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Excerpts from the Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, September 16, 2003 (Full Transcript)

QUESTION: Has the administration made a decision yet about reducing the loan guarantees to Israel on the basis of settlement activity? And can you update us on what consideration is being given at this point as far as reducing the loan guarantees to reflect whatever Israel is spending on the fence?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, two things. One, in terms of the loan guarantee that we will be providing to Israel that builds upon additional assistance we have already provided to Israel, this is for helping Israel with economic growth and helping them on their economic reform plan.

Now, the authorizing legislation, when it passed in the supplemental, I believe, last March, stated that if Israel is spending money on settlement activity, then there needs to be a reduction in that loan guarantee. Secretary Powell is the one that the President has designated to oversee this loan guarantee package. And so, Secretary Powell will make the determination in terms of what spending reductions there might be. I expect that there may well be some reductions. But those are decisions that will be made by the Secretary of State.

QUESTION: And does that include the fence, as well?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, in terms of the fence, there are still discussions ongoing. We have made our concerns known. I don't rule anything out at this point.

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