Sunday, in Tirana, Albania during a presser with Prime Minister Sali Berisha.
Opens With Stupidity
I’m proud to be the first American sitting President to visit Albania.
They Done Casted Off Them Shackles
I’m particularly pleased to be here in Albania, in a country that has casted off the shackles of a very repressive society and is now showing the world what’s possible.
Lots Of Other Words
I commended the Prime Minister for the progress that Albania has made in defense reform — in other words, part of becoming a member of NATO requires a reformation of the defense forces. And Albania is working hard to do that, as well as to meet performance-based standards for membership. In other words, you’re just not accepted into membership; you just can’t say, I want to join; there are certain standards that are expected to be met.
Clean-Up On Aisle Five
I said yesterday in Rome, the time is now. A fellow asked me a question, well, when does this end? When does the process end? I said, the time is now. In other words, I put a sense of — I made it clear that — two things, one that we need to get moving; and two, that the end result is independence.
Membership Of NATO
Now, we want to make sure that Serbia hears that the United States supports their aspirations for closer integration with the West. That means, working with the United States in a bilateral fashion. It also means potential membership of NATO, for example.
The Global War On Articles Continues
I urged the Prime Minister to work with the leaders in Kosovo to maintain calm during these final stages, of Kosovo final status process.
The President For Albania
He’s got good contacts there, and Kosovars look to the Prime Minister of Albania and the President for Albania for leadership, and they’re willing to provide it.
The United States And Albania Strongly Supports
What’s important is for the people of Kosovo to know that the United States and Albania strongly supports independence, as did most of the people in the G8.
And that’s — the issue is whether independence or not; we strongly believe in independence. And then the question is, the diplomatic moves necessary to achieve that.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Yesterday you called for a deadline for U.N. action on Kosovo. When would you like that deadline set? And are you at all concerned that taking that type of a stance is going to further inflame U.S. relations with Russia? And is there any chance that you’re going to sign on to the Russian missile defense proposal?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thanks. A couple of points on that. First of all, I don’t think I called for a deadline. I thought I said, time — I did? What exactly did I say? I said, “deadline”? Okay, yes, then I meant what I said.
How Diplomacy Is Done, Part I
And President Putin said, well, I think I’ve got an idea that makes sense. And this is the joint use of radar in Azerbaijan. I said, well, why don’t we look at it? But during the discussions it became apparent that he also had doubts about the proposal I made as to its effectiveness or necessity. And I said, well, you put out an idea, and I put an idea, why don’t we both get a group together to discuss our relative ideas in a transparent fashion; get people from your foreign ministry and we’ll get people from the State Department and our respective defense departments and militaries to sit at the table and to share different ideas, to share ideas about technologies on how to intercept a missile, and radar positioning to make sure that there’s effective coverage.
How Diplomacy Is Done, Part II
What you do is you get your diplomats working with Russian diplomats, as well as EU diplomats, to see if there is not common ground. In other words, there has to be an effort to see if we can’t find a way for everybody to say, well, it’s a good idea. And if you end up being in a position where you don’t, at some point in time, sooner rather than later, you’ve got to say enough is enough, Kosovo is independent.
Very Much In Favor
And even though there’s diplomacy and talks, hopefully trying to find a way forward to accommodate Russia and Serbia and the EU — by the way, most people in the EU are very much in favor.
But if it’s apparent that that’s not going to happen in a relatively quick period of time, in my judgment, we need to put forward the resolution. Hence, deadline.
Closes With Stupidity
Proud to be the first American sitting President to actually hold a press conference on Albanian soil, as well.