Press Briefing by the National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley

WASHINGTON , May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following in a transcript of a press briefing by the National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley : Continental Garden Reef Resort Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt 11:30 A.M. (Local...

WASHINGTON , May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following in a transcript of a press briefing by the National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley :

MR. HADLEY: I think you all have a copy now of the speech the President is going to give this afternoon. Let me just say a word -- a few comments about that, and then a little bit about the conversations the President has had today and last evening.

I think you'll see from the speech that it is -- its tone is one of optimism about what is possible in the Middle East ; that the transformation to freedom, democracy, open markets and prosperity that occurred in Asia and Europe in the 20th century is possible in the Middle East in the first half of the 21st century.

The speech makes clear that to do this there needs to be economic reform, opening of economies, encouraging entrepreneurship. There needs to be investing in people of the region, particularly through education, and then of course the promotion of freedom -- economic freedom, but also political freedom, as critical for enduring prosperity.

I think the speech is a challenge to -- also to the young people of the region -- the enormous opportunity that is before them. Certainly there are challenges, but there's a real opportunity for them to make a very different looking Middle East . He indicates that America will support them in that effort.

And finally, he articulates his vision for the region 60 years from now. And as you will note, it is the same vision that he articulated at the end of his speech at the Knesset.

The key element of that vision, of course -- a key element of that vision is the creation of a Palestinian state. And in the speech the President reaffirms, as he has so often, his strong commitment to the establishment of a democratic Palestine, the two-state solution, and his strong commitment to support the process that could result in the establishment of agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians that would outline the contours of a Palestinian state and the basis for a permanent peace.

He will reaffirm the process he launched in Annapolis, which, as you know, involves negotiations among the parties. It also involves building the institutions of the Palestinian state, and also implementing the road map obligations by Palestinians largely in the area of security, by Israelis in the area of settlements and outposts, to show that progress and peace are possible.

And the President used his meetings here in Sharm el Sheikh to advance that process, and advance those three objectives. He heard last night from President Abbas and his negotiating team about the status of their negotiations with the Israelis. I think he remains optimistic that an agreement can be reached before the end of the year, and he is certainly committed to that, based on what he heard both here in Sharm el Sheikh and what he heard in Israel . He remains committed and optimistic on the negotiations.

He had an opportunity to meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad to talk about the institution building and road map implementation from the standpoint of the Palestinian side. And what he heard was a commitment to Palestinians taking greater responsibility for security of their own people. As you know, there is an effort going on right now in Jenin where the Palestinian Authority is taking greater responsibility in the Jenin district. That is providing greater security to the people of Jenin, and the Prime Minister spoke about how what needs to follow on behind that greater security is tangible efforts to increase economic activity.

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