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Bush Welcomes Jordanian King

Aired February 1, 2002 - 08:20   ET


JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Move forward to the Morning Buzz and we've got some information out confirming something you said on the program a few days ago. We had conflicting studies concerning whether or not mammograms save women's lives by detecting breast cancer early. There was a report that we had on the program, we talked about a few days ago, indicating that they weren't worth that much. Now today, and in a big full-page ad in the "Times" yesterday, there's different information.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And I want to go into that now because I am just so happy that they sort of reconciled some of this information for women, but we also think it's important at this time to share a piece of tape with you showing the president with King Abdullah of Jordan from just moments ago in the White House. The King had had breakfast with the president. They obviously are meeting to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This after the prime minister of Israel made some very pointed remarks saying he had wished basically that he had killed Yasser Arafat decades ago.

Let's listen to the president.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to welcome our close friend, His Majesty from the country of Jordan, back to the Oval Office.

We have had a chance to visit several times during the course of my tenure as the president and every visit has been very constructive and very positive. I appreciate so very much his support on our mutual concerns about making the world more peaceful, our desire to root out terror. And, Your Majesty, thank you for your strong support.

I also look forward to having a good discussion with His Majesty about how we can work together to improve both our economies. King Abdullah is serious about his desire to improve the lot of his people and wants to make sure that whatever we do we do together with one thing in mind, and that is to extend our mutual prosperity so people can make a living and have a better life.

I appreciate so much his compassion for the people of Jordan. Every time I've talked to him he's expressed his concern to make sure that the moms and dads of Jordan have got a capacity to provide for their children. I look forward to also discussing his desire to make sure that we share our strategies about how to make sure both our people are educated in a way that will provide a hopeful future.

So, Your Majesty, welcome back to the Oval Office and I'm glad to have you here.

KING ABDULLAH II, KING OF JORDAN: Thank you very much, Mr. President. As always, it's a tremendous honor and pleasure to be back to see you.

As you have said, our meetings have been growing in strength and cooperation every time that we have met. It is really such an important relationship between our two countries. Not only have we been able to work with you on improving the economic situation in Jordan, as you just mentioned; but equally as important, you've been so kind to listen to our views on the area and the region, and we're very grateful for your effort.

And I know, Mr. President, where your heart is on many of the regional issues to try and bring peace and stability to the area. We're very grateful for your vision in that and for your courage and determination to really bring a better world in our part, the Middle East.

BUSH: Thank you.

We'll answer a couple of questions.

QUESTION: Mr. President, good morning.

Prime Minister Sharon spoke yesterday about his sorrow not to meet President Arafat in Lebanon as if it was an (OFF-MIKE). Do you have any comments on that?

BUSH: I think the best way to peace is for us all to keep the focus on what derails peace, and what derails peace is terror and the more quickly we eliminate terror, the more likely it is we'll have a peaceful resolution in the region, and that's all I want to comment about on the situation.

QUESTION: Real quickly, sir. Do you think there is an evil axis in the world and is Iraq part of it? And, Mr. President, what are you doing or what can you do about the Wall Street Journal reporter who's a hostage in Pakistan?

ABDULLAH: Well, sir, after the September 11 tragedy, I think it's very obvious that there are those that are on the side of good, those that are on the side of bad and there's some countries in the middle that haven't made up their mind. So I think that the policy of the United States and the rest of us has been to be very clear to everybody on which side you want to choose.

And that the president has been very articulate from the beginning of the 11th of September that there is a new world, there's new expectations of how countries are suppose to react, and those countries better make up their minds pretty quickly, and I endorse tremendously that view and that position.

BUSH: I talked with the FBI director this morning about the American who's in Pakistan being evidently held against his will. We are working with the Pakistani government to chase down any leads possible. For example, we're trying to follow the trail of the e- mails that have been sent with the sole purpose of saving this man, of finding him and rescuing him.

We've been in touch with the Wall Street Journal and, obviously, we're deeply concerned and as is the Pakistani government, and we will continue to do everything we can to rescue him.

QUESTION: Did you talk with the general or did...

BUSH: No, the FBI director did.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Iran and North Korea?

BUSH: No, of course not. As I said in my speech, I hope nations hear our call and make right decisions. A wrong decision will be to continue to export weapons of mass destruction and I certainly hope that North Korea, for example, listens to what we suggested, and that is they pull back some conventional weaponry to make a clear declaration of their peaceful intentions on the peninsula and that they not export weapons. We would be more than happy to enter into a dialogue with them if that be the case. All the three countries I mentioned are now on notice that we intend to take their development of weapons of mass destruction very seriously. It's not just we. I'm talking about other nations that respect rule of law and freedom. And I look forward to having this discussion with our friend, King Abdullah. He, obviously, has made a very clear statement about his understanding of what it takes to bring peace and order to the world.

But having said that, all options are on the table as to how to make America and our allies more secure.

QUESTION: What are the future plans, steps that the United States is planning to take to restore calm and...

BUSH: Well, the first thing is Mr. Arafat has to show the world that he is willing to join our fight against terror.

I felt like we were making pretty good progress up until the time when we discovered, the world discovered, that there had been a significant shipment of arms ordered from Iran for, it seemed like to us, only one purpose, and that is to prevent -- it's for terrorist purposes, and we can't let that stand.

And, frankly, that's in total contrast to what he assured us that, not only through his decisions at Oslo but verbally, that he would us fight against terror.

Mr. Arafat must lead.

QUESTION: What type of help do you expect from Mr. Arafat if he's actually under house arrest?

And second, what do you think of Mr. Sharon's policy of (OFF- MIKE) and possible the removal of Mr. Arafat from office? Do you really think of...

BUSH: I think what we need to do is to fight terror on all fronts in the Middle East so that, at some point, we can get into the Tenet and then Mitchell Accords. There is a plan for peace, but it starts with a full, focused effort to fight terror.

And Mr. Arafat must do a better job. We believe he can do a better job, and he must do a better job of doing so.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on the situation with the Wall Street Journal reporter. Do the Pakistanis -- are they familiar with the group holding him?

BUSH: No. According to the press, they're not. According to my information, they're not necessarily familiar with the group.

On the other hand, we have some leads; for example, the e-mail. E-mails could provide a lead, and we're chasing them down. We're very concerned about the Wall Street Journal reporter. We are in touch with the Pakistani government, we're in touch with the Wall Street Journal, and we've got our agencies in the area actively involved in trying to rescue him.


BUSH: Thank you very much.

ZAHN: All right, there you have the president imploring Yasser Arafat to lead. This comes at a time when there is some debate within President Bush's administration exactly how to deal with Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader. Some folks believing that he is almost irrelevant at this point. It's interesting to note that the King of Jordan, who has just had breakfast with the president praised Bush's Middle East policy yesterday, saying it was striking a fair balance, but at the same time urging the president to continue to try to work with Yasser Arafat.




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