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Bush says it is time for action

Bush addresses an antiterrorism summit in Warsaw via satellite phone before meeting with Chirac on Tuesday.
Bush addresses an antiterrorism summit in Warsaw via satellite phone before meeting with Chirac on Tuesday.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- There is no room for neutrality in the war against terrorism, and the international coalition against terror will "fight this evil and fight until we are rid of it," President Bush said Tuesday.

In a joint news conference with French President Jacques Chirac, Bush said coalition partners in the fight against terrorism would be called on to back up their support with action.

He would deliver that message in a speech Saturday to the United Nations, Bush said.

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"A coalition partner must do more than just express sympathy; a coalition partner must perform," Bush said. "That means different things for different nations. Some nations don't want to contribute troops and we understand that. Other nations can contribute intelligence sharing. ... But all nations, if they want to fight terror, must do something."

Bush said he would not point out any specific countries when he speaks to the UN.

"Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity," he said. "You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror."

France offers troops

Chirac said his country had deployed 2,000 troops from all three of its armed services branches to participate in the military campaign. He also said he and Bush had discussed the need for humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and international crises -- including those in the Middle East -- that might fuel terrorism.

"The ultimate responsibility of any political official ... is to ensure the safety of his people, and that is exactly what President Bush is doing, what I am doing," Chirac said, speaking through a translator. "In this spirit, we talked about military operations, about French support, about the political actions we must take to establish in Afghanistan all the trappings of a modern state."

Earlier, Bush spoke via satellite to Eastern European leaders at an antiterrorism summit in Warsaw, Poland.

The military campaign in Afghanistan and the war against terror is "making good progress in a just cause" said Bush, who emphasized that "we are not targeting civilians."

New threat to freedom

And, making a reference to the fascist and communist regimes in the 20th century, Bush said: "Today, our freedom is threatened once again."

The U.S. military is "systemically pursuing" its mission, Bush said, citing the destruction of terrorist training camps, battering of air defenses and the aerial assaults on communications links.

"This is a difficult struggle of uncertain duration," Bush said. "We hunt an enemy that hides in shadows and caves."

Bush drew comparisons between the terrorist forces and the totalitarian regimes of the last century. The Taliban "try and impose their radical views through threats and violence," he said. "We see the same intolerance of dissent, the same mad global ambitions, the same brutal determination to control every life and all of life."

Bush said he hopes Afghans who have expressed regrets that the country harbors the al Qaeda network will help the coalition locate the terrorists.

Saying Americans "are now fighting this war at home," Bush also discussed the anthrax problem in the United States.

"We face a second wave of terrorist attacks in the form of deadly anthrax that has been sent through the U.S. mail," he said. "Our people are responding to this new threat with alertness and calm. Our government is responding to treat the sick, provide antibiotics to those who have been exposed and track down the guilty, whether abroad or at home."


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