For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 14, 2001
Remarks by the President
To the Traveling Press Pool
Bosque Valley Golf Club
8:53 A.M. CDT
Q How are you
THE PRESIDENT: I'm doing great,
Q What's your
response to the suicide --
THE PRESIDENT: I'll see you at
the ranch -- my response to what?
Q The latest
suicide bombing in Israel.
THE PRESIDENT: Ask me at the
ranch. We're going to have a little press avail after I sign
Q How's it going?
THE PRESIDENT: Really good.
Q How's your
Q No flaws?
THE PRESIDENT: You saw it,
needs a little work.
Q Don't we all.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm glad you
asked who's winning the contest. Team sport.
Q Is this a
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it is.
Q And who won last
PRESIDENT: Tie. If I hit every shot good people
would say I wasn't working. (Laughter.)
Q I thought the
President always wins.
THE PRESIDENT: About time you
On Israel, the Palestinians -- we will
never get to Mitchell until the leadership works to reduce and stop
violence. These terrorist acts, which are despicable, will
prevent us from ever getting into the Mitchell process.
My administration has been calling upon
all the leaders in the Middle East to do everything they can to stop
the violence, to tell the different parties involved that peace will
never happen -- and so long as terrorist activities continue it will be
impossible to get into Mitchell or any other discussion about peace
under the threat of terrorism. Secretary Powell was in touch
with Mr. Arafat and Mr. Sharon; we delivered that message
Q What more do you
think you can do?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Europe and
moderate Arab nations must join with us to continue to send a
consistent message that there will be no peace unless we break this
cycle of violence. And the United States is doing everything
in our power to convince the parties -- but I want to remind people
there must be the will. The people in the area must make the
conscious decision to stop terrorism. And we're going to
Q But can the
Israelis continue to show moderate restraint or --
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate the
fact that they do show a moderate restraint. Sometimes they
haven't and sometimes they have. But what's important is
that we say to all the parties that if there's a desire for peace -- or
at least a discussion of peace, or the desire to get in Mitchell, the
first thing that must happen is -- is that we must stop violence.
Q But do you have
confidence in Arafat that he can stop the terrorist acts?
THE PRESIDENT: I think he can
do a lot more to be convincing the people on the street to stop these
acts of terrorism and the acts of violence. I said in the
Oval Office it is very important for Mr. Arafat to show a hundred
percent effort, to do everything he can to convince the different
parties on the West Bank and in Gaza to stop the
violence. And we recognize that there could be isolated
incidents of terror, but these -- this is a continuing terrorist
campaign and we've got to stop. I will invite the respective
parties to come and see me at the appropriate time.
Q Sir, what about
your response to people who say that your administration isn't doing
enough to stop the escalation of violence there?
THE PRESIDENT: We have been
engaged in the Middle East ever since I got sworn in. Ours
in the administration that sent George Tenet to the Middle East to lay
out a platform for discussions amongst security forces to bring peace
to the region. We wholeheartedly endorse the Mitchell
Report. We have spent, on a near daily basis, talking to the
different parties, urging them -- because there's nothing that an
administration can do if there's no will for peace.
And we're obviously working with the
leaders to try to convince them to take the necessary steps to send a
signal to the people on the streets that peace -- we want
peace. We want at least discussions towards peace, if not in
a final agreement.
We've got a long way to go, I recognize
that. And it's so important for there to be the will, the
desire. It requires two parties to make the conscious
decision that we're going to do everything we can to stop
terrorism. And our administration and my government is
working hard to send that message. We're on the phone almost
on a daily basis to the respective parties.
Q Do you see the
will on either side, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, sometimes
we see the will on the other side, and sometimes that cycle overcomes
the will. There's a lot of people in the Middle East who are
desirous to get into the Mitchell process, but first things
first. These terrorist acts and the responses have got to
end in order for us to get the framework -- the groundwork, not
framework -- the groundwork to discuss a framework, to lay the -- all
Q Have you made any
calls yourself, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: I've made a lot
of calls over -- you mean the last couple of days? No, I
haven't, not over the last couple of days. Secretary Powell did --
I'm, of course, very aware of how the conversations went.
END 9:01 A.M. CDT