For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 28, 2001
Remarks by President Bush
And His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan
in a Photo Opportunity
the Oval Office
11:00 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: Your Majesty,
KING ABDULLAH: Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: It's great to
see you. I look forward to our
discussions. Jordan is a strong, strong friend of
America. And right after September 11th, one of the early
messages I received was from His Majesty, expressing the condolences of
the Jordanian people, as well as his own personal condolences.
I'm so pleased with our cooperative -- the
cooperation we have in fighting terror. I have assured His
Majesty that our war is against evil, not against
Islam. There are thousands of Muslims who proudly call
themselves Americans, and they know what I know -- that the Muslim
faith is based upon peace and love and compassion. The exact
opposite of the teachings of the al Qaeda organization, which is based
upon evil and hate and destruction.
And finally, as a welcoming gift, it is my
honor to present you with a pen. This is no ordinary pen,
since it's the pen I used to sign the Free Trade Agreement with Jordan
this morning. At long last, we have, together, accomplished
one of your main objectives in terms of economic cooperation, which is
the Free Trade Agreement.
I'm proud of the actions of our leadership
in the House and the Senate from both political parties that recognize
the importance of trade with Jordan. And so, Your Majesty,
it's now officially the law, and here's the pen that signed it.
KING ABDULLAH: Thank you very
much, sir. Very grateful.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Welcome back to
the Oval Office.
KING ABDULLAH: Sir, I would
like to take this opportunity to thank you for seeing us
today. Obviously, I wish our meeting was under better
circumstances, but obviously, we're here to give our full, unequivocal
support to you and to the people of America. And we will
stand by you in these very difficult times. And we're proud
of our friendship; we're proud of the relations we've had with your
country over many, many years, as far back as his late Majesty King
And it's in difficult times like this that
true friends must stand with each other, and we'll be by your side and
we'll be there to support you. And I'm here to see what we
can do to help.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you,
We'll take a few questions.
Q Mr. President --
PRESIDENT BUSH: You're after
the retirement lady. (Laughter.)
MS. CHARLES: I'm now the
retirement lady, I feel very old. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, once you
leave the White House we view it as retirement. But go
MS. CHARLES: What's your
reaction to the Saudis' announcement that we can -- that the U.S. can
use air bases? And also, do you feel the military deployment
is adequate, do you feel comfortable with where it is?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, first, we
will not be discussing any of the -- our military plans. It
is very important for the American people to know that any public
discussion of military or intelligence matters could jeopardize any
mission that we may be thinking about.
Secondly, that I am most pleased with the
cooperation we're getting in the Middle East. Clearly, the
cooperation with our friend, the Jordanians, is strong and powerful,
and we're united. But the Saudis, as well. Not
only are they helping stabilize Pakistan, which is a very important
part of our diplomatic efforts, they are also cooperating with us in
terms of any military planning we might be doing. And I'm
I had very good discussions -- I know the
King has, as well -- with our Saudi Arabian friends.
Q Mr. President,
thank you. Have you had any chance to study the long and
difficult conflict that the Russians had in Afghanistan? And
if so, what, if anything, did you learn that might be helpful in the
conflict you have coming ahead?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, one of
the things we will do is enforce the doctrine, part of the doctrine
that says, if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as a
terrorist. And in my speech to the nation I laid out the
conditions that we expect the current government of Afghanistan to
I am fully aware of the difficulties the
Russians had in Afghanistan. Our intelligence people and our State
Department people are also fully aware. It is very hard to
fight a conventional war -- a guerrilla war with conventional
forces. And we understand that. That's why I have
explained to the American people that the new war on terror is going to
be a different war. It will be fought on a variety of
fronts. It will be fought on a financial front; it will
require the best of intelligence and the sharing of
intelligence. There may or may not be a conventional
component to it.
I said loud and clear, sometimes people
will be able to see what we do on the television
screens. Other times the American people won't be able to
see what we're doing. But make no mistake about it; we're in
hot pursuit. We're going to enforce the
doctrine. We're going to be diligent and patient and
determined to bring people to justice and to rout out terrorist
activity around the world.
And so there have been lessons learned in
the past, and our government is very aware of those lessons.
Q Mr. President, if
I may, for Your Highness -- how difficult is it for Middle Eastern
nations to unite against someone who claims to be speaking and acting
on behalf of Islam?
And, Mr. President, what's your reaction
to word today that the Taliban says it has now located Osama bin Laden
and has delivered an invitation to him to leave the country?
PRESIDENT BUSH: First of all --
I'll answer first, and then Your Majesty. First, there is no
negotiations with the Taliban. They heard what I
said. And now they can act. And it's not just Mr.
bin Laden that we expect to see and brought to justice; it's everybody
associated with his organization that's in Afghanistan. And
not only those directly associated with Mr. bin Laden, any terrorist
that is housed and fed in Afghanistan needs to be handed
over. And finally, we expect there to be complete
destruction of terrorist camps.
That's what I told them; that's what I
mean. And we expect them -- we expect them to not only hear
what I say, but to do something about it.
And I want to tell His Majesty what I said
the other day -- and then he can respond to your
question. The al Qaeda people don't represent Islam, as far
as America is concerned. They represent
evil. They're evil people. And that's not the
Muslim faith that I know and understand, nor is it the Muslim faith of
millions of Americans who are proud and devout Muslims.
KING ABDULLAH: Well, sir, as
the President so well put it, what these people stand for is completely
against all the principles that Arab Muslims believe in. And
so, on those principles alone, I think it will be very, very easy for
people to stand together. As the President said, this is a
fight against evil, and the majority of Arabs and Muslims will ban
together with our colleagues all over the world to be able to put an
end to this horrible scourge of international terrorism. And
you'll see a united front.
MR. JOHNDROE: Thank you all
END 11:07 A.M. EDT