Bush maintains summit was success

June 14, 1992|By New York Times News Service

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- President Bush left the Earth Summit yesterday firing parting shots at his many critics, saying that Americans are "the leaders, not the followers" on environmental issues and will be "pre-eminent" in carrying out accords signed here.

Speaking at a news conference at his seafront hotel, Mr. Bush dismissed suggestions that his appearance here had not gone well.

Mr. Bush, who agreed to sign only a watered-down version of the summit treaty to reduce the threat of global warming, proposed Friday that the nations gather on Jan. 1 to report specific plans to reduce emissions of pollutants that trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere. At the news conference, Mr. Bush rejected the notion that his call for an early start on the global warming issue was not welcomed by world leaders.

"The developed nations want to meet the commitments they've signed up for, so I've not found that it wasn't well received at all," Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush seemed a bit edgy. He ended the 45-minute session with an unusually bristling denunciation of House Democrats. Several House committees are separately investigating Mr. Bush's conduct of U.S. policy toward Iraq and rumors, never proved, that Mr. Bush and Ronald Reagan worked secretly during their 1980 presidential campaign to delay the release of American hostages.

The president characterized the inquiries into allegations that his administration helped build Saddam Hussein into a global menace as "purely political" and "recklessly" conducted.

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