Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580
11:49 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: We'll make statements only today.
Mr. President, welcome. It is a high honor to welcome President Ilves to the Oval Office. He is the President of a country which has emerged from some really dark days. And having been in
I thank you very much for your voice, heard very clearly, for those who suffer under tyrannical societies, and that is, is that freedom is a precious gift to all and that democracy and societies based upon liberty are the best way to not only enable people to realize their talents, but to lay the foundation for peace. And along these lines,
I briefed the President today about my conversation with the Prime Minister of Iraq, as well as our conversations with David Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. Today, once again, we saw the brutality that extremists can inflict upon societies when a suicider killed innocent people who were working toward reconciliation. All the more reason, Mr. President, for us to remain firm and strong as we stand for this young democracy -- these young democracies.
The people of
We talked about a lot of other interesting subjects, as well. Of course, the President pushed me very hard on visas. I readily concede there's an inconsistency in our policy where the people of
We also talked about an interesting subject, and one that I can learn a lot about, and that is the cyber attack that makes us all vulnerable.
But I'm dealing with a man who is a clear thinker, he speaks with moral authority and moral clarity, and he's a voice for reason and hope around the world. And we're proud to welcome you here to the Oval Office.
PRESIDENT ILVES: Thank you very much, President Bush. It is great to be back here, to be in the United States, a strong ally of my country, a country that has been with Estonians throughout the Cold War, supporting Estonia's desires for democracy and for independence, and even in the darkest of times, and since the reestablishment of our independence, has been with us all along as a very strong partner, strong supporter of our membership in NATO; a country that, whenever things have been tough for us, has stood with us. And it's one reason why
I'm grateful for President Bush's position, which I did push him hard on, on the visa issue. It is something of concern in Estonia, but I think all the other new members of NATO, the ones who are -- who have been very good allies in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and our people don't always understand why it is that those countries that have been the strongest supporters of the United States find it often the most difficult to come for vacation. But that -- I think that is an issue which is more in the hands of Congress, and we hope that Congress will resolve this.
We did, in fact, suffer a series of attacks on our computer infrastructure. It is a serious issue if your most important computer systems go down in a country like mine, where 97 percent of bank transactions are done on the Internet. When you are a highly interneted country like we are, then these kinds of attacks can do very serious damage. And I do think it's the wave of the future -- not that it's a good wave, but it is something that we have to deal with more and more.
We know that the
So I think that -- well, for me, it's been -- it's a very good visit. And I know that President Bush has a busy schedule, but I do hope that when his term in office is up, that you will come to my ranch -- which is a lot smaller than yours. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all for coming.
END 11:55 A.M. EDT