Good morning. This week Secretary of State Colin Powell returned from the Middle
East and reported on his intensive and productive meetings.
In this region, we are confronting hatred that is centuries old, and disputes
that have lingered for decades. Yet, America has a vision for peace, and by
calling all the leaders of the Middle East to their responsibilities, Secretary
Powell made progress toward peace.
To defuse the current crisis the Palestinian Authority must act on its words
of condemnation against terror. Israel must continue its withdrawals. All Arab
nations must confront terror in their own region. All parties must stop funding
or inciting terror, and must state clearly that a murderer is not a martyr;
he or she is just a murderer.
All parties must realize that the only long-term solution is for two states
-- Israel and Palestine -- to live side by side in security and peace. This
will require hard choices and real leadership by Israelis and Palestinians,
and their Arab neighbors.
The time is now for all of us to make the choice for peace. America will continue
to work toward this vision of peace in the Middle East, and America continues
to press forward in our war against global terror. We will use every available
tool to tighten the noose around the terrorists and their supporters. And when
it comes to the threat of terror, the only path to safety is the path of action.
In the days just after September the 11th, I told the American people our war
against terrorism would be a different war, fought on many fronts. And we are
making progress on many fronts. Yesterday the United States and the world's
other leading industrialized nations blocked the financial assets of another
10 terrorists and terrorist organizations. This joint action among close allies
is an important step in choking off the financial pipeline that pays for terrorist
training and attacks.
A total of 161 nations around the world have joined together to block more than
$100 million of suspected terrorist assets. The United States also continues
to work with our friends and allies around the world to round up individual
terrorists, such as Abu Zubaydah, a top al Qaeda leader captured in Pakistan.
From Spain to Singapore, our partners are breaking up terrorist cells and disrupting
their plans. Altogether, more than 1,600 terrorists and their supporters have
been arrested or detained in 95 foreign nations.
In Afghanistan, the United States and its partners are pressing forward with
a military campaign against al Qaeda and the Taliban. More than a dozen of our
NATO allies are contributing forces to this fight. Right now, hundreds of Royal
Marines from Great Britain are leading an operation to clear and seal off regions
where our enemies are trying to regroup to commit murder and mayhem, and to
undermine Afghanistan's efforts to build a lasting peace.
And we're working with nations such as Yemen, the Philippines and Georgia that
seek our help in training and equipping their military forces to fight terror
in some of the world's distant corners.
We're making progress. Yet nothing about this war will be quick or easy. We
face dangers and sacrifices ahead. America is ready; the morale of our military
is high; the will of our people is strong. We are determined, we are steadfast,
and we will continue for as long as it takes, until the mission is done.