|No Discussions, No Negotiations with Taliban, White House Says |
No Discussions, No Negotiations with Taliban, White House Says
Fleischer briefs on developments following Presidential speech. Source: Washington File (EUR502), U.S. Department of State, September 21, 2001.
By Wendy S. Ross, Washington File Staff Writer.
Washington D.C. -- (WF) September 21, 2001 -- President Bush, in his September 20 speech to the U.S. Congress, made clear his conditions regarding what the Taliban in Afghanistan must now do, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said, "and he said there will be no discussions and no negotiations" with them.
Fleischer speaking with reporters early September 21, was asked to react to news reports that the Taliban earlier that morning said it would not turn over Osama bin Laden until the U.S. showed proof of his involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
"There is already an indictment for Osama bin Laden," Fleischer pointed out. "There's been indictments in the case of Tanzania and Kenya, with the bombings in East Africa, with the indications that the Taliban and Osama bin Laden were involved, and that the al-Qaida organization and Osama bin Laden were involved in the bombing of the Cole," a U.S. Navy destroyer attacked by terrorists in Aden, Yemen, in 2000.
"The President is continuing to make plans with our allies, and domestically, to protect the American people from terrorism, and those plans will involve things military, things financial, things diplomatic, things political," Fleischer said.
Preliminary indications show that worldwide reaction to the President's speech "are very, very positive," Fleischer said, as is reaction in the United States.
Bush "got into the Oval at about 7:03 this morning, and I was talking to him, and he told me how appreciative he is of the outpouring of the American people toward the speech," Fleischer said.
He then spoke with Turkey's President Ahmet Sezer, with Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo and with Oman's leader Sultan Qaboos, and "they all expressed their condolences about the attack and their willingness to work with the United States to combat terrorism," Fleischer said.
In the afternoon, Bush was to meet with China's Foreign Minister Jiaxuan Tang.
"There should be no mistaking the president's intentions" regarding terrorism, Fleischer said.
"The president has made it clear that terrorism will be defeated. And he has defined terrorism as those who engage in it and those who harbor terrorists. And the notion of defeating those who harbor terrorists is a dramatic change in American policy. And that is the direction the president is leading the world and is talking with leaders around the world about."
President Bush's goal "is not removal of anyone from power; the president's goal is the cessation of terrorism. This is not a question of who occupies what slot in any one regime or government. This is a question of how to protect the free world and freedom from terrorist threat. And that is the vision that the president spoke to last night. That is the clearly stated definition of victory. And so it's not removal of power, it's cessation of terrorism."