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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 20, 2001

Remarks by the President in Photo Opportunity at Presentation with Easter Seals
The Oval Office

3:03 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: It's an honor for me to welcome the representatives from the Easter Seals here, two courageous Americans who are compassionate to give back to their country and it's an honor to have you all in the Oval Office. Thanks for coming.

Q Have you talked to Arafat yet --

THE PRESIDENT: I talked to Chairman Arafat today.

Q What can you tell us about that conversation?

THE PRESIDENT: I told him -- I talked to him about -- I talked to Prime Minister Sharon, Mubarak, as well as Mr. Arafat. And I said we're making some progress and that they all must continue to work toward breaking the cycle of violence.

I do feel like it's the appropriate time for Colin Powell to go to the Mideast and he's headed there next week; and that the parties must continue to work in an all-out effort to bring peace. And we can find excuses or rationale not to continue to work to break the cycle of violence. I urged them just to not think that way, to believe in the possible. And we're making enough progress for me to feel comfortable about asking the Secretary of State to go.

We have another mission from our government to remain involved in the process. We look forward to the implementation of Mitchell. But it's hard -- we cannot start Mitchell, the Mitchell plan, until the cycle of violence has been crushed and broken. And we believe we are making enough progress with that to send the Secretary of State.

Thank you all.

END 3:07 P.M. EDT

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