Press Availability with Secretary Rumsfeld and Minister Najib following the Bilateral Meeting at Singapore
NAJIB: Well, Secretary Rumsfeld and I, we had a very useful discussion. We’re very pleased with the level of cooperation between our two countries, particularly in the defense field. As you know, we’re committed to ensure that our part of the world remains peaceful and secure. And we’ll continue to play our part. A recent success in Sabah, arresting a number of militants, underscores and underpins our commitment to safeguard our part of the world. Our commitment in Timor Leste, as well as the southern Philippines, also is a good indication of our part in helping the international community. We’ve agreed that we should continue to work closely together, particularly in the field of anti-terrorism.
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Thank you very much. I certainly agree that we’ve developed an excellent military to military relationship and cooperation with respect to counter-terrorism, which is beneficial to both of our countries. I also thank the Minister for his country’s role with respect to East Timor and the cooperation there with the Australian effort to provide assistance. We’d be happy to take a couple of easy questions. It’s early in the morning.
NAJIB: Don’t be hard on us.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can I ask if you’d heard President Ahmadinejad’s remarks yet in regard to the Europeans’ and U.S. offer to sit down for talks? Had you heard about them?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: I have not.
QUESTION: Okay. He was roughly conciliatory saying he was willing to open a dialogue as long as he wasn’t forced to give up Iran’s right to civil nuclear program. Does that sound at all . . . ?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: My understanding is that the presentation of the EU 3 and the United States and Russia and China has not yet been made to them specifically, so clearly they’re not in a position to respond until such time as they’ve had an opportunity to see what the proposal is.
QUESTION: Mr. Rumsfeld, can I ask you about Japan and Prime Minister Koizumi’s visits to the Yakusuni Shrine. Is this going to turn into something the U.S. [inaudible] to stabilize it?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: I think I’ll leave that to the people in that region to work through. They don’t need advice from me.
QUESTION: May I also ask you about Japan’s relationship...?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: [interrupting] Why don’t you ask Admiral Fallon something difficult?
QUESTION: May I also ask you about Japan’s relationship with Iran and its oil relationship. Is that something that, uh . . . ?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: A lot of countries have energy relationships with other countries. I don’t find that surprising.
QUESTION: Is it something you’d raised with the Japanese?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: No, as a matter of fact we didn’t. We talked about a lot of things, but not that. Thank you, folks.
NAJIB: Thank you.