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26 August 2003

Bush Offers Assistance to India in Wake of Mumbai Bombings

White House Report, August 26: India, Iraq, Middle East, North Korea

President Bush August 26 phoned the Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to offer him condolences on behalf of the American people for the two car bomb attacks August 25 in Mumbai, which killed dozens of innocent people and injured many more.

"The President told the prime minister that India has no stronger friend than the United States in combating terrorism, and he offered assistance to the prime minister and to the people of India," White House Deputy Press Secretary Claire Buchan told reporters on Air Force One as they accompanied President Bush to events in Minnesota and Missouri. The prime minister, thanked him for the offer, Buchan said.

BUSH COMMITTED TO GETTING RESOURCES NEEDED FOR IRAQ

Asked about a news report that says the Bush administration is leaning toward asking for a $3 billion supplemental budget increase to help pay for day-to-day activities in Iraq, Buchan reminded reporters that Bush "has said that he will work with Congress to ensure that we have the resources necessary to win that battle and do what it takes to help the people of Iraq. And that's what we're doing. So we're going to work with Congress, and we'll be talking with Ambassador Bremer," the U. S. civilian administrator in Iraq. "The President is committed to ensuring that we have the resources necessary," Buchan said, adding that Bush "has made clear that we will ensure that our troops have the resources that they need and that the people on the ground in Iraq have the resources necessary."

PALESTINIAN SECURITY FORCES SHOULD BE CONSOLIDATED UNDER ABBAS

Asked if the Bush administration has any comment about efforts by Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to undermine security efforts by Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, the White House spokesperson said "by blocking the consolidation of the Palestinian security forces under Prime Minister Abbas, Yasser Arafat undercuts the fight against the terrorism and further undermines the hopes of the Palestinian people for peace and for a Palestinian state that can live side-by-side with Israel in peace and security."

As part of the road map for peace, Buchan said, "the security forces need to be consolidated under Prime Minister Abbas and Minister [of State for Security Affairs] Dahlen. That is the way forward, and that is important."

WHITE HOUSE WELCOMES MULTI-NATIONAL TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA

Representatives of the United States, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and North Korea are to begin three days of talks August 27 in Beijing on North Korea's nuclear program.

"(W)e welcome the multi-national talks," Buchan said. "The President has always believed that this is a multi-national or a multi-lateral problem which requires a multi-lateral solution. So we go into these discussions with great seriousness of purpose and look forward to them."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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