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Bush says U.S. in 'hot pursuit' of attackers

Bush and Abdullah
King Abdullah, left, told President Bush that Jordan would support the United States "in these very difficult times."  


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States is in "hot pursuit" of the terrorists who attacked New York and Washington, President Bush said Friday, while a key Arab ally pledged full support for the U.S. anti-terror campaign.

Bush met Friday with Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House as reports emerged that U.S. special forces units already were operating within Afghanistan.

"Sometimes people will be able to see what we do on the television screens," Bush said. "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."

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U.S. officials have demanded that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban hand over suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, whom U.S. officials accuse of plotting the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Those attacks are believed to have killed more than 6,000.

Asked about a report that the Taliban had located bin Laden and asked him to leave, Bush repeated that there would be no negotiations with the fundamentalist Islamic regime.

"Any terrorist that is housed and fed in Afghanistan needs to be handed over," Bush said. "We expect them to not only hear what I say but to do something about it."

Bush and Abdullah signed a free-trade agreement between the United States and Jordan and discussed the Mideast peace process during their sessions together, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

Bush needs the support of moderate Arab leaders such as Abdullah in his anti-terror campaign. Abdullah on Friday told Bush that "we still stand by you in these very difficult times."

Abdullah had been headed for Washington on September 11 and was forced to return home when the attacks occurred. The Jordanian leader backed up Bush's argument that the American campaign is not a war against Islam.

"The majority of Arabs and Muslims will band together with our colleagues all over the world to be able to put an end to this horrible scourge of international terrorism," Abdullah said. "You'll see a united front."

Bush said he was "most pleased" with cooperation from longtime Mideast allies -- particularly Saudi Arabia, which has broken its diplomatic ties with the Taliban.

"They are also cooperating with us in terms of any military planning we might be doing," Bush said.

But in exchange, many Arab leaders are urging the United States to take a more active role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



 
 
 
 


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