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Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Sept. 16, 2009. (Charles Dharapak/The Associated Press)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Sept. 16, 2009. (Charles Dharapak/The Associated Press)


A transcript of the Harper-Obama presser Add to ...

Oval Office 11:49 A.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Harper and I have just had an excellent conversation, reiterating the extraordinary friendship and bond between the American and the Canadian people. We discussed both our bilateral relationship on issues of energy, our borders, issues of trade, and how we can continue to strengthen the already excellent relations that we have.

We also have discussed a range of international issues. Obviously we've been partnering with Canada on improving the global economy. We both agree that although we are not out of the woods yet that we have seen signs of stability and that both Canada and the United States are on the path to positive economic growth. We both agree that coordination still needs to continue at the international level and are looking forward to the G20, where we can both discuss how to sustain efforts to kick start the economy, but also make sure that we're starting to look at exit strategies and what a sustainable growth model would be long term.

We had discussions about some of the international threats that continue to exist out there. We discussed climate change and preparations for the Copenhagen conference; Afghanistan and the need for us to move forward in a clear direction over the next several years; and the situation with Iran and the potential development of weapons and how we respond to the potential development of nuclear weapons in Iran.

So overall I just want to again publicly thank Prime Minister Harper for being an outstanding partner to the United States. We appreciate his excellent work. We very much appreciate the Canadian people. And we are looking forward to seeing them next week in both the United Nations context and the G20.

PRIME MINISTER HARPER: Well, thank you very much, Mr. President. First of all, Barack, let me just say I really appreciate -- this is our seventh time I think in some form or another we've had a chance to discuss some of these issues and we appreciate your time and of course both your and your country's alliance, neighborliness, and friendship. It's our most important relationship in the world. We're always delighted to sit down and talk.

(Speaking French.)

Once again we discussed three major subjects, as I indicated we would yesterday. First of all, the economy. The recovery is happening, but it is fragile and we really must redouble our efforts to apply stimulus measures and get those out the door, as we're doing in Canada, to make sure we continue to fix internationally the problems of financial institutions. And I noted the President's speech this week in Wall Street in this regard, which I think was an important message for everyone.

We're planning for the G20; we're looking forward to that. I think that's well in hand. I think we're going to have very useful and productive meetings there. And we discussed some of these irritants that arise in our trade relationship. Particularly I do want to mention this question of the charter flights, the NHL charter flights, which has been a difficulty in recent months. We think we're very close to resolving that in the next very little while. I think we have some kind of a tentative agreement in principle and we're working to finalize that in the next few days.

We discussed energy security and climate change. I remind all our American friends that Canada is by far the largest supplier of energy to the United States. And we are determined to be a continental partner in dealing with the joint -- with the very linked problems of climate change and energy security. Our two ministers, our respective ministers have provided us with a report on the clean energy dialogue, which I think shows some great progress in identifying areas of joint action. I think the next step will be some specific projects that we can pursue.

Today, Canada is announcing a major hydroelectric project, a big transmission line in northwestern British Columbia, which has the capacity down the road to be part of a more integrated North American hydroelectric system that will be obviously part of dealing with both these problems of energy security and climate change.

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