The leaders of the
United States and Argentina met November 4 on the sidelines
of the 2005 Summit of the Americas for what both presidents
agree was a straightforward, candid discussion of bilateral
issues as well as domestic matters.
George W. Bush and Argentina's President
Nestor Carlos Kirchner smile as they hold
a joint press availability Friday, Nov.
4, 2005, after meeting privately at the
Hermitage Hotel in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
(White House photo by Paul Morse)
Argentina and the United States have much
in common: both are democratic nations committed to the
rule of law, minority rights, freedom of the press, freedom
of religion, and human rights, says President Bush.
At a joint press appearance with Argentine
President Nestor Kirchner in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Bush
thanked Kirchner for hosting the fourth Summit of the Americas,
which takes place November 4-5. Earlier in the day, the
two leaders "had a good discussion about a range of
issues," Bush told reporters.
Bush praised Kirchner for his skillful handling
of the Argentine economy, and expressed gratitude for Argentina's
assistance to the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina. The hurricane, which struck the U.S. Gulf Coast
at the end of August, caused widespread devastation.
Argentina's willingness to aid U.S. hurricane
victims "was a gesture of grand friendship," said
As well as providing a forum for discussing
trade, job creation, and anti-poverty initiatives, the November
4-5 summit in Mar del Plata "is an opportunity to positively
affirm our belief in democracy, in human rights and human
dignity," Bush added.
For ongoing coverage of the meeting in Argentina,
of the Americas.
Following is a transcript of the Bush/Kirchner
joint press appearance:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Mar del Plata, Argentina)
November 4, 2005
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT BUSH
AND PRESIDENT KIRCHNER OF ARGENTINA
IN PRESS AVAILABILITY
Mar del Plata, Argentina
11:02 A.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT KIRCHNER: (As translated.) We
have had an eventful meeting with the President of the United
States. We have considered issues related to our bilateral
relations between Argentina and the U.S. We have considered
the situation in the region. We have listened to each other
and what we have to say about domestic matters in our respective
countries and how our countries are doing at the moment.
I think we have been quite candid in our dialogue and we
have spoken quite clearly with the President of the United
And as President of the Argentine Republic,
I am pleased to have had this meeting, during which we have
been able to convey to the President of the United States
our thoughts on a wide variety of issues.
So in a nutshell, that's what we have dealt
with, and I would now like to give the floor to the President
of the U.S.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you for your hospitality.
Laura and I thank you and the Senator for such a warm welcome.
This is my first trip to Argentina -- I hope it is not my
last trip -- however, this is not our first meeting. This
is our third meeting and every time we have met, I have
come away impressed by your candor, your passion for the
people of this beautiful land.
And as we discussed -- the first time we
met until now, the economy has changed in quite dramatic
fashion, thanks to wise decisions you have made. So congratulations
for dealing with a difficult circumstance and making decisions
that have improved the lives of your people.
Needless to say, the President was quite
firm in his belief that the IMF ought to have a different
attitude toward Argentina. He has been an outspoken person
for reform. I listened very carefully to his point of views.
I was pleased that the United States was helpful during
the early part of his term at the IMF, and I suggested that
his record is such now that he can take his case to the
IMF with a much stronger hand. And so I appreciate the conversation
there and I appreciate your candor.
I also want to thank you, Mr. President,
for sending the White Helmets. These were people that came
down, health specialists to help some of our folks deal
with the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
It was a gesture of grand friendship. And the American people
are grateful. The American people are grateful for the contributions
Argentines have made to our country. I mean, we've got all
kinds of people in America -- Ginobili -- I don't know if
you've heard of Manu Ginobili -- (laughter). He made a vital
contribution to the basketball team from the state in which
I live. But he's also a good ambassador for your country
and people of Argentine heritage have contributed mightily
to America and we're grateful for that.
We had a good discussion about a range of
issues, as the President said. Argentina and the United
States have a lot in common. We both believe in rule of
law. We both believe in minority rights. We both believe
in free press. We both believe in free religion. We both
understand that institutions are important for the embetterment
of the people, democratic institutions. At times, those
institutions have been under assault in our two countries,
and it's important as leaders of our countries -- elected
leaders -- to stand up and defend those institutions.
And so, Mr. President, thank you for that
dialogue and thank you for that discussion. The President
reminded me that U.S. involvement in the neighborhood can
be constructive and positive, and I agree. And I reminded
him that the best involvement that can happen is when countries
make wise decisions to attract investment; that there be
consistency in law, which he agrees with; that contracts
be honored; that when a person makes an investment, that
there is not certainty of success, but certainty that the
rules won't change; that when a government fights corruption,
that government sends a signal to investors, large and small,
that this is a good place to take risk.
I also reminded the President we wouldn't
be having this discussion if our respective economies weren't
strong. And the United States economy is strong. It's healthy.
We've overcome some serious challenges recently. But the
investor climate in the United States, the willingness for
people to invest is good. And the fact that Argentina is
picking up additional direct foreign investment is positive,
it shows that the country is making wise decisions.
We're going to talk about jobs later on,
and that's an important subject. We discussed the need to
make sure education systems were strong and vibrant, in
order to make sure people can take advantage of opportunities
when they arise.
I was pleased that the President was talking
about a very ambitious education program, in terms of increasing
expenditures, the percentage of GDP by, I think he said
2010, to be a significant increase. And that's wise. That's
called leadership. And it seems like to me that at this
summit, that if you believe in the values we discussed and
if you understand how to make rational decisions, we ought
to share those concepts with other countries. And that's
why I'm glad to be down here. This is an opportunity to
positively affirm our belief in democracy, in human rights
and human dignity.
And so I want to thank you for being a good
host. It's not easy to host all these countries. It's particularly
not easy to host, perhaps, me. (Laughter.) But thank you
for doing it; you're doing a fine job. (Laughter.) I'm looking
forward to it. I'm looking forward to our meetings, I'm
looking forward to this evening's cultural event and dinner.
And I've been looking forward to our discussion; it was
a good one.
Mr. President, thank you very much. It's
an honor to be here. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT KIRCHNER: (As translated.) Thank
you very much for being here. Again, we had a very clear,
open, candid meeting. We clearly expressed our own thoughts.
And as President of Argentina, I'm leaving this meeting
feeling very satisfied because it wasn't a meeting looking
for nice words, but to speak the truth, and each of us did
just that. Thank you very much for being here.
END -- 11:14 A.M. (Local)