With King Abdullah II of Jordan
White House Oval Office
September 28, 2001
11:00 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT BUSH: Your Majesty, welcome back.
KING ABDULLAH: Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: It's great to see you. I look forward to our discussions. Jordan
is a strong, strong friend of America. And right after September 11th, one of
the early messages I received was from His Majesty, expressing the condolences
of the Jordanian people, as well as his own personal condolences.
I'm so pleased with our cooperative -- the cooperation we have in fighting terror.
I have assured His Majesty that our war is against evil, not against Islam.
There are thousands of Muslims who proudly call themselves Americans, and they
know what I know -- that the Muslim faith is based upon peace and love and compassion.
The exact opposite of the teachings of the al Qaeda organization, which is based
upon evil and hate and destruction.
And finally, as a welcoming gift, it is my honor to present you with a pen.
This is no ordinary pen, since it's the pen I used to sign the Free Trade Agreement
with Jordan this morning. At long last, we have, together, accomplished one
of your main objectives in terms of economic cooperation, which is the Free
I'm proud of the actions of our leadership in the House and the Senate from
both political parties that recognize the importance of trade with Jordan. And
so, Your Majesty, it's now officially the law, and here's the pen that signed
KING ABDULLAH: Thank you very much, sir. Very grateful.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Welcome back to the Oval Office.
KING ABDULLAH: Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for seeing
us today. Obviously, I wish our meeting was under better circumstances, but
obviously, we're here to give our full, unequivocal support to you and to the
people of America. And we will stand by you in these very difficult times. And
we're proud of our friendship; we're proud of the relations we've had with your
country over many, many years, as far back as his late Majesty King Hussein.
And it's in difficult times like this that true friends must stand with each
other, and we'll be by your side and we'll be there to support you. And I'm
here to see what we can do to help.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, sir.
We'll take a few questions.
QUESTION: Mr. President --
PRESIDENT BUSH: You're after the retirement lady. (Laughter.)
MS. CHARLES: I'm now the retirement lady, I feel very old. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, once you leave the White House we view it as retirement.
But go ahead. (Laughter.)
MS. CHARLES: What's your reaction to the Saudis' announcement that we can --
that the U.S. can use air bases? And also, do you feel the military deployment
is adequate, do you feel comfortable with where it is?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, first, we will not be discussing any of the -- our military
plans. It is very important for the American people to know that any public
discussion of military or intelligence matters could jeopardize any mission
that we may be thinking about.
Secondly, that I am most pleased with the cooperation we're getting in the Middle
East. Clearly, the cooperation with our friend, the Jordanians, is strong and
powerful, and we're united. But the Saudis, as well. Not only are they helping
stabilize Pakistan, which is a very important part of our diplomatic efforts,
they are also cooperating with us in terms of any military planning we might
be doing. And I'm really pleased.
I had very good discussions -- I know the King has, as well -- with our Saudi
QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you. Have you had any chance to study the long and difficult
conflict that the Russians had in Afghanistan? And if so, what, if anything,
did you learn that might be helpful in the conflict you have coming ahead?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, one of the things we will do is enforce the doctrine,
part of the doctrine that says, if you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty
as a terrorist. And in my speech to the nation I laid out the conditions that
we expect the current government of Afghanistan to follow.
I am fully aware of the difficulties the Russians had in Afghanistan. Our intelligence
people and our State Department people are also fully aware. It is very hard
to fight a conventional war -- a guerrilla war with conventional forces. And
we understand that. That's why I have explained to the American people that
the new war on terror is going to be a different war. It will be fought on a
variety of fronts. It will be fought on a financial front; it will require the
best of intelligence and the sharing of intelligence. There may or may not be
a conventional component to it.
I said loud and clear, sometimes people will be able to see what we do on the
television screens. 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. We're going
to enforce the doctrine. We're going to be diligent and patient and determined
to bring people to justice and to rout out terrorist activity around the world.
And so there have been lessons learned in the past, and our government is very
aware of those lessons.
QUESTION: Mr. President, if I may, for Your Highness -- how difficult is it for Middle
Eastern nations to unite against someone who claims to be speaking and acting
on behalf of Islam?
And, Mr. President, what's your reaction to word today that the Taliban says
it has now located Osama bin Laden and has delivered an invitation to him to
leave the country?
PRESIDENT BUSH: First of all -- I'll answer first, and then Your Majesty. First,
there is no negotiations with the Taliban. They heard what I said. And now they
can act. And it's not just Mr. bin Laden that we expect to see and brought to
justice; it's everybody associated with his organization that's in Afghanistan.
And not only those directly associated with Mr. bin Laden, any terrorist that
is housed and fed in Afghanistan needs to be handed over. And finally, we expect
there to be complete destruction of terrorist camps.
That's what I told them; that's what I mean. And we expect them -- we expect
them to not only hear what I say, but to do something about it.
And I want to tell His Majesty what I said the other day -- and then he can
respond to your question. The al Qaeda people don't represent Islam, as far
as America is concerned. They represent evil. They're evil people. And that's
not the Muslim faith that I know and understand, nor is it the Muslim faith
of millions of Americans who are proud and devout Muslims.
KING ABDULLAH: Well, sir, as the President so well put it, what these people
stand for is completely against all the principles that Arab Muslims believe
in. And so, on those principles alone, I think it will be very, very easy for
people to stand together. As the President said, this is a fight against evil,
and the majority of Arabs and Muslims will ban together with our colleagues
all over the world to be able to put an end to this horrible scourge of international
terrorism. And you'll see a united front.