PRESIDENT BUSH’S SPEECH - Mr. President, thanks. We’re honored to be here.
Thanks very much for inviting Laura and me to join you and Mrs. Kagame for lunch today, in what has been so far a very important stop. We had good discussions on a variety of subjects. It is really inspiring for us to see people who have endured such suffering respond with such hope.
I really do want to congratulate you and the people in Rwanda for the remarkable recovery you have made. And I assure you, you have a steady friend in the United States. I appreciate the opportunity to visit with your cabinet, as well. It’s important for my fellow citizens to know that I’m dealing with a respected leader, not only here at home but in the region.
And so our discussions not only centered on the issues facing Rwanda, but also how we can work together to bring peace to different parts of the continent of Africa. We’re cooperating to address violence and genocide in Darfur.
The Rwandan people know the horrors of genocide. I find it – it’s not surprising at all that the first nation to step up and say that we want to deploy peacekeepers was Rwanda, and I thank you for your leadership, Mr. President.
That’s a – it’s a strong statement on your part, and you remain one of the largest contributors to stability and peace in Darfur.
And the United States is happy to help. We’ve trained – or helped train more than 7,000 Rwanda peacekeepers. We’ve provided more than $17 million to equip and transport these forces into Darfur. The President mentioned something that I agree with, and that is, the role of the United States and others is to help African nations deal with African problems.
And here’s an example of a collaborative effort to help solve what our nation has labeled genocide. The United States is making $100 million available to assist African nations willing to step forward for the cause of peace in Darfur, and up to $12 million of those will help you, Mr. President, do the job that you want to do in Darfur.
The United States appreciates the commitments to help bring peace to the – to Darfur made by other African nations, as well, such as Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Malawi.
And my message to others nations is, join with the President and help us get this problem solved once and for all. And we will help. We will help through sanctions. We will help through pressure. And we’ll help provide money to get these forces in an effective manner.
The United States and Rwanda are cooperating to assure long-term stability in eastern Congo. We spent a lot of time talking about that today.
I appreciate your guidance and your advice, Mr. President. I hope you could tell from our discussions that Secretary Rice and Ambassador Jendayi Frazer, and other people in my administration take this issue as seriously as you do. Last month we helped broker a peace agreement between the Congolese government and several armed groups. We also helped broker an agreement between the Congolese government and the Rwanda government.
And now we’ve got to make the agreement stick. It’s one thing to agree on something. The most important thing is to get results for the agreement. And that’s what we discussed today, on how to help bring peace to this part of the world.
We also talked about economies. Look, this bilateral investment treaty is important because it sends a signal to U.S. companies that they ought to consider investing in Rwanda. The President wisely understands that capital investment is much more effective in the long term than just grant money. And he understands the creation of jobs happens when people are able to attract capital.
And so I was pleased to sign this investment treaty with you, Mr. President. It’s a sign of your leadership, and it’s a sign that you and I both understand that an agreement such as this will provide legal protections for investors in both our countries, including non-discriminatory treatment, respect for private property, transparency and governance, and the international arbitration of disputes.
In other words, this treaty is a way of saying not only is this a good place to look, but when you invest, there will be certain guarantees -- not a guarantee of profit, not a guarantee of return on investment, but a guarantee you’ll be treated fairly.
And finally, Mr. President, thank you for mentioning our efforts to help you fight disease. You know, people say, why would you want to come to Africa at this point in your presidency? Because I’m on a mission of mercy, that’s why.
I want the American people to understand that when it comes to saving lives, it’s in our national interest. I firmly believe that, Mr. President. It’s in our moral interest to help save lives. And that’s precisely what we’re doing, thanks to your leadership and help. This program wouldn’t be effective if your government wasn’t committed.
And secondly, I’m frankly not interested in, you know, spending taxpayers’ money on governments that end up pocketing the money and not helping citizens live. It’s one of the reasons I’ve come to Rwanda; the record here is quite extraordinary when it comes to saving lives.
It is irresponsible for nations to whom much has been given to sit on the sidelines when young babies are dying because of mosquito bites. And so the United States isn’t on the sideline, Mr. President; we’re right in the middle of the action with you, and proudly so.
The Malaria Initiative has helped distribute 450,000 bed nets in Rwanda.
It’s not a very sophisticated strategy; as a matter of fact, just a simple strategy -- but when implemented, saves lives. And it starts with having bed nets for citizens throughout your country. And we’re just getting started. And I want to thank you for your leadership on this issue.
We’ve set a goal to help provide indoor spraying in more than 350,000 homes, and helped provide more than 900,000 treatments of life-saving medicines. In my state of Texas, we say, here’s a problem, and we’re getting after it.
That’s exactly what’s happening here, and all across this continent, Mr. President, and we’re proud to be your partner in a mission of – that is a mission of the deepest sense of humanity.
Same with HIV/Aids. Our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, has helped deliver antiretrovirals to 44,000 Rwandans. We’ve helped deliver services to nearly 650,000 pregnant women, to help prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. This is a good beginning, like a good record, but it should only be viewed as a beginning. And therefore our United States Congress must double our PEPFAR initiative from $15 billion over five years to $30 billion over five years, quit the squabbling, and get the bill passed.
Finally, we’ll be sending the Peace Corps back into Rwanda, Mr. President; first time it’s been here since 1993. These are good, decent folks, coming to your country simply to help -- help people realize their God-given talents and realize the blessings of a peaceful, hopeful life.
So I’m proud to be with you. I want to thank you for your record, thank you for being a personal friend.