Global Leaders to Play Anthems on Dec 11
Photo Op with Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik
The Oval Office
The White House
December 5, 2001
3:25 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: I'm going to make a statement, the Prime Minister will make a
statement. We'll be glad to answer a couple of questions apiece.
First, I want to welcome our friend to the White House. The Prime Minister has
been a strong supporter in the war against terror, and for that, Mr. Prime Minister,
we are very grateful.
Early on in this war, Norway stood strong against terror. I don't know if many
Americans understand, but one of the key parts of the war against terror is
to cut off the financing to the terrorists. And Norway, thanks to the Prime
Minister and his team, shut down al Barakat, which we did shortly thereafter.
Thanks to the information we received from you, we made a major strike against
cutting off funding for al Qaeda and the murderers.
And, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for that. I'm so glad you're here. I look
forward to a really good discussion about how we can combine together.
I want to say a couple of other things. First, I, along with all the rest of
America, grieve for the loss of life in Afghanistan. Three of our soldiers were
killed by an inadvertent bomb and our prayers and sympathies go to the families.
And I want the families to know that they died for a noble and just cause; that
the fight against terror is noble and it's just; and they defend freedom. And
for that, we're grateful.
On a more encouraging note, there has been great progress in Bonn. Our government
is pleased with the progress being made, that the interim government is being
formed -- to include women. It's a major change for that part of the world,
and a positive change. It's encouraging to show, Mr. Prime Minister, that not
only making progress on the military front, we're making progress on the political
front, as well. This interim government, as well, has pledged to fight terror
and, for that, we're grateful.
And, finally, next Tuesday our nation will play the National Anthem at 8:34
a.m. eastern standard time. We will do so, and we're encouraging other nations
to play their anthems and/or appropriate tunes at about the same time or an
appropriate time, to send this clear signal to the terrorists. They want us
to be silent. They want us to shirk from our duties. They want us to forget
what took place on September the 11th.
We will not do so. The United States will not do so, and our friends and allies
will not do so. We won't forget what took place. And we will bring them to justice.
We'll bring them to justice in Afghanistan, and we'll bring them to justice
wherever they try to hide. Civilization is at stake. And the Prime Minister
of Norway and the President of the United States stand united in protecting
freedom and civilization.
Mr. Prime Minister, welcome to the Oval Office.
THE PRIME MINISTER: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. I want to express my
-- how grateful I am that you received me here, so few weeks after I once more
took office as Prime Minister of Norway. And I also want to express my condolences
to the soldiers you lost in Afghanistan.
And I want to express my sympathy and solidarity with the American people. We
stand firmly by you in fighting terrorism. And as you are aware of, we have
also contributed -- we have offered contributions to the military operations
in Afghanistan, and we will talk more about that.
And I think it's also so important to discuss the more long-term fight against
terrorism. I also will welcome the positive outcome of the meeting in Bonn,
which I think we've paved the way for a political solution for Afghanistan,
hopefully also for the women in the country; and also for reconstruction assistance
and humanitarian aide.
For Norway, also, will play a key role as the Chair of the Afghanistan Support
Group, from the 1st of January next year. So I want to end up by saying that
the United States is the most important ally for Norway.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
THE PRIME MINISTER: We share many common fundamental values. And now we will
stand together fighting terrorism for humanity.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir.
THE PRIME MINISTER: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: We'll take a couple of questions.
QUESTION: Mr. President, Has the PLO, sir --
QUESTION: Mr. President --
THE PRESIDENT: I'll go with Fournier, and then Bill.
QUESTION: Excuse me?
THE PRESIDENT: You're first.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Unless it's a tough question, in which case you won't go at all.
QUESTION: Oh, then, let's go to Mr. Plante, then. (Laughter.) No. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Has the PLO been harboring terrorists? If so, should they be treated
like the Taliban?
THE PRESIDENT: The PLO, Ron, needs to stand up and rout out those killers, those
murderers who are preventing us from getting a peace process in place. My nation
is committed to peace in the Middle East. Norway is committed to peace in the
But there are obviously folks who want to use the weapon of terror to derail
peace. And Mr. Arafat must show leadership and bring those to justice who would
use murder as a weapon to derail peace and to destroy innocent life. He must
show leadership. Now is his time. And other nations around the world that are
interested in peace must encourage Mr. Arafat, must insist that Mr. Arafat use
everything in his power to prevent further terrorist attacks in Israel.
QUESTION: And if not?
QUESTION: Mr. President, may I? From Norwegian Broadcasting.
THE PRESIDENT: Please, yes.
QUESTION: A lot of people in Europe, and also in Norway, sir, are very worried
about the military tribunals that you're proposing. Many people are saying that
when you want to save democracy, then this might be part of the way undermining
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I appreciate that question and I want the people of the
world to understand that our great nation will never forego the values that
have made us unique; that we believe in democracy and rule of law and the Constitution.
But we're under attack. Every morning I wake up and read the threat assessments.
The evil ones still intend to harm America. And if it's in our national security
interests to bring people to justice, I will use a military tribunal. And I
may give you one example of why I would use one -- we haven't used one yet,
it's simply an option.
If we capture an al Qaeda representative, if we capture a murderer, and in order
to convict that murderer it would require us giving means of how we knew he
was guilty that would jeopardize the security of the United States, he'll be
tried in a military tribunal.
In other words, this is an ongoing conflict. There are still real threats. And
I, in order to get a conviction of a murderer, will not jeopardize the people
of the United States. I will not show our secrets. I will not tip our hand.
I will not let the world at large -- particularly our enemy -- understand how
we put a case together if it's going to jeopardize and compromise national security
secrets of the United States of America.
My job is to protect the United States people from further attack. And that's
exactly what I'm going to do and, at the same time, bring al Qaeda to justice.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you said yesterday that you might use U.S. troops elsewhere.
Where, and under what circumstances?
THE PRESIDENT: Bill, I am going to work with our friends and allies to rout
terror wherever it exists. But one of the things I will not do is signal to
the enemy where we might strike next. I will not tip our hand in any way, shape
But I will tell you this: those who want to commit terror against the United
States or our friends and allies must beware that they will be hunted down.
And those nations which harbor a terrorist or feed a terrorist or hide a terrorist
or clothe a terrorist better be aware of the United States and our friends,
because they will be brought to justice. Now is a time for the free world to
stand up and defend the freedoms that these evil ones hate.
QUESTION: Mr. President, what kind of role do you see for Norway in the Middle
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's going to be up to the Prime Minister. And we haven't
had this discussion yet. I do know he's committed to peace, and for that I am
most grateful. I look forward to getting his advice and counsel.
I think he would share with me the same sentiment, that it's going to be very
difficult to have any kind of peace in the Middle East so long as terror runs
loose, so long as there are people -- individuals who feel like they can kill
and murder to prevent us from getting to any kind of peace process. There is
a plan in place, called the Mitchell process. But, evidently, there are terrorists
who can't stand the thought of peace, and they must be brought to justice.
THE PRIME MINISTER: Yes, let me add, I fully agree with the President. And I
will also inform him now, during our talk, that I, today, had a telephone conversation
with Chairman Arafat and with Prime Minister Sharon before I came here. So I
have fresh messages to the President from them.
And I urged Arafat to do his utmost to stop the terror, to arrest the people
behind the terror. It's time for him now to show leadership. I also urged Prime
Minister Sharon to avoid further escalation of violence, because I am afraid
that this will bring us into a terrible situation, which can end up in a war.
Now they have stopped the bombing of Palestinian targets for the last 26 hours.
I hope that this cease-fire will continue, and that there will be a possibility
after some time to again establish contacts between the parties in the Middle
East. Because the alternative is so bad, to all of us.
THE PRESIDENT: Let me make one correction, if you don't mind. The Anthem will
be played at 8:46 a.m., here on the White House grounds. And we're asking other
nations to play their anthems or respective tunes. I wanted to correct the time,
so that as we prepare this reminder about the evil, and as we stand fast against
terror, that we've got the correct time that we're going to do so.