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...


Again, this is an opportunity in the standing up of a Palestinian state and giving a positive alternative to the vision of Hamas to deal a setback to Iran , and bring stability and peace to the region. And again, it is important for, as the final part of his message, that all the regional states who share the concern about what's happening in the region, are willing to make strategic investments in peace and a better future for the Middle East by supporting the Lebanese government, by supporting Salam Fayyad and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, and by supporting Iraq in its struggle against illegal militias in the southern part of its country.

Finally, and then I'll stop, the President also had an opportunity for a first meeting with the new Prime Minister of Pakistan . As you could tell from the footage of the briefing that the two leaders and the statements the two leaders made after the meeting, it was a very positive meeting. As he did in the press conference, the Prime Minister of Pakistan made clear that in his view, Pakistan , the United States , and really all of humanity is threatened by extremism and terror. He noted that he had lost his own leader, Benazir Bhutto , to terror, and that fighting terror was something that Pakistan did for its own future and for its own reasons and purposes, and that he would fight to bring peace and stability to Pakistan .

The President -- the Prime Minister also expressed appreciation to the President and the American people for the support they gave to Pakistan during the period, and that resulted in free and fair elections. He thanked the President and the American people for supporting the transition to democracy in Pakistan . And the President made very clear that he supports this new democratic government in Pakistan , that his objective is to have good, close and continued relations with Pakistan , and that he was confident we would have good relations with this new government, that good U.S.- Pakistan relations were a vital part of our foreign policy.

Q The President's words of encouragement and optimism, and the objectives that he said, they all sound like the same thing that -- same message that we heard back in January. And I'm wondering what's new? What had -- has the President seen signs of progress over the five months? Has he been told that things are happening? What can you point to?

MR. HADLEY: A couple things. One, in January there was a commitment to negotiate, but no negotiations. What we have now is the negotiation is ongoing, extremely intensive at several levels between Israelis and Palestinians, and tangible progress in dealing with the hard issues that are required before an agreement is reached. Is it done yet? No. Are we making progress? The President's view is yes, we are making progress.

Second, the Palestinian Authority, in terms of building its own institutions, taking responsibility for security, and then trying to bring economic life and a better life for their people, we have seen six months of progress in that school. What is happening in Jenin is one element of that. There are a number of elements going on, but it is one element. And it is in some sense an experiment that if it succeeds can be a model that can spread throughout the West Bank .

So we see concrete progress in what Prime Minister Fayyad's government is doing in terms of building the institutions of a Palestinian state, and bringing better governments -- governance to their people.

And third, I think there is among Palestinians, Israelis, and Arab leaders in the region, a much better appreciation for what is at stake in the Middle East more broadly; that the challenge that Iran is presenting through its various surrogates -- you know, Syria , Hezbollah, Hamas, and the illegal militia in southern Iraq -- have greater appreciation for that, and a greater understanding that we -- that greater effort is going to be required if that threat is going to be met. It has not resulted in the concrete expression of support for the forces of change and reform and peace that we would have -- we would hope, and that's one of the reasons the President came to urge that we all need to do more, the Arab states here and the United States , and he indicated his commitment to doing more, as well.

So I think it's significant progress here over the last five months in the ways that I've described.

Q Mr. Hadley, did anything happen on this trip? Did anything, perhaps -- in the President's meetings or the Secretary's meetings? Did anything get achieved -- something concrete? There's a lot of rhetoric, but I don't --