[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 37, Number 45 (Monday, November 12, 2001)]
[Pages 1605-1607]
[Online from the Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

Remarks Following Discussions With President Jacques Chirac of France 
and an Exchange With Reporters

November 6, 2001

    President Bush. Good morning. It's my honor to welcome our close 
friend and my personal friend back to Washington, DC. President Chirac, 
thank you for being here, sir. We've had a good discussion about our 
common efforts to fight terror. I thank the French people, the French 
Government for their strong support. And I appreciate your help on the 
military front, Mr. President.
    We recognize that our war against terror is more than just military 
action in Afghanistan, that we have an obligation to help feed the 
innocent people in Afghanistan, and that

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we've got to make sure that there is a post-Taliban government that 
reflects the values of both our countries. And so we had a good 
discussion and it's--I value the advice of the President. I value his 
friendship. And I'm so glad he came back to the country.
    Mr. President, welcome.
    President Chirac. Well, thank you, Mr. President. I must say, it's 
always a pleasure and a delight to be here and to be at your side. And I 
must say that I admire you. I admire your calm and your determination in 
the difficult circumstances that we have to face together.
    The ultimate responsibility of any political official, be he head of 
state or head of government, is to ensure the safety of his people. And 
that is exactly what President Bush is doing, what I am doing, what all 
our colleagues are doing. And to ensure the safety of the people, we 
have to use all the tools at our disposal, the domestic tools and also 
the international tools. And by ``international tool,'' of course, I 
refer to the eradication of the current terrorism.
    In this spirit, we talked about the military operations, about 
French support, about the political actions that we must take to 
establish in Afghanistan all the trappings of a modern state, and also 
the urgent need for humanitarian aid, both for refugees and all the 
people of Afghanistan. And also, we mentioned the crises across the 
world, crises that can fuel terrorism. And of course, by that I mean 
that we mentioned, amongst other things, the Middle East and the need 
for the peace process to be restored there.
    And on all these issues, I wanted to contribute a few thoughts in 
the general debate, and that is what I did. And I'd like to thank him 
for welcoming me here.
    President Bush. We'll take a couple of questions. I'll take two; the 
President's agreed to take two, starting with Mr. Fournier [Ron 
Fournier, Associated Press].

Al Qaida and Weapons of Mass Destruction

    Q. Sir, this morning you said that the terrorists--Al Qaida 
terrorists are seeking to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Can you 
tell us how close they are to getting a nuclear bomb, or even a bomb 
that would distribute deadly nuclear waste across the country?
    And to President Chirac, your government says about 2,000 of your 
troops will be involved in the U.S.-led effort. How many of those will 
be on the ground in Afghanistan?
    President Bush. This morning I did say that Usama bin Laden, Al 
Qaida were seeking to develop weaponry that--weapons of mass 
destruction. And the reason I said that is because I was using his own 
words. He announced that this was his intention. And I believe we need 
to take him seriously. We will do everything we can to make sure he does 
not acquire the means to deliver weapons of mass destruction. If he 
doesn't have them, we will work hard to make sure he doesn't; if he 
does, we'll make sure he doesn't deploy them. And that's why it is so 
important that we continue our search for Al Qaida in Afghanistan, to 
hunt them down, to get them on the run, and to bring them to justice.
    But this is an evil man that we're dealing with. And I wouldn't put 
it past him to develop evil weapons to try to harm civilization as we 
know it. And that's why our coalition is--that's why I work hard to keep 
our coalition bound together. And that's why we're going to keep 
relentless military pressure on him in Afghanistan. And that's why we 
must prevail. That's why we must win.
    And I told my friend the President, there's no doubt in my mind we 
will win.
    The question to Mr. Chirac.

France's Role in the War on Terrorism

    President Chirac. I didn't say that France was ready to put 2,000 
men at the disposal of the military operation; on the contrary, I said 
that we already had 2,000 men of all three forces involved in the 
    President Bush. Question from the French press. No, only one 
question, Mr. Fournier. This is the old two-question trick; you say 
you've got one question, and he has two questions.
    Would you call on somebody from your press?

Future of Afghanistan

    Q. We are--I'll ask the question in French, a question that is 
directed to both Presidents. And we are already involved in

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the military phase. Have we already--have you already started thinking 
about the political phase and the possible increased involvement of the 
U.N. for the future in that phase?
    President Chirac. Of course we have mentioned all this. And I must 
say that the military aspect is necessary, yes, but there are other 
aspects. And the U.S. and its allies are currently making efforts to 
speed up the political process and the quest for a political settlement 
in Afghanistan. And in this respect, we do support Mr. Brahimi and what 
he is doing. We are all also involved in increasing and stepping up the 
humanitarian aid, and we mentioned that this morning.
    We spoke about all these issues because they are all closely 
intertwined, as are other issues that haven't yet been mentioned in 
front of you ladies and gentlemen: for instance, the financing of the 
fight against terrorism, or financial measures to fight against 
terrorism; and also the havens that are offered to terrorists in some 
countries because of national legislation; and also the fight against 
the opportunities that our democratic societies give these terrorists.
    President Bush. Yes, I have nothing more to add to that. I'm in 
agreement with what the President said.
    Patsy [Patricia Wilson, Reuters].

Nature of the Coalition

    Q. Mr. President, you said this morning that you wanted more than 
sympathy or words from other countries. What nations were you 
specifically talking about, and what do you want from them?
    President Bush. I am going to the United Nations to give a speech on 
Saturday. And I am going to praise those nations who have joined our 
coalition. But a coalition partner must do more than just express 
sympathy; a coalition partner must perform. And our coalition partner 
here has performed; we work together.
    And that means different things for different nations. Some nations 
don't want to contribute troops, and we understand that. Other nations 
can contribute intelligence sharing, and for that we're grateful. But 
all nations, if they want to fight terror, must do something. It is time 
for action. And that's going to be the message of my speech at the 
United Nations.
    I have no specific nation in mind, at least as I stand here now. 
Everybody ought to be given the benefit of the doubt. But over time, 
it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held 
accountable for inactivity. You are either with us or you are against us 
in the fight against terror. And that's going to be part of my speech at 
the United Nations.
    Last question.
    President Chirac. Just one comment. I would just like to remind you, 
ladies and gentlemen, that through Resolution 1373, the Security Council 
of the United Nations acknowledged the legitimacy of U.S. action and 
also outlined the obligation for all countries to join the fight against 
terrorism. So, of course, all nations and countries contribute according 
to their capabilities. But there is no way they can get out of this 
commitment. It is the legitimacy and the legitimate reaction of the U.S. 
that was endorsed.
    President Bush. The soup is getting cold. Do you want one more 
question from the French press?
    President Chirac. You are the--you're the boss.
    President Bush. I'm the boss? Well, let's go eat, then. [Laughter] 
Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: The President spoke at 11:44 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White 
House. In his remarks, he referred to Usama bin Laden, leader of the Al 
Qaida terrorist organization. President Chirac referred to U.N. Special 
Representative for Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi. President Chirac spoke 
in French, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.