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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Bush Condemns Bombings

Aired August 20, 2003 - 19:09   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is the time of the program we like to check in with the White House. The White House, these days, in Crawford, Texas, and our Suzanne Malveaux standing by for that.
Suzanne, first the reaction from the administration about the situation in Jerusalem?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Bush earlier today called Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to offer his condolences. What is notable is that he did not call the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Rather, he allowed his surrogates to do that.

Secretary Powell was on the phone with Abbas. He also called European leaders as well as the foreign minister of Jordan. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice was in discussions with Israelis and Palestinians today.

It has become very clear today, Daryn, that the Bush administration is squarely putting the pressure on the Palestinian authority. Secretary Powell, as well as other U.S. officials are really saying that the Palestinian authority needs to immediately, not only enforce the cease-fire, but to dismantle these terrorist organizations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON: The president strongly condemned the vicious attacks -- or the vicious attack on innocent civilians and the two leaders said this latest attack in Jerusalem only reinforced the need to crack down on terrorists and terrorist infrastructure. They agree that the way forward to peace is through the dismantlement of terrorist organizations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: And Daryn, John Wolf, the ambassador who is really in charge of trying to get both sides together again back in the region trying to get Israelis and Palestinians once again to talk to each other -- Daryn.

KAGAN: And Suzanne, what about other lead story, and that, of course, would have taken place in Baghdad. Any reaction from the White House the day after on that situation?

MALVEAUX: Well, President Bush actually met with his national security team through a video conference call. On that call was the U.S. civil administrator Paul Bremer, as well as General Abizaid, the head of Central Command.

Some strategies have come to light in talking with senior administration officials today.

First of all, no sense that there's going to be any increase in U.S. troops on the ground inside of Baghdad. Also shot down, as well, is this idea that the U.N. mandate or power of the United Nations will be expanded inside of Baghdad when it comes to security to try to win over the support of other countries who really want that U.N. mandate to contribute troops.

They say that that necessarily is not going to happen, that the security measures and peacekeeping will remain under the auspices of the United States. What is emerging, however, is to put more responsible, more pressure on the Iraqi people to cooperate with the United States, as well as even take on some civil security measures -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Suzanne Malveaux in Crawford, Texas. Suzanne, thank you for that.

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