THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH GENERAL HINTON ABOUT CAMP HOPE
9:40 A.M. EDT
GENERAL HINTON: Hello, Mr. President. This is General Bill Hinton from Camp Hope in Albania.
THE PRESIDENT: Hi, General Hinton. And are you there with Mr. Sykes?
GENERAL HINTON: Yes, Mr. Chris Sykes is here with me from CARE.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I just wanted to call to applaud your efforts in building and managing Camp Hope. I think it's a very important example of our commitment to give shelter and assistance to the refugees until they can go home. And I'm very proud you were able to do it in such a short time. I know you had a lot of constraints finding the right site and getting the infrastructure up. I think this will help us to get our NATO allies to do more on other camps as well.
How are you doing with the rest of the work there?
GENERAL HINTON: Sir, the work is coming along very well. We're progressing with the rest of the camp and we hope to complete the camp for up to 20,000 -- (break in connection) -- hello, Mr. President. Are you there?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
GENERAL HINTON: In any case, we hope to complete the rest of the camp by the first of June.
THE PRESIDENT: That's great. Well, it's good to talk to you again. I hope you will tell all the people in Joint Task Force Shining Hope that I'm very grateful for a job well-done.
GENERAL HINTON: Mr. Sykes is here, sir, and of course, he already has 400 refugees on board.
MR. SYKES: How are you, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm fine.
MR. SYKES: Okay. It's been a great exercise --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I really appreciate the way you've worked with our military to organize and design the camp. And I want to thank CARE and all the NGOs that are working there.
Exactly how many are there now?
MR. SYKES: We've got exactly 409 now, and we'll be receiving another 500, which we're in the process of receiving as you speak.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's good news. I think it's good for them -- go ahead.
MR. SYKES: Yes -- we're moving right ahead on schedule, and we should be able to speed up our rate or reception. The initial influx has come in from Kukes, and we're prepared for any influx from Macedonia, as well.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's great. I think we may have a little influx from Macedonia. The situation there is not the best and we've got a lot of pressure. So I hope we can really do a good job of getting as many people as possible there.
MR. SYKES: Well, sir, we'll keep this camp going on schedule, and we're looking for sites for two more camps right now.
THE PRESIDENT: That's great. I know they need all the help they can get. They've taken a lot of folks and I know a lot of them are in homes, but I think from here on out we're going to have to have more camps, and good ones.
MR. SYKES: Yes, sir. We've got a good contractor here helping to build these camps and we'll keep trying to find the right sites.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I appreciate it. I know it's tough work, but you're doing something really important. And it will be temporary, but it may be a while. And so we've got to do the best we can. And I'm very grateful to both of you.
MR. SYKES: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Chris, and thank you, General. It's good to hear your voice. Take care.
GENERAL HINTON: Thank you, thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Bye-bye.
END 9:45 A.M. EDT