21 February 2003
U.S. Sending More Troops to Philippines
(White House Report) (840)
MORE U.S. TROOPS WILL BE SENT TO THE PHILIPPINES
As part of the ongoing global fight against terror, the United States
has agreed to send additional military troops to the Sulu Archipelago
in the southern Philippines. The decision to provide more support to
the armed forces of the Philippines came in response to a request from
the Philippine government, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer
told reporters at a press briefing in Texas.
"The government of the Philippines has asked the United States to
follow up on last year's deployment to Basilan Island, where the
United States troops supported the armed forces of the Philippines,
who are driving ASG [Abu Sayyaf Group] terrorists from the island and
restoring order," Fleischer told reporters. He referred them to the
Department of Defense for the number of additional troops to be
"The Philippine people have been victims of terrorism from Abu Sayyaf,
have been engaged in a very brave struggle, led by President Arroyo,
against the terrorists of Abu Sayyaf," Fleischer said.
The State Department identified Abu Sayyef as a terrorist organization
"Abu Sayyaf is not a small, disorganized band of terrorists. They are
a very serious and deadly terrorist organization, which if they have
their way, they intend to wreak havoc on the people of the
Philippines," Fleischer said. "(T)he United States is proud to stand
together with our friends, the Philippines, to counter the threat."
The Philippine secretary of Defense will be in Washington next week to
meet with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to discuss details
for military action, Fleischer reported.
BUSH PREPARES TO WELCOME SPAIN'S PRESIDENT
Spain's president of the Government, Jose Maria Aznar, was to arrive
at President Bush's Texas ranch the evening of February 21. Cocktails
and a social dinner to include "a very small group of people," will
follow his arrival, Fleischer said.
The working meeting between Bush and Aznar will take place the morning
of February 22, Fleischer said, and will be followed by a press
availability and a luncheon before the President of Spain departs.
U.S. TO INTRODUCE NEW RESOLUTION ON IRAQ AT U.N.
The United States and allies will, during the week of February 23,
introduce a resolution in the United Nations Security Council
concerning Iraq, Fleischer said, noting that the language of the
resolution continues to be discussed with allies.
"(Y)ou can anticipate that that'll be a topic of discussion with the
president of Spain. And so it's too soon to say what the language will
be," Fleischer said.
The Security Council, he said, "continues to be tested to determine
what role they will play exactly, but their role is important."
"(T)he president has said what is important is that the word of the
United Nations be honored, and the word of the United Nations is that
Saddam Hussein be disarmed," Fleischer said.
"One way or another, hopefully with the United Nations Security
Council, Saddam Hussein will be disarmed."
"This remains, at its heart and soul, a test of the Security Council.
The president wants the Security Council to pass the test," Fleischer
BUSH PHONES EMIR AND FOREIGN MINISTER OF KUWAIT
The morning of February 21 President Bush phoned Kuwait Emir Jabir
Al-Sabah and Kuwait Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Sabah and discussed with
them "the importance of working together concerning the threat that
Saddam Hussein poses to the region," Fleischer said.
"The President also congratulated the emir and the foreign minister on
the conclusion of the Hajj and wished them both well," Fleischer said.
BUSH DISCUSSES CYPRUS, IRAQ WITH U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL
President Bush also phoned United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan
the morning of February 21.
Bush talked to Annan "about the situation in Cyprus, number one, and
reaffirmed his support for the secretary-general's mission in Cyprus
and the importance of reaching a resolution on Cyprus; and two, the
president expressed his continuing support for the United Nations
Security Council and stressed the importance of working with the
United Nations Security Council on the situation concerning Iraq,"
THE WEEK AHEAD
Monday -- No public events.
Tuesday -- Bush will meet with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
of Bulgaria in the Oval Office. He will meet in the afternoon with his
National Economic Council in the Cabinet Room.
Wednesday -- Bush will make remarks at a morning briefing for the
Latino Coalition in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Later he
will meet with the President Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan in the Oval
Office. The president will make remarks at the American Enterprise
Institute annual dinner that evening.
Thursday -- Bush will meet with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan
in the Oval Office. Thursday evening he will participate in a ceremony
for the National Humanities Medal 2002 winners in the Oval Office.
Friday -- Bush will head to Camp David, where he will spend the
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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