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Public Papers - 1990

Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union in Paris, France

1990-11-19

Persian Gulf Crisis

Q. Mr. Gorbachev.

President Gorbachev. Maybe we'll have something to say to you after our talk.

Q. Well, Saddam Hussein is building up his troops -- 200,000 more troops in Kuwait. What do you think that means? And what new ideas have you brought to the President?

President Gorbachev. You're very knowledgeable.

Q. Thank you. [Laughter]

President Bush. That is the new idea. [Laughter]

President Gorbachev. I'll say just a couple of words because it's easier for me than for the President because I think he suffers from jet lag a little more. So, I think we'll complete our understanding on a number of topics, and central to our discussion probably will be the Persian Gulf crisis. I think you must know that we're not going to change our position. We certainly will seek to resolve that situation, and we must be firm in our position in that.

Q. What is your position?

President Gorbachev. You don't know our position?

Q. Is it force or patience? President Gorbachev, is it force or patience?

President Gorbachev. Well, I think we all need patience, but that does not mean that we are going to relax, we are going to retreat. No, we are going to demand in a very resolute way. And the fact that we are working together, not only the Soviet Union and the United States but the United Nations and the whole are acting together, allows me to expect that in this very difficult crisis, resolutions will be found. And we will not waste time.

President Bush. We've got one more wave.

Q. Will there be a press conference afterwards?

President Bush. Not me. I had one this morning.

Q. President Bush, are you satisfied with what President Gorbachev -- --

President Bush. I'm looking forward to these consultations, and I'm very pleased with the way the Soviet Union and the United States have worked together at the United Nations. We'll continue to -- to be very open lines of communication, and I have no reason to be anything other than very satisfied.

Thank you all very much.

Soviet Union-U.S. Relations

[At this point, a reporter asked a question in Russian, and a translation was not provided.]

President Gorbachev. By the way, I tried to speak to that in my speech, and I showed that without the kind of U.S.-Soviet relationship as exists now nothing positive would have happened in Europe and in the world. That has not diminished the role of the -- but that's the reality.

President Bush. And inasmuch as you mentioned my name, I totally agree with that. And what's been lost today because events in other parts of the world is the significance of this meeting here in Paris, and it was historic. And President Gorbachev is correct. The fact that the Soviet Union and the United States could work together not only to achieve an arms control agreement but to start looking into the future with harmony and in cooperation is very, very promising for the new world order, for a Europe whole and free, and for peace in the world. So, somehow that's been lost today, given the understandable concerns about the Persian Gulf. But I'm glad you asked it because it is a highly significant point.

And thank you all very much.

U.S. Role in European Affairs

[At this point, a reporter asked a question in Russian, and a translation was not provided.]

President Gorbachev. At this meeting, I don't think that the United States is, so to say, passing the ruling to others. The United States here is a participant who will continue to participate in all European matters; and that's, I think, the only way that is possible, that is conceivable, in European -- and he has an understanding -- --

President Bush. There's only one problem in all of this. That is you get a little jet lag when you have to come from Washington, DC. It's easier for you. [Laughter]

Thank you all very much.

Note: The exchange took place in the afternoon at the U.S. Ambassador's residence. Saddam Hussein was President of Iraq. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

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