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Wednesday G8 Press Briefing
with Jim Wilkinson, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications, and Barry Bennett, Director of Communications, G8 Summit Planning Organization
International Media Centre, Savannah, June 9, 2004, 08h05
MR. BENNETT: This morning at 8:00 a.m., the United States and the United Kingdom have a bilateral breakfast. At 8:00 a.m., Japan and Jordan participate in a bilateral. At 8:35 a.m., France and Canada participate in a bilateral. At 9:00 a.m., in Briefing Room C, we expect a readout from the U.S.-UK bilateral meeting.
At 9:30 a.m., the first plenary session of the G8 begins. The coverage is host TV and open press at the arrivals, and stills at the top.
At 10:30 a.m., Mayor Johnson will come back to the building in Briefing Room B. At 10:30 a.m., the spousal program for the First Ladies begins, the women's issue presentation. At 11:00 a.m., there's a briefing in this room with Dr. Tony Fauci on global health issues. At 11:00 a.m., there is a briefing on doing business in Georgia, in Briefing Room B, with Dr. Michael Adams, the President of the University of Georgia.
At noon, President Chirac will brief, open press by video conference into this room. At noon, the G8 spouses will have a luncheon at Black Banks, closed press. At 1:00 p.m., the G8 Greater Middle Eastern Outreach lunch begins again, I believe it's host TV at the arrival and a photo at the end.
At 1:00 p.m., in Briefing Room CCC, there's an Africa briefing. At 2:00 p.m., the Georgia entertainment industry is briefing it's on empowering excitement in Briefing Room B. At 2:00 p.m., there's a briefing by the German sherpa for German press only.
At 2:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., the G8 spouses have a media availability on Sea Island. At 3:15 p.m., Russia and Jordan have a bilateral. At 3:30 p.m., Prime Minister Martin has his final press conference from the Media Subcenter, video-conferenced into this room. At 3:50 p.m., a bilateral between Italy and Jordan.
At 4:15 p.m., the second plenary session, closed press. At 4:30 p.m., Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has a press conference in Briefing Room A. AT 4:30 p.m., the Japanese Assistant Press Secretary will brief in Briefing Room B. At 4:30 p.m., development issues briefing in Briefing Room C.
At 6:00 p.m., a bilateral between Jordan and France. At 6:00 p.m., a Russian and Japan bilateral. At 6:30 p.m., a Jordan-Japan bilateral. At 6:30 p.m., Canadian senior official briefing in Briefing Room A. At 7:00 p.m., Russia-Canada bilateral. At 7:00 p.m. again, a Germany-Jordan bilateral.
At 7:45 p.m. this evening, the G8 official photo will be taken. It's open press. That's followed by an 8:00 p.m. working dinner, closed press. The spouses have a reception tonight, simultaneously at 8:00 p.m. And at 9:00 p.m., the Japanese Assistant Press Secretary will again brief in Briefing Room B.
Also tonight, there's another press party at the back of the Westin for all media from 8:00 p.m. to midnight.
Jim, do you want to give a policy update?
MR. WILKINSON: Good morning, everyone. I think you will begin to see, today, factsheets and official statements released. They will come out periodically through the day on any number of policy issues I briefed at this podium, so you'll start to see these coming in the coming hours.
Around noon today, we expect a statement to be released on the issue of trade. This is not an issue that I briefed from here. I'll go through some of the highlights of that statement. The leaders will say that they face a moment of strategic economic opportunity and that they believe that by combining an upturn in growth in various regions with a global reduction in barriers to trade, we can deepen, broaden, and extend the economic expansion that we're seeing.
The leaders will state that they believe trade globalization is the key to boosting global prosperity. It is one of the most effective ways to generate economic growth and represents great potential for development and raising living standards.
Leaders are committed to the multilateral trading system as the best means of achieving greater and effective trade liberalization and stronger global trade rules. The WTO has played a key role in driving global growth and must continue to do so. The G8 leaders will express their commitment to expanding economic growth, development and opportunity by providing ambitious results in the global trade negotiations, the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO.
They will express their encouragement for the reinvigoration of the negotiations in recent weeks. And working in cooperation with other WTO members, they are determined to move expeditiously before the end of July to complete the frameworks on key issues that will put these far-reaching negotiations on track towards a rapid and successful conclusion. They will call on all WTO members to work constructively and swiftly to meet their shared commitment to the Doha Development Agenda.
They will state that their most pressing task is to focus on the core issues in the negotiations, which are drivers of economic development and growth, substantially reducing trade-distorting agricultural subsidies and barriers to access to markets, opening markets more widely to trade and goods, expanding opportunities for trade and services, overhauling and improving customs rules and other relevant procedures to facilitate trade. and advancing the development of all countries, especially the poorest within the WTO system. They will note in this statement that a consensus appears to be emerging on a way forward for these issues that I've just outlined, and they will note their belief that they must ensure that the nations maintain a high and consistent level of ambition in all areas on these fronts.
On the issue of agriculture, they will note that they are o the verge of an historic opportunity to meet our objectives established at Doha for fundamental agricultural reform, encompassing strengthened rules and specific commitments on support and protection, to correct and prevent restrictions and distortions that we are seeing and have seen in world agricultural markets. They will note, on agriculture, that the next step is to secure the framework by July for these comprehensive negotiations on all forms of export competition, domestic support and market access.
All three pillars of the agricultural negotiations must be treated with equal ambition. Cotton, a matter of primary concern to our African partners, the leaders will note, can best be addressed ambitiously as part of the agricultural negotiations. Movement on agriculture will help generate progress on other core issues of the DDA this is the Doha Development Agenda including an agreement to launch negotiations on trade facilitation, as well as continuing to liberalize trade in manufacturers and services, strengthening WTO rules.
In addition to expanding trade between developed and developing countries, it is particularly important that the DDA encourage the expansion of south trade. Open markets and domestic reform go hand in hand, offering the best means to further integrate developing countries into the global economy. We must ensure that as we look forward, the poorest are not left behind, but that they, too, develop the capacity to participate in the global trading system. And the leaders will note that they recognize that different countries will need to move at different speeds towards the same.
Finally, they will conclude in the statement by noting that they determined to seize this moment of strategic economic opportunity, and they will direct their ministers and call on all WTO members to finalize the frameworks by July to put the WTO negotiations back on track so that we can expeditiously complete Doha Development Agenda.
The second issue I'll hit on this morning is the issue that Fran Townsend addressed yesterday on the Secure and Facilitated International Initiative. The leaders will note in a statement that terrorist attacks against the transportation system remain a serious threat to our citizens and to world commerce. They will note that as G8 leaders, they are committed to further assuring the safety of the traveling public while working cooperatively to facilitate the movement of travelers across borders.
They'll note that at Kananaskis in June of 2002, the leaders agreed on a set of actions to promote greater security of land, sea, and air transport, including cargo, to ensure safe, secure, efficient and reliable transportation worldwide. At Evian in 2003, the leaders will note that they introduced a plan for the control of man portable air defense systems we know these at MANPADS and establish the CTAG, which is a counterterrorism action group, to assist willing states in building their capacity to counter the terrorist threat.
They will announce that today, they will agree on a set of actions that will further enhance the security of the traveling public, while improving efficiency and facilitating the ease of travel. And these will include actions to implement and expand the scope of the Evian MANPADS plan.
I won't go through all of these steps. There are, in the action plan, 28 specific steps within four major pillars. I won't go through all those here. I want to hit some highlights. They will note in their statement the G8 leaders will note that they agreed to the following shared principles, which underlie this initiative.
The first principle is to agree to work collaboratively, cooperatively, and reciprocally to protect borders and facilitate trade and travel. The second principle is to facilitate movement of travelers across international borders quickly and easily while focusing enforcement resources on enhanced security procedures, including risk analysis methods.
The next principle is to permit visa-free travel, and simplify and expedite visa processing when acceptable to the receiving state. The next principle is to maximize effective information exchange among partner states as a key element of strengthening international border security; will agree to work cooperatively to improve screening methods for international travelers, crews and cargo for known or emerging threats as far in advance as possible. They'll agree to the principle to make all possible efforts to ensure that travel documents are secure, resistant to fraud, and globally interoperable. They'll agree to ensure effective coordinated responses to imminent threats.
And finally, to demonstrate their resolve to expeditiously address security vulnerabilities and ensure the traveling public that they, as G8 leaders, are taking all appropriate steps to protect their safety, they will announce that they have already completed the following actions from this initiative.
First, is the promotion and implementation of enhanced international standards for the secure issuance of passports. Second, is the establishment of a 24-hour aviation point of contact network to address imminent threats to airlines. And the third, is the appropriation of an information manual for assessing the vulnerability of G8 airports to the MANPADS threat.
As I said, the agreed action plan, which puts these principles into reality, includes 28 specific individual action items. I won't go through all those this morning, but that gives you a good overview.
As always, we have a long list of briefings today. I want to highlight a couple by Jendayi Frazer who, you know, will be the new Ambassador to South Africa. She will be here today to talk about Africa, some of the development issues. As always, come to room 103, and we have people available to speak to you on these issues.
With that, I think we're happy to take questions.
Q Are you going to put out in the near future the 28 paper list?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The list probably wouldn't come out until it was released formally through the action plan.
Q Could you talk to us verbally about all 28, perhaps, after this, then?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Happy to. I'm happy to read all 28 now if you want it. (Laughter.) It's up to you.
Q I just want to get all 28 out there as quickly as possible.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You bet. We'll have to send Andrei Sitov. If he's willing to go out to Krispy Kreme and get a box of doughnuts, I will go through the entire action plan here. (Laughter.)
Q Can I ask you one other question, too? I want to make sure there's no back-pedaling on the plan to agree on nonproliferation. Yesterday you said you thought you'd reach it by Thursday, but some of the briefers yesterday seemed to leave the door open and said, we expect to do this, we expect to do that. I just want to be sure that's still one hundred percent on track.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It is.
Q Does the President still intend to meet with the interim President of Iraq today?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: To my knowledge, yes.
Q What time?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't have that information here, but the press office would have it.
Q Is there a list of documents to be released today?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There is a list of documents to be released today. It's sitting on my email. I wish I could give it to you. But they'll start coming out this morning.
Q Can you give us a little more detail on the counter- proliferation, where that stands? Yesterday, you said, very soon. What happened yesterday and in the interim?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Bob Joseph will be here today. And, by the way, anyone he's a fantastic resource if anyone wants to sit down one-on-one with him and walk through these. There's nothing holding it up that is of note. I think it's just, as these things go, putting the final touches on it. But Bob will be here, and happy to get you guys together.
Q I missed the top, so apologies if this has already been covered, but last night you guys postponed/cancelled the readout of the Russia meeting. No White House officials were available to explain why the readout was cancelled.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'll tell you exactly why. The person who was going to do the readout didn't get to the press center. We had the reporters sitting there, sort of waiting for a half-hour, so we just decided to let the reporters go. There were folks wanting to go. Happy to get you on the phone with that person for a personal readout, if you want, today.
Q Does that mean you're not doing a formal readout for reporters, plural, broadly, rescheduling it today?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We could. Happy to do that if you want. I'm happy to get him on the Tom Shannon is who was going to do that. If he's still down there I don't know where physically where he is, but we'll get him on the phone with you if you want, or we can do it by video if you want.
Q Last night the explanation was you would find him.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, we did he was down there.
Q you couldn't find the person who was going to brief us on Putin
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, he's 90 miles away, and was in meetings with Condi and others. And so I wasn't going to, as much as I love you, pull him out of serious diplomat negotiations to
Q Why was the information yesterday why was the information why were we told that the White House couldn't find the senior official?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't know I don't know who told you that. But, again, I'll be happy to make him available to you, a special personal briefing just for you.
Q We'd all like it.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Your very own.
Q We all want one.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So, if you want him today.
Q Will we see details today on the President's broader Middle East initiative as far as I mean, it's the discussion topic at lunch. Will we get paper on that?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think you could see that today. I just don't have a schedule of when exactly that piece of paper will be available.
Q And when you say, today, do you think it's going to come back to the lunch discussion sometime this afternoon?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Good question. My sense is that most of the documents would come after they've discussed the relevant issues. So you can, from a timing standpoint, see what that means.
Q Other than reaffirming all the commitments made at Doha, is there anything new coming out on this trade
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You bet, and I'm happy to show you this as soon as I leave this podium.
All right, everybody. Have a good morning. And Andre, stay away from the Krispy Kreme truck.
Q Is there any more information on the interim Iraqi President's schedule like anything on availability for one-on-one interviews?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm glad you brought that up. We're working with his team to check on his availability for interviews. I just don't have anything for you yet.
Q Any idea what time that might come out?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm quite sure they sort of wouldn't release a formal list of his schedule today, but I just need to find out. I haven't spoken to him this morning.
Source: Official G8 Sea Island site
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