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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Tony Blair Addresses Press
Aired July 8, 2005 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: That's the sound of the opening bell on Wall Street today, a day after performing relatively well, even after other markets tumbled in the wake of the London bombings. As Andy Serwer suggested a little while ago, perhaps the war on terror is sort of baked into the market already and explains some of its tepid performance of late. The Dow Jones Industrial average opens at 10,302. Actually went up 31 points. The Nasdaq, the composite index opens up seven points at 2,075.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. It is exactly half past the hour on this AMERICAN MORNING. Over in London, the afternoon rush hour is beginning. It's going to happen in the next hour or so. Police are asking people in the city to remain vigilant and to be on the look-out for any suspicious packages.
M. O'BRIEN: They're asking them, but I think they already are. We'll have another update from London coming up, also talk to a man who is on the street, very close to where that double-decker bus exploded. We'll hear what he has to say.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes, I bet it was a very scary experience for him.
First, though, let's get a check of the headlines. Fredricka Whitfield for us this morning. Hey, Fred, good morning again.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, Soledad.
President Bush is heading home from the G-8 Summit in Europe. He left Gleneagles just moments ago. The president has said he was most impressed by the resolve of the world leaders joining him at the summit. The group appeared in a traditional class photo released this morning. The G-8 announced plans on aid to Africa, climate change and the development of Palestinian democracy, and said terrorism would not prevent the summit from advancing its agenda.
The state of Florida ending its inquiry into the death of Terri Schiavo. Governor Jeb Bush had cited an alleged gap between the time Schiavo's husband Michael found her collapsed and the time that he actually called 911. But state officials say they found no signs of foul play in Terri Schiavo's collapse 15 years ago.
And a hurricane warning is in effect for the Florida Keys. Some residents and all tourists in the Keys were ordered to evacuate on Thursday. Hurricane Dennis, packing winds of at least 135 miles per hour now. Cuba, feeling the effects with the eye of the storm some 200 miles southeast of Havana. Much more on Dennis' path, straight ahead. Now back to you, Soledad. S. O'BRIEN: And obviously, thanks. We're going to continue to follow that path of Dennis all through the day and through the weekend, too.
Well, London police say they're confident in their ability to piece together the scattered clues of Thursday's attacks, but they warn that it's complicated and it's going to take some time. Anderson Cooper, live for us in London this morning.
Anderson, you know, when you consider four sites, -- two of them they pointed out in that press conference, very complicated because of their locations -- they got a lot of work ahead of them.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's going to be a long time. I mean, they can't even get to one of the sites, the site actually I'm standing over, at King's Cross, the subway. They haven't even been able to get to the actual subway car where the bomb went off because of the wreckage. And also, they are concerned about the safety itself of the tunnel. It may have been weakened in the blast. And as the hours go by and as the days go by, it gets more and more difficult for the workers down there, as you can imagine. I mean, there are bodies in that car. There are vermin in the subway. And they have been very open about the -- what faces them just in this one spot here at King's Cross.
But you know, I mean, Londoners are great and strong people, and, you know, they have seen bombings in the past. Yes, this is the worst since World War II, the worst loss of life due to an attack. But they are resolved to move forward. Work continues here. The city is crowded. Traffic is moving slowly, but it is moving. As you can see behind me, a bus passing me by. The buses have people on them, they are very crowded. A lot of the subways still aren't running, but people are determined to get back on the bus. Even though they may be scared, they want their life to continue. And you hear that over and over again.
I want to show you a newspaper, if I can, from today. It is the "Sunday Times." and on the cover, there's a man by the name of Paul Dog (ph) -- you see him here, helping out a woman whose face has been burned in this subway blast. I spoke to this man, to Paul, just a short time ago. He actually works at AOL.
And one of the interesting things he said to me is he wants -- he hadn't seen this picture until he went to work. And he wants people, he wants the terrorists, he wants al Qaeda, whoever is involved in this, to get a message from the picture. And he says the message that they should get is -- look, you delayed us going to work a few hours, you killed some people, you made life difficult for a few hours, but we're continuing on. And that's all it is. It's a blip in the life of this great city and the life of this great city continues -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes, we've heard that message, certainly, a lot today, and after the bombings, as well. Anderson Cooper in London for us this morning. Anderson, thank you -- Miles? M. O'BRIEN: We are expecting momentarily for Tony Blair, the British prime minister, to issue a final communique and take some questions from reporters at the G-8 Summit, the Group of Eight Summit, in Gleneagles, Scotland. As soon as that happens -- and the room is buzzing a little bit, indicating it might be happening soon, we will bring it to you live.
Which leads us to your next guest, which we will warn in advance, we might have to interrupt him to do just that. But let's get started anyway, with Jeevan Deol, who is a witness to the bombings yesterday, and also a Muslim scholar in London and happened to be right near where that double-decker bus blew up.
I want to ask you about what you saw, but first, I am curious, what the reaction within the Muslim community is this day, after those attacks?
JEEVAN DEOL, AUTHORITY ON AL QAEDA: Well, I'm afraid, Miles, I'm going have to correct you. I'm not a Muslim. So I think I'm going to have to pass on that question.
M. O'BRIEN: I'm sorry. I thought it said you were a Muslim. You're not a Muslim scholar?
DEOL: No. I work on terrorism and security issues in the University of London.
M. O'BRIEN: OK. My apologies, then. I got some bad information.
DEOL: So what...
M. O'BRIEN: Why don't...
DEOL: What I can tell you, though, is that on the streets of London, both yesterday and today, there hasn't been any racial tension overtly. There hasn't been any anti-Muslim feeling going around. Londoners are resolute, but Londoners are also united.
M. O'BRIEN: OK. Tell me what you saw yesterday.
DEOL: Well, I normally walk through the side streets on the way to Tavistock Place, where the bus explosion happened. And I'd already had a sense that things were not as they should be, because there were hundreds of people on the side streets, there were sirens everywhere. And as I came up to the back side of that big building that we've all now seen on the television, the British Medical Association, the bus explosion went off, a big massive thump, the sound of metal ripping, glass going off, things coming back down onto the ground, which must have been the roof of the bus. And almost immediately after that, panic and mayhem. People screaming, running, people covered in blood. Just complete and utter panic for those few moments.
M. O'BRIEN: And you say you study terrorism, correct?
DEOL: Yes. M. O'BRIEN: So to see it unfold before your very eyes, what went through your mind?
DEOL: Well, I'd already had a slightly sick to my stomach feeling as I was making my way down, because what was going on was more or less telling me that there were terrorist incidents going on. I hadn't had a chance to see the news. It's, of course, frightening...
M. O'BRIEN: Tell me -- before you go on, tell me what was giving you that indication, first of all?
DEOL: There were far too many sirens for it to be any kind of a normal incident. I think just as I was coming out, there was a police helicopter up. There were a lot people on the streets who didn't know why they'd been chucked out of the tube system. So there were just too many things that were wrong for 9:00 a.m. on a quiet morning.
M. O'BRIEN: All right. So you had this kind of suspicion, then you watched it all unfold. Do you -- as you listen to the rhetoric from the officials and the statements from investigators, clearly what is said time and again is that this is certainly al Qaeda-style attack. I assume given that you studied this, you would concur?
DEOL: Yes. It's got all the fingerprints of an al Qaeda-linked or as you're saying, al Qaeda-style attack, which are multiple, timed, simultaneous attacks. Equally importantly, attacks that happen at the beginning of the news day, so that there's a whole day for the news to dominate the air waves. And thirdly, an attack on a target that disrupts the economic functioning of the city. So it looks very much to us like an al Qaeda-linked attack.
M. O'BRIEN: What it does tell you, though, is that the model of Madrid, the so-called 3/11 attacks as opposed to the 9/11 spectacle that we all saw here in New York City, seems to be where al Qaeda is right now, might indicate that al Qaeda is diminished in power?
DEOL: It might indicate that, Miles, but something else it also indicates is most of the terrorists in continents of Europe and in the U.K. have historically been North Africans. And they got their logistical training by attacks on infrastructure, in Algeria and on the subway system in Paris. So it may well be that the people behind the attacks are people who were helping with the logistics, were trying to carry out a type of attack that, to them, it's a familiar type of attack that has a big impact.
M. O'BRIEN: Jeevan Deol, thank you for your insights. We appreciate you being with us -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: A reminder that once again, we are waiting to hear from the British prime minister Tony Blair. He's got his had final comments as the G-8 Summit wraps up. In fact, many of the world leaders have already departed. The communique released just a little while ago, but we are still waiting for comments and we are expecting, as you can see with all of those journalists gathered, that, in fact, the prime minister will be taking questions, as well, at the end of his statement. We'll bring that to you live when it happens.
Hurricane Dennis, pounding Cuba right now with its 135 mile-an- hour winds, threatening to menace Florida over the weekend, as well.
M. O'BRIEN: Still ahead, an American nurse who was on a passing when one of those bombs exploded in the London underground. She describes the fear and panic and tells us about her extra effort to help the victims.
S. O'BRIEN: Also, what more can be done to protect subways, and trains and buses here in the United States? We're going to talk this morning with a transportation security expert. Those stories ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
S. O'BRIEN: You're looking at scene of what's going to be a news conference held by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The final communique from the G-8 Summit has already been delivered. What we're waiting for now are the final comments from Tony Blair, the host of the summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. We're going to bring that to you live as soon as it happens. We are told that, in fact, it's going to be happening imminently.
We're going to break away from that pictures so we can continue our discussion of what's happening here in the United States. U.S. subways and buses and commuter trains are on a higher state of alert today, concerned about the possibility of attacks like Thursday's bombing in London.
Rafi Ron is in Washington this morning. He's a transportation security expert. He's also the president of New Age Security Solutions.
Thanks for talking with us.
I have to warn you, though, we might break away if indeed the prime minister delivers this news conference. So consider yourself fairly warned, if you don't mind.
You know, London, when you think about it, already on high alert because of the G-8 summit, and this is a city that had experience and training. So I guess the final take away from this, there is no way to protect the transportation system in any major city from terrorists?
RAFI RON, NEW AGE SECURITY SOLUTIONS: Well, no way maybe is a little bit too far, but I certainly agree that protecting mass- transportation systems is extremely difficult because of the nature of those systems. The whole purpose is to allow people to move in and out quickly without any disturbances, and there's no question that any security screening along the lines of what we are witnessing at airports is out of the question, and we have to base our early- detection capabilities on other measures. S. O'BRIEN: OK, then, if it's out of the question, what are the other measures that would be both practical and not completely prohibitively expensive?
RON: Well, first of all, obviously the role of intelligence in this case is critically important. But as to what can be done out in the field is we have to raise the level of awareness and the level of skills of our personnel and the public to detect suspicious behavior and suspicious indicators that such an event is in the progress or is being planned.
S. O'BRIEN: We heard actually in the news conference given by Scotland Yard a little bit earlier this morning their three-pronged approach that put a lot effort on the community giving information. Do you think that that's across the board true in every city?
RON: Yes, I believe it is. I think that the role of the public is critical in this respect, and I think that we have seen countries like Israel that have been under terrorism for a very long time. The public is responding, and very well, and the response of the public becomes critical in preventing major tragedies.
S. O'BRIEN: What about the response of elected officials and, for example, maybe specifically, the homeland security secretary, as you well know, that the alert was raised to orange for one particular sector, mass transit. Does that really make any difference?
RON: I think it does, because it is an indication to the public that it's one of the measures that can be used in order to raise public awareness. We have a tendency from time to time to let go after a while, and it's very important that the public will get messages from the government as to the support level of awareness.
S. O'BRIEN: Do you expect there's going to be a terror attack on a U.S. subway system in the near future?
RON: I think that we have to take that into consideration. I think that the attack in London is another example of what can happen here, and we do need to take all the right precautions.
S. O'BRIEN: Rafi Ron is a transportation security expert with us this morning. Thanks for your time -- Miles.
RON: Thank you.
M. O'BRIEN: CNN LIVE TODAY is coming up next. Daryn Kagan with that, with a preview for us.
Good morning, Daryn.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Miles, a lot still to happen today. At the top of the hour, we are live from London. That is where nervous commuters head home from work concerned about they're safety. We're also expecting to hear from London's mayor and police commissioner.
Also, U.S. investigators are helping to hunt the killers responsible for Thursday's terror attacks. We're going to take you inside the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center. It is a CNN exclusive, coming up on CNN LIVE TODAY.
For now, back to you.
M. O'BRIEN: All right, looking forward to that. Daryn, thank you very much.
Phones in London jammed for hours in the wake of those attacks. What should you do in a situation like that? My goodness, life without a cell phone? What do you do? We'll tell you what worked, what didn't. Andy's here next with "Minding Your Business." Stay with us for more AMERICAN MORNING.
M. O'BRIEN: Live pictures now. This is Gleneagles, Scotland, and this is the British Prime Minister Tony Blair. I believe this is the fourth time we've heard from him since the attacks, here addressing reporters at the conclusion of the G-8 Summit.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF GREAT BRITAIN: ... the G-8 Summit. And I'd like, if I might, to begin by thanking all my G-8 colleagues and the other leaders from different countries around the world who participate in the summit, and thank them especially for their expressions of solidarity and the strength of their commitment to the British people at what has obviously been a difficult time as a result of the terrorist acts in London yesterday.
And I would most sincerely like to thank them for that. They showed great leadership and a very great sense of friendship toward my country, and I was honored to receive that.
In respect of the G-8, as you know, we put two major issues right at the forefront of our deliberations: the issue of Africa and the issue of climate change.
In respect of Africa, you will now be reading the communique, and you will see the chairman's remarks as well.
It's in the nature of politics that you do not achieve absolutely everything you want to achieve, but nonetheless I believe we have made very substantial progress indeed.
As I said to you earlier today, we do not simply by this communique make poverty history, but we do show how it can be done, and we do signify the political will to do it.
The passion that we have brought to this has been echoed by a quite remarkable campaign in all parts of our country, but in all parts of the world also. It has been led with a great deal of dignity and with an enormous compassion and decency for the scandal of the thousands of people who die every day preventably in Africa, motivated by a determination to see a stop to it. BLAIR: About a year ago, we established the Commission for Africa with the purpose of trying to put in place the basic elements of a comprehensive package that would right the wrong of Africa. That Commission for Africa report has really informed our decisions and our deliberations here at the G-8.
As you will see, the commitment to the doubling of aid we have achieved -- and doubling of aid not just for Africa, the extra $25 billion, but also -- this has been estimated now by the OECD -- a doubling of overall aid, which gives us an additional $50 billion.
We always recognized, however, that it wasn't enough simply to increase aid. We also have the finance ministers' agreement to cancel debt.
And I would like to pay tribute to my own colleague and chancellor, Gordon Brown, for the work that he did in bringing finance ministers together on that issue.
We also made sure that we developed specific commitments in relation to the other problems that Africa has.
In respect of HIV/AIDS, for example: as close as possible to universal access within the next few years. If we can really do that -- and that's the commitment there -- what a huge difference that will make to Africa.
In respect of malaria and T.B. and polio: specific commitments. In respect of education: again, commitments that should allow us to reach the millennium development goals that were set out.
In respect of peacekeeping: not merely the training of an additional 20,000 peacekeepers for Africa, but an endorsement of the basic principles of the United Nations plan that we have a sufficient force from the Africa Union capable of keeping the peace and enforcing the peace in circumstances where there has been conflict.
And on trade: I think some of us would like to have gone further and had a specific end date given now for the ending of all export subsidies. Nonetheless, we have two commitments: one, that we should establish a credible end date, and secondly, a commitment to make a success of the next round of negotiations in Hong Kong later this year.
And I think, from what we said around the table and what was said by President Bush yesterday, I believe it is possible to get a clear commitment at Hong Kong to a date -- I believe it should be and will be 2010 -- in which we can end such subsidies.
There are also commitments on infrastructure, on building trade capacity, because it's enough for us simply to open up our markets; we also have to make sure that those developing countries have the capacity to make use of those more open markets.
BLAIR: And there was also, from the African side, likewise a firm and strong commitment to good governance, to democracy, to human rights, to respect for the rule of law.
We said throughout, and I say again now, this can never be done on the basis of the old relationship of charity between donor and recipient; it can only be done on the basis of a partnership.
The only people that will change Africa ultimately are Africans. And to those people who say, "All we ever wanted to do was put money into Africa," that's never been our case. Our case is that the money is necessary, but it is never sufficient.
In the end, it is only vibrant African leadership capable of giving good governance to its people that can make the ultimate difference, that will rout out corruption, that will entrench democracy and human rights, and that will make sure that people respect the rule of law.
So I'm very pleased at what we've been able to achieve.
And I hope, as I said to you earlier today, that that clear signal on Africa, not just of intent but of detailed propositions for help, stands in stark contrast to the politics of terror that we saw exhibited yesterday.
The second issue was climate change.
Now, here, let me be very clear as to what we haven't achieved and what we have achieved.
We were never going to be able at this G-8 to resolve the disagreement over Kyoto, nor to renegotiate a set of targets for countries in place of the Kyoto Protocol. That was never going to happen, and I have to be very blunt with you about that.
BLAIR: But I'll tell you my fear on climate change, which is why I put this on the G-8 agenda.
If it is impossible to bring America into the consensus on tackling the issue of climate change, we will never ensure that the huge emerging economies, particularly those of China and India, who are going to consume more energy than any other part of the world -- we will never ensure that they are part of a dialogue.
And if we cannot have America as part of the dialogue on climate change, and we can't have India and China as part of the dialogue, there is no possibility of us succeeding in resolving this issue.
What I wanted to do, therefore, at this summit, was establish the following, and I believe we have done this.
I wanted an agreement that this was, indeed, a problem, that climate change is a problem, that human activity is contributing to it, and that we have to tackle it; secondly, that we have to tackle it with urgency; thirdly, that in order to do that, we have to slow down, stop, and then, in time, reverse the rising greenhouse gas emissions. And, finally, we had to put in place a pathway to new dialogue when Kyoto expires in 2012. And what we've agreed is a dialogue between the G-8 countries and others, but most particularly the five that came to Gleneagles yesterday. And that dialogue will be on how we confront and tackle this problem.
BLAIR: It is combined, in addition, with a specific plan of action in respect of all the main issues. And that plan of action and the dialogue together will then be reported on, first of all, at a meeting that will be held here in Britain on the 1st of November and then in successive G-8 presidencies.
And the president of Russia has kindly agreed to put this on the agenda for next year. And there will then be a full report back for the Japanese presidency in 2008.
So what it isn't -- and I don't claim that it is -- is a renegotiation of a climate change treaty or a going back over the disagreement over Kyoto.
What it is, however, is a firm consensus that this problem needs to be tackled, has to be tackled now, together with a dialogue for the future and a plan of action that brings, on the one hand, the major wealthy economies, including America, and, on the other hand, the emerging economies of China and India and other countries together.
That, I think, is something to be proud of.
Finally, there was also a decision -- and because of the events yesterday, I missed this particular session, but it was something that we've been working on for several weeks. There was also a decision to put together a package for the Middle East and for the Palestinian Authority, which will involve up to $3 billion over the next few years.
BLAIR: And the importance of that is very, very simple. When the disengagement plan happens over the next few weeks, it is essential we build the infrastructure of a state on the Palestinian side. And this money can help us do this -- together, again, with the proper plan of action.
So on Africa, on climate change and on the issue of the Middle East, I think we have made significant progress. And despite obviously being overshadowed by the terrorism that occurred yesterday in London, I think and hope we did demonstrate that there is a better and more hopeful way of doing politics in the future.
So that's all I have got to say by way of introduction. My assistant Tom here is going to call on people to ask questions.
And he did say there was air conditioning in this place, but if there is, it's...
I mean, I know we're trying to take the right action on the emissions, but... (LAUGHTER)
... just at the moment it's me who's emitting.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, before the awful events of yesterday, but I suspect even now, people from around the world were watching particularly what you were going to achieve on Africa, because of the millions of people who die there needlessly year after year after year.
Do you think that the agreement you have got will save millions of African lives? And if you do think that, what do you say to those people who said, "We need the money quicker"?
And if I could also ask on climate change, President Bush hasn't moved. Are you still committed to Kyoto in the sense of there needing to be measurable and clear targets for emissions as central to dealing with climate change?
BLAIR: First of all, I'd like to congratulate the Make Poverty History campaign. I can't think of a campaign that has been so brilliantly organized or struck such a chord with such a large number of people worldwide.
The answer to your question is, yes, I do believe, if it's implemented. This is a plan that has then to be implemented. You don't simply by issuing the communique do the work. The work now has to be done.
But if we double aid, if we cancel debt, if we open up our markets, if we allow conflict to be resolved, if we deal with the main killer diseases in Africa, yes, we will save thousands of lives every day and millions of lives in the future. Yes, we can say that.
But it has to be done. I mean, that's the point that I would make. It has to be done. And you don't do it just by saying it, but the commitments are there.
And one of the reasons why I wanted people to come together today and actually, not just to send a message to the terrorists, but to send a message of commitment -- I wanted the communique, and this is not normally done, signed by the other leaders -- is to say, "This is what we declare. We are going to be held to this. We're bound by it, we're committed to it, and judge us by it."
On climate change, I haven't changed my view on Kyoto or targets or any of the rest it. I simply just come back to the -- I mean, I'm a rationalist in politics. And supposing the European Union agrees a whole lot of targets -- we'll see whether we meet them -- but supposing we agree them, and supposing a lot of other countries around the world agree targets and meet them, if we don't have America, China, India, taking the action necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce them, then we won't solve climate change.
So we have had a situation where, for several years, there's been a fundamental disagreement in the international community.
Now, I'm not overselling this. What this is is the possibility of re-establishing a consensus. If we can do that, then when we get to the post-Kyoto period, we could have a genuine consensus that would involve America and the emerging economies. But it has to be built on.
That's why it's important that Japan has now said in 2008, we'll put this, you know, central to our agenda for the G-8. And then we will see whether the dialogue we're beginning -- it's a formal process of dialogue with the emerging economies in the G-8 -- yield results or not.
But I'm not -- as I say, I'm not overselling this.
In respect of Africa, we have a clear plan of action we now have to implement.
In respect of climate change, yes, we have a plan of action, and it's there, but the crucial thing is you've got to get a...
BLAIR: Well, you've got to -- people are agreed to the plan of action on climate change, but the point that I'm making, as it were, in -- you know, in order to put in the proper perspective what we've achieved, the point that I'm making is what we haven't done is renegotiate a different treaty or set a new set of targets or any of the rest it.
BLAIR: What we have done, however, which, if we work it properly, will yield results, is to establish a pathway back into an international consensus. Now, I don't put it any higher than that, but I think that is nonetheless important.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, the campaign was called "Make Poverty History," and by your own admission, what you've achieved here won't make poverty history. You've also said that you didn't achieve everything you wanted to achieve.
So what was it that you didn't achieve on Africa that you would liked to have achieved? And what do you say to many of those people working in this area who are already expressing deep disappointment that, for all of the public effort, the politicians have failed yet again, in their view?
BLAIR: Well, I don't know that they are doing that. I can assure you that I think that the majority of campaigners in this issue will see the doubling of aid is precisely what the Commission for Africa said.
And I believe -- it's not that I'm saying that -- if we implement this, we will make poverty history. We've got to implement it. That's what I'm saying. And the fact is, there are commitments here that are hugely important. Now, when I say you don't achieve everything you want to achieve, well, that's just the reality. In some parts of this, I might have wanted more specific sums of money allocated. I think we've got to go further on debt relief in the future. In respect of trade, my preference would have been a date there now.
But let's just examine where we've come from and where we are. This is a huge advance on anything that's been there before. And in particular, over the past few days, including just yesterday, the Japanese prime minister announcing an extra $10 billion for aid. Come on. I mean, this is progress.
Politics doesn't work by, you know, councils of perfection. But it does work by people making strong commitments. And these commitments are strong, and if they're delivered, yes, they will make poverty history.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, you said that, after the terrible events in London yesterday, there was a need here to show that politics can work. Isn't it truth, though, that we've got more sort of politics as usual? We have compromise.
And we've had commitments in the past from the G-8 that have been missed. This time, who's going to make sure that you guys stick to those commitments?
BLAIR: Well, again, let's just remember, at Cologne, we committed to debt relief, and some $60 billion of debt relief flowed as a result.
These are commitments people are making -- the European Union, Japan, the United States of America -- have made, and people will hold us to those commitments. They should hold us to those commitments. And the partnership forum between the African countries and the G-8 countries will ensure that that's so.
I mean, I don't want to be in the position of actually underselling my own package on Africa. I mean, I think actually we've done a huge amount.
BLAIR: I mean, I'm simply saying you will always have a situation where people say we need more. It's true; you always do need more.
But let's be clear. To have got to a situation where at a G-8 summit you doubled aid overall and doubled aid for Africa an additional $25 billion, I think we've got to be serious, that is big progress.
QUESTION: You believe that you've made progress here, but isn't it the case that, as you said, trade is the issue that would really help Africa get out of poverty? We have no date for ending these subsidies that so damaged the African economies.
Isn't it the case that people will look at this and draw the conclusion that once again the rich world has put itself ahead, or it's put its interests ahead of the interests of the poor world?
BLAIR: I don't think they will, no, because, actually, what most people were saying coming into the summit was the thing that we had to have was the doubling of aid.
Now, it's also true that you need to open up our markets. We've given a commitment to do that. We've said we must set a credible end date, and we've said we must make sure the Hong Kong ministerial works.
And I've said to you that although, for reasons as much as process as anything else, people feel it's in the Doha round, it's in the meeting in Hong Kong in December that the commitments should be given, not at the G-8. In other words, people say, well, the G-8 isn't the appropriate body to make the end date now; you've got to do that in the proper process of the World Trade Organization.
I mean, I think there's every chance of succeeding in that.
So I think you're wrong, too, in thinking that people will be disappointed. I think people will see this as a major step forward.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, a couple of questions.
One, can you give us a sense of which countries opposed the setting of a date for the scrapping of export subsidies?
And secondly, can you give us also a sense of the conditions that have been attached to the extra aid to Africa?
BLAIR: Well, on the first, I mean, there's no point in going to individual country's positions, although I think there was a general feeling amongst -- I happen to think it's just as well you put the date in -- but there was a general sense that it was better to leave this to the Doha process, I would have to say.
However, what we did do was commit to having such a date and, what's more, to commit to ensuring that the Hong Kong ministerial debate was a success.
And I think if you put those things together -- look, my judgment is you'll get date at the meeting at the end of the year.
In respect of aid, well, it depends. It is a deal, in the sense that we're saying we're going to make this very substantial additional commitment if African countries are prepared also to show the leadership and the commitment to good governance.
Now, some of the commitments that we make, for example, helping in respect of HIV/AIDS, or trying to make sure that people are cured from these killer diseases, some of those are obviously things that you want to do in any event.
But I think it's very clear that countries want to make sure that any aid they are giving is being used for the benefit of their people. And, you know, that's something the African leaders were quite willing to accept, because they want -- I think you've got to understand that for African leaders at the moment, they know that it is important for them to demonstrate their commitment to running their countries properly. And I found that commitment very, very powerful there today.
QUESTION: Mr. Prime Minister, I'm going back home and I'm going to run a live program talking to the people about the outcomes of this meeting.
QUESTION: And one question that they will be asking is -- particularly the consumers, they would ask, the aid that is coming, is it attached to anything that will make water more difficult for me to access through privatization, for instance? Are there any strings that are attached to it that will make it more difficult for me to access medicine? That would be one question.
Another question the farmers will ask me is, well, if they have not agreed on any date yet to stop the subsidies, what is the cost of opportunity for us? What is the loss that we are going to incur? How are we going to make it up?
BLAIR: On the first, you can tell your consumers that, no, it won't be coming attached with those types of strings at all.
The only qualification will be that the money that is supposed to go to produce better water or better relief from disease actually goes to relieve that poverty and that illness. That's the only qualification, and that's the right qualification that people would accept.
In respect of the rest, I think you should read the text. We have made a commitment to ending all export subsidies, and we have said we should set a credible end date. All I'm saying is, in my view, it will be set at the Hong Kong ministerial meeting in a few months' time through the Doha trade round.
But incidentally, one other thing that is important is that, during the course of this process, we also then made sure we're removing some of the tariff barriers between African nations, which are also a problem.
And in addition to that, that we're use something of the additional aid to build the infrastructure necessary to carry the farmers' produce from where it's being produced to ports and to market, because that's important too.
QUESTION: Mr. Prime Minister, how many peacekeepers will South Africa totally have? There were 75 allocated last year -- 75,000.
Also, I'd like to give you a little bit of relief here. America has a president; you have a queen. What did she tell you all yesterday -- or two nights ago?
(LAUGHTER) What were her words of admonishment?
BLAIR: Well, you have a president and we have a queen, and we have a convention that what the one says to the other isn't repeated.
So I'm afraid that's the answer to that.
And in respect to the first point, which was peacekeepers, I think you will find in the document the figure of $75,000 there. It's here with a commitment to train an additional 20,000 peacekeepers straightaway.
QUESTION: Mr. Prime Minister, one has to congratulate you for what you have done so far with the African issue. That is very impressive.
Now, I don't know -- we don't know if you have a monitoring system or if you spoke to the leaders and tell the African leaders that, from now onwards, you will be watching their back to make sure that they keep to this commitment. Is there anything like that?
BLAIR: It is very much making sure that each side keep to their commitments. And it's interesting that you say what you do. I think, as you've often recognized in Africa today, it's only, ultimately, African leadership and African people that will raise their own standards. It's our job to try and help in partnership, but it's important that those canons of economic responsibility are obeyed by African countries, yes.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, relating to the bombing yesterday in London, can you tell us what mechanism are you trying to put in place to engage those who actually seem to consider what is happening in Iraq as injustice, to lead them to actually creating the kind of mayhem they did yesterday in London -- i.e., the young men and women perceived to be involved in these kind of activities?
Secondly, we're a little bit disappointed that African leaders are not here, because we would have liked to ask them several questions relating to what is going to happen in Africa.
Thank you very much.
BLAIR: Well, I'm sure you'll get a chance to ask African leaders. I don't know quite what forum, but I know some of them will be giving interviews and making statements.
And in respect to the first part, I think it's just important for people to realize that the values that we espouse are values that cross all races and all religious divides. And those people who would inflict the politics of terror on people have no support in any democratic way at all, which is why they engage in terrorism.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, may I ask you about the terrorist attack of yesterday? Could you assist us, what went wrong that permitted that the terrorists launched with success the terrorist attacks of yesterday? What is your personal view?
BLAIR: My opinion is that those people who killed the innocent and caused such bloodshed, that they're responsible and they're solely responsible.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, could you just clarify something I think I heard you say, that this time you'd asked your fellow leaders to sign the outcome of this summit? Can you confirm that?
And if that is the case, which I think would be unprecedented, is it because you wouldn't otherwise them to carry out the commitments?
BLAIR: No, I think that is an unworthy thought.
But it is because I wanted to symbolize the strength of our commitment.
BLAIR: But you can go back over the previous G-8 communiques, but this covers every single part of the issue of Africa.
And when I say, well, not everything is going to be put right by a simple communique, I think it's just a statement of common sense.
But you've been handling these issues for a long period of time, and I can't remember a summit before in which we either agreed and gave commitments -- and there were commitments coming in, as I say, right up until yesterday to double aid for Africa, or make the other commitments, specific commitments, across the range of the diseases, peacekeeping, trade that are there in those terms.
And I think that, you know, all I'm saying is this doesn't end poverty of itself, but what it does is give us the happy that it can be. And if we implement it, that is what will happen.
QUESTION: Now, you have, Prime Minister, praised the anti- poverty campaigners for the vigor of their campaign on behalf of the poor in Africa. But I'm just reading one of their press releases. They did number crunches, and they have been looking at that $50 billion that you have been talking about. And it says here it's too little and too late, because all it represents is between $15 billion and $20 billion more than would have otherwise been given by the year 2010. That's one.
And then the second bit is, also, I understand that Britain has the majority of offshore banks that encourage these African dictators to steal money from Africa, to deposit them in British banks. And if you have rules and regulations and laws that prevents them from doing so, then the aid that you've given and the money from extractive (ph) industries from Africa that come into these bank accounts will otherwise go to developing education, health, fight AIDS, build infrastructure, so that for me, I don't have to here, I'll be there then. BLAIR: First of all, I don't know who's giving you the information on the second part. We have actually some of the strongest rules in the U.K. against corruption and have been prepared to freeze the assets of people who have been engaged in corruption.
We also as part of this initiative got the transparency initiative that actually allows us, as more companies sign up to it, to see exactly what people are paying in various different African countries and what they're paying it for.
As for the first point, I don't think you'll find that is the view of most campaigners.
I just want to say one thing to you. If anyone had said six months ago or even four months ago when we published the commission for Africa, we were going to get this level of commitment and people -- you know, you can argue forever about the aid figures and exactly how it's made up. The reason we put the OECD imprimatur on it was precisely in order to make it clear this is not just our estimate, but on any basis, this is a huge uplift in aid.
Now, let's celebrate that and go out and make the most of it and make sure that when that aid then flows -- and, yes, it's going to start flowing now, but, true, it is, it will build up over the next few years. But when it flows, and as it's used, let's make sure it's used in order to liberate people and help them and make their lives better.
But, you know, we have a situation here in the world today where, for the first time, not just everybody outside the G-8 but the countries of the G-8 have come together with a range of commitments right across the board on all issues to do with Africa.
BLAIR: Now, for the first time, we've got the possibility of that partnership. Let's use it. Let's make sure it makes a difference in the countries in which we're going to use this money.
And in the end, let's realize, too, that it's not just going to be about money, though that is important, or even opening up markets, though that's important too, or canceling debt, though that's absolutely vital.
It's also going to be about African leaders themselves prepared to take responsibility for their own countries. They've come here today and they've also, too, made the commitments to good governance, to democracy, to the rule of law.
Now, we've got a possibility of making this work. So let's go out there and make it work.
And you'll always get people who tell you it's not enough. I mean, look, I spend my whole time in politics with people saying, "Whatever you achieve is never enough." But actually, in the end, what you realize is that that's usually said by people who aren't actually getting their hands dirty trying to achieve anything. This is the basis upon which we can move forward -- if we implement these commitments, if we actually make sure there's universal access, right, to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2010, is it? If we actually do that, that is millions of lives that are going to be saved.
If we actually put the money we say we're going to put it through aid and give primary education to young people in Africa, think of the change that would be.
If we actually establish the peacekeeping force that we've got there, plus the money necessary to do it, it's a huge thing for preventing conflict in Africa.
So let's just realize: Politics is about getting things done, step by step, progress by progress. This is big progress, and we should be proud of it.
All right. Thank you all very much indeed.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We've been listening in to British Prime Minister Tony Blair of his closed in news conference from the G8 Summit. A summit that started with the intention of addressing aid to Africa and climate change. And Prime Minister Blair trying to address that. Of course, this was a summit that took a completely different turn with the terror attacks yesterday in London. Prime Minister Blair saying that what he hopes comes away from the summit, that this is a bet and more hopeful way of doing politics.
President Bush, of course, attended the summit. He is in the process of getting ready to head back to the United States. We're getting word that once President Bush does get back to Washington, D.C., he is going to go here. This is the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. And as you can see, a number of people in D.C. already dropping by flags and flowers and posters, messages. Basically messages of sympathy for what the British people have been through over the last 24 hours.
Back now to Britain and Gleneagles, Scotland. Our Suzanne Malveaux have been covering the G8 and the summit and joins us now live.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well hello, Daryn.
Of course you heard Blair just moments ago, of course. What he did acknowledged is that those terrorist attacks have overshadowed the G8 Summit. But he also said, of course, that they wanted to move on. They wanted to focus on the agenda. That is what he and the other leaders have been trying to do. President Bush, as well, all of them, trying to get a sense of not only condolences over what happened yesterday, but also a sense of resolve here.
You have to wonder whether or not he is disappointed. The fact that it overshadows his main themes here. Or if, in fact, it did actually give those leaders a little bit of a boost to say, hey, perhaps we'll agree on some items or some details, some things that we would not have put on the table before.
Blair very interestingly noting, saying that, look, this is the nature of politics here. Trying to put a good face on this. Saying that he did manage to get that pledge of doubling of aid from the G8 countries from $25 billion annually to $50 billion annually, up by 2010. Certainly hoping, if you look at the communique, the language a little bit fuzzy there. Perhaps some wiggle room for some of those countries who were not yet ready to make that kind of commitment.
He also, of course, talked about climate change. The importance of the Kyoto Treaty of being -- actually expiring in 2012. The fact that the United States is not going to ratify it. He, lowering the bar, lowering the expectations saying, he did not set out to actually do that but that they need to come up with a different way to actually talk to the United States, to work with the United States, in figuring out a way to acknowledge first and foremost that global warming is an issue, it is a problem.
Daryn, the big question here, of course, and he brought it up, is that it's all about follow through. We've heard all of these commitments. We've heard declarations, proclamations, communiques each year that the G8 Summit offers. He made each one of those leaders sign the communique this time around, trying to get a sense, a real sense of commitment from these leaders. But as you know, even the Bush administration faces some criticism. It has made pledges in the past regarding Africa that has not delivered when it comes to some of those monies. The Bush administration saying they are waiting to see -- to make sure that those governments are able to handle the resources, put the money in the right places. So it will be interesting to see what happens perhaps in the months to come after they've made these kinds of promises.
KAGAN: Suzanne Malveaux in Gleneagles, Scotland. Soon to make your way back here to the states. Safe travels.
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