June 15th, 2006 12:31 EST
White House Report, June 15: Iraq, Palestinians, Iran
President Bush plans to follow up with other leaders in the international community to urge them to meet their pledges of aid to help with Iraq`s reconstruction.
White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters June 15 that the president will be discussing the issue with leaders whose countries had pledged funds at the 2003 donors` conference in Madrid.
"That is going to be a topic of conversation in discussions with leaders from the region, and I`m sure it will come up in the [European Union] summit next week as well," the press secretary said."
In his June 14 press conference at the White House, Bush told reporters that of the $13 billion pledged to help Iraq by international donors, only $3 billion has been committed so far.
Asked about the long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq, Snow told reporters that it is dependent upon the host government, but that the United States will have "no permanent bases" in Iraq." "[T]he decision about how long to maintain a military base overseas is made by the sovereign government" as well as by U.S. military planners. "It`s up to them," he said.
For additional information, see Iraq Update.
UNITED STATES WORKING WITH EUROPE TO AID PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
The United States will continue to work with European countries to make sure the Palestinian people have the basic necessities of life, but will not allow funding for terrorists, press secretary Snow said.
"[W]e clearly do not recognize or support the Hamas government, which has not met the key benchmarks of recognizing Israel, renouncing terror and acknowledging previous agreements," Snow said."
"But having said that, we are not against the Palestinian people, and we are working to make sure that humanitarian relief does reach people in the Palestinian territories, in the West Bank and Gaza."
Snow also said the United States supports Palestinian aspirations to sovereignty, independence, freedom and democracy.
He pointed out that the United States has been the largest contributor of direct humanitarian aid and that the Israeli government is also trying to find aid for the Palestinian people.
In response to the latest wave of violence with Israel, Snow said the Palestinians are at a point where they must decide "which road they want to travel."
"[W]hat the United States is hoping is that the Palestinians will in fact follow the peaceful road, that they will work on becoming partners in peace, to work on two-party negotiations so that there can be a peaceful resolution," he said.
UNITED STATES AGAIN INSISTS IRAN SUSPEND URANIUM ENRICHMENT
The United States stands by the decision that Iran must suspend its uranium enrichment processing activities before the United States will be willing to enter talks with Tehran over its nuclear program.
Press secretary Snow said all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany (collectively known as the P-5 plus one) have agreed upon the precondition, but Iran is seeking to test their unity. The P-5 comprises Britain, China, France, the United States and Russia.
"Do they [Iran`s government] want to receive a package of incentives that are going to be good for their people or do they want a risk disincentives that will be bad for their people? Their choice," he told reporters.
The international community has put forth a package of incentives and penalties aimed at persuading the Iranian government to suspend its uranium enrichment activities and return to negotiations about its nuclear program. (See related article.)
Snow added that it might take Iran time to digest what the United States has proposed, but maintained that the policy is clear." "[T]hey have to take that first initial step," he said.
For additional information, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)