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25 September 2001

Bush Meets with Leaders of Congress, Japan's Prime Minister, FBI Officials

(As he continues his anti-terrorism campaign) (790)
By Wendy S. Ross
Washington File White House Correspondent
Washington -- President Bush September 25 continued to focus on
building a global coalition against terrorism and on finding and
bringing to justice the perpetrators of the September 11 terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
He met in the morning at the White House with the bipartisan
leadership of Congress. They discussed military planning as well as
the domestic consequences of the terrorist attacks, White House Press
Secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters.
Bush then welcomed Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the
Oval Office, followed by a joint news conference with reporters in the
Rose Garden of the White House.
"The Prime Minister and I had a wide-ranging discussion about ways
that we can cooperate with each other to fight global terrorism," Bush
told reporters.
He said that he and Koizumi, the leaders of the world's largest and
second largest economies, "talked about the need to work in a way" to
cut off the terrorists' funding.
"The Prime Minister also talked about ways that Japan will share
intelligence," Bush said, noting that the United States and Japan will
"work cooperatively on the diplomatic front."
Bush told reporters that the mission of the worldwide coalition he is
building "is to rout out and destroy international terrorism," and
that "the mission won't alter" even if the duties of the coalition
change.
Bush said Prime Minister Koizumi "understands this requires a
long-term vision, requires a patience amongst both our people."
Prime Minister Koizumi said the Japanese "are ready to stand by the
United States to fight terrorism."
In the afternoon, Bush left the White House to visit the headquarters
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation not far away. There he thanked
staff members for their work against terrorism, and received a
briefing on several aspects of the investigation.
The September 11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands of people
have "strengthened the spirit of America" and united the nation,
President Bush told the employees.
"We're in a war we're going to win," Bush said, detailing new measures
he has proposed to Congress to aid the FBI in its work, including new
surveillance tools.
Over 4,000 employees of the FBI are assigned to the investigation into
the terrorist attacks, as well as working to disrupt any further
action that may be planned, Bush said.
At his daily news briefing, Fleischer was asked if the United States
wants to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
He responded that the United States was not involved in "nation
building," but that its anti-terrorist policy means that "anybody who
harbors terrorism will be the target of our operations and the target
of our actions. And within the Taliban, they have to decide what to
do. And clearly, they are, at least from what we're hearing, making
their choice that they will continue to harbor terrorists."
"The issue is not to what regime do you belong, but what actions have
you taken in sponsoring or harboring terrorism," Fleischer said. "If
you are sponsoring or harboring terrorism, you will be a target for
American action and for world action."
But he added that "the Afghani people are not synonymous with the
Taliban. They are different. And the Taliban, to a significant degree
has come in from the outside, from other nations, from different
regions of the world, and they've taken advantage of the turmoil that
has existed in Afghanistan and the lack of a powerful central
government in Afghanistan to make Afghanistan the breeding ground for
their international terrorism."
Fleischer also said the decision by the government of Saudi Arabia to
cut ties with the Taliban regime is "a very significant step for the
Saudi government to take. And the President, as he indicated, is
appreciate of the actions that they have taken in this regard."
In another development, Fleischer announced that on September 27
President Bush will travel to Chicago to meet with airline workers at
O'Hare airport there.
He will thank them "for their contributions in combatting terrorism by
working every day and getting our airline system and our economy back
on track to help keep our economy moving and to help to keep the
American public moving," Fleischer said.
"The President will also talk about the importance of the government
and the airlines working together to address important issues of
airline and airport safety. He'll address airline workers' concerns
about these difficult times and the impact it's having on airline
workers and their families," Fleischer said.
(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
http://usinfo.state.gov)



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