President Bushâ€™s Adventure with Tony Blair and a Live Microphone at the G8 Summit
President Bush was in no mood for diplomatic niceties at the G8 summit, judging by remarks made to Tony Blair as the leaders of the world’s most powerful industrial democracies sat down to lunch today.
Unaware that a microphone at the summit was switched on, Mr. Bush, chomping a piece of bread, used the opportunity to suggest a way out of the latest criss in the Middle East.
“See, the irony is what they really need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s***,” he said.
Mr Bush also hinted that Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, would take a bigger role, and appeared to express frustration about UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
“I think Condiâ€™s going to go pretty soon,” Mr. Bush said. Ms. Rice is widely expected to travel to the region after a UN fact-finding team returns.
Mr Blair, whose remarks were not as clearly heard, appeared to be pressing Mr Bush about the importance of getting international peacekeepers into the region.
The comments were carried on the G8’s official television channel, which normally transmits images with sound that does not allow reporters to pick out individual comments.
The recording also showed Mr Bush, apparently expected to make remarks, declaring: “Iâ€™m just going to make it up. Iâ€™m not going to talk too damn long like the rest of them. Some of these guys talk too long.”
Blair/Bush exchange: transcript
Bush: Yo, Blair. How are you doing?
Blair: Iâ€™m just…
Bush: Youâ€™re leaving?
Blair: No, no, no not yet. On this trade thingy…[INAUDIBLE]
Bush: Yeah, I told that to the man.
Blair: Are you planning to say that here or not?
Bush: If you want me to.
Blair: Well, itâ€™s just that if the discussion arises…
Bush: I just want some movement.
Bush: Yesterday we didnâ€™t see much movement.
Blair: No, no, it may be that itâ€™s not, it may be that itâ€™s impossible.
Bush: I am prepared to say it.
Blair: But itâ€™s just I think what we need to be an opposition…
Bush: Who is introducing the trade?
Blair: Angela [Merkel, the German Chancellor].
Bush: Tell her to call â€™em.
Bush: Tell her to put him on, them on the spot. Thanks for [INAUDIBLE] itâ€™s awfully thoughtful of you.
Blair: Itâ€™s a pleasure.
Bush: I know you picked it out yourself.
Blair: Oh, absolutely, in fact [INAUDIBLE].
Bush: What about Kofi? [INAUDIBLE] His attitude to ceasefire and everything else … happens.
Blair: Yeah, no I think the [INAUDIBLE] is really difficult. We canâ€™t stop this unless you get this international business agreed.
Blair: I donâ€™t know what you guys have talked about, but as I say I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is, but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral.
Bush: I think Condi is going to go pretty soon.
Blair: But thatâ€™s, thatâ€™s, thatâ€™s all that matters. But if you… you see it will take some time to get that together.
Bush: Yeah, yeah.
Blair: But at least it gives people…
Bush: Itâ€™s a process, I agree. I told her your offer to…
Blair: Well…itâ€™s only if I mean… you know. If sheâ€™s got a…, or if she needs the ground prepared as it were… Because obviously if she goes out, sheâ€™s got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk.
Bush: You see, the … thing is what they need to do is to get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and itâ€™s over.
Blair: Because I think this is all part of the same thing.
Blair: What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way…
Bush: Yeah, yeah, he is sweet.
Blair: He is honey. And thatâ€™s what the whole thing is about. Itâ€™s the same with Iraq.
Bush: I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to Assad and make something happen.
Bush: We are not blaming the Lebanese government.
Blair: Is this…?
(at this point Blair taps the microphone in front of him and the sound is cut.)