President Bush on Syria's and Iran's nefarious role in the Middle East and in Lebanon in particular
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 29, 2008
Press Conference by the President
10:31 A.M. EDT
Q Mr. President, thank you, sir. Previously when asked about
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Let me correct the record. We briefed 22 members of Congress on what I'm about to tell you. First, we were concerned that an early disclosure would increase the risk of a confrontation in the Middle East or retaliation in the
We also wanted to advance certain policy objectives through the disclosures, and one would be to the North Koreans, to make it abundantly clear that we may know more about you than you think, and therefore, it's essential that you have a complete disclosure on not only your plutonium activities, but proliferation, as well as enrichment activities.
And then we have an interest in sending a message to Iran, and the world for that matter, about just how destabilizing a -- nuclear proliferation would be in the Middle East, and that it's essential that we work together to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions aimed at getting Iran to stop their enrichment programs. In other words, one of the things that this example shows is that these programs can exist and people don't know about them -- because the Syrians simply didn't declare the program; they had a hidden program.
And finally, we wanted to make it clear to Syria -- and the world -- that their intransigence in dealing with helping us in Iraq, or destabilizing Lebanon, or dealing with Hamas -- which is a destablizing force in our efforts to have a Palestinian state coexist peacefully with Israel -- that those efforts are -- gives us a chance to remind the world that we need to work together to deal with those issues. So that's why we made the decision we made.
Q Do you feel your foreign policy in the
THE PRESIDENT: Foreign policy and peace is undermined by Hamas in the
And that's the reason I'm not talking to them. And that's the reason why -- it's just important for people to understand that this is a -- we're in a -- we're witnessing a struggle between those who understand liberty and believe in the advance of liberty, and those who want to stop the advance of liberty. And Hamas has made their position very clear.
Unfortunately, they're getting help; in
So when you want to talk about peace being difficult in the Middle East -- it's going to be difficult, but it's even made more difficult by entities like Hamas, who insist upon lobbing rockets into Israel, trying to provoke response and trying to destabilize -- even destabilize the region more.
And anybody can talk to who they want, but I just want the people to understand that the problem is Hamas. And until Hamas changes, or until there's a competing vision in the Middle East for President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad to offer to the Palestinian people, that's all the more reason to try to define a state, and that's why I'm going to the Middle East, besides going to the 60th anniversary of