a very good telephone conversation before Christmas and subsequently our officials went to work. And Canada will be eligible to bid on all of the construction contracts in the next round. And at the same time, there are a whole bunch of non- construction contracts, service contracts, that are coming out immediately in which we will be entitled to bid.
And so, I think that it actually does show that, working together, you can arrive at a reasonable solution.
BUSH: Do you want to call on a Canadian reporter?
BUSH: This is an issue that's going to require close coordination between our two countries. I mean, we got a lot of beef going across our border. We've got beef on the hoof and beef in the box. And the cattle industries are very important for our respective provinces and states.
And the best way to make sure that we're able to satisfy the consumers in both our countries, as well as around the world, is for there to be very close coordination on regulation, on information and on the science.
BUSH: And I'm confident that we will be able to assure those who buy Canadian and/or U.S. beef that the products they buy are safe. It's just going to require a very close coordination between our secretaries of agriculture, which we are committed to doing.
As a matter of fact, they'll be meeting I believe some time this week.
MARTIN: This is a North American industry, and the solutions are science-based, and those science-based solutions are going to be arrived at between the two of us. And that's where the coordination comes in.
BUSH: I personally haven't stopped eating beef. I like to eat beef and will continue eating beef, because I believe the food supply is safe. But we fully understand that we will work together to make sure that we address as many concerns as possible in a scientifically based way.
QUESTION: Can America afford a major shift in the space program to go back to the moon and then on to Mars?
BUSH: Yeah. I'll be saying that tomorrow. Thank you for -- have you read the speech yet? As you know, I am very worried about leaks coming out of the White House.
Yeah, I'll lay out the program. I'm going to give the speech tomorrow at our NASA headquarters about America's approach to space exploration. I really don't want to give you the details, because I want you to pay attention to what I have to say.
But I will tell you that the spirit is going to be one of continued exploration, as defining -- seeking new horizons and investing in a program that is -- that meets that objective. And I'll lay it out tomorrow.
MARTIN: Let me just say, I'm glad to see that we're not the only government that's worried about leaks.
BUSH: That's right.
QUESTION: On the passport agreement, does that signal special status for Canada in terms of U.S. matters of national security? And can you assure Canada that, beyond notifying the potential for deporting a Canadian citizen, that it would not deport a Canadian citizen to a third country that might torture?
BUSH: What I can assure Canada is that we will do everything we can do to protect our country from attack. That's one thing I'll assure, which should make Canadians very happy to hear, because we got a lot of Canadians living in the United States and we got a lot of Canadians with relatives in the United States.
Secondly, I will assure Canadians that we will work very closely with the Martin government on issues -- passport issues. And one of the things that I promised him is that there will be prior notification prior to any consideration of deportation. We owe it to the government to be forthcoming and forthright.
Listen, Canada and America have got a special status already. You said special status; we got special status by virtue of the fact that there is significant interchange on an hourly basis between our two countries. I mean, it's a vibrant border. It's an active economic relationship. It is special because we share values, special because we share a long border.
And the key thing on this issue is to communicate clearly with the authorities -- the Canadian authorities, and for me to communicate clearly with my counterpart, the prime minister.
MARTIN: Look at, I think that, again, you know, under international law countries have the right to deport to a third country. What's really happened here is that there has been a very clear agreement that consular services will be provided and that prior notification. And that is very, very important, and that is -- that's pretty unique.
BUSH: Thank you, sir.
KAGAN: So we we're watching this new videotape coming out of Monterrey, Mexico, President Bush at the Summit of Americas there, meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, making a big announcement that Canada will be allowed to bid on the second round of reconstruction contracts in Iraq. Canada had been frozen out of the first round when the previous prime minister, Jean Chretien, had chosen not to support the U.S. effort inside of Iraq. Also the prime minister and the president talking about some cooperation in trying to solve the mad cow situation, both In Canada and in the United States. President Bush today heads from Monterrey, Mexico and heads back to Washington D.C.
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