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Exchange With Reporters on Aid to Iraqi Refugees

April 11, 1991

Q. Mr. President, do you agree with Prime Minister Major on the enclaves?

The President. Yes, total agreement.

Q. Iraq said you don't need to mark enclaves.

Q. What kind of enclaves?

The President. We're going to do what we need for humanitarian relief. And there is no difference between the United Kingdom and the United States, and there's no difference between the EC and the United States, and there's no difference between the United Nations Secretary-General and the United States on this question. So, I hope that you will understand that. There is no difference on this.

Q. What kind of enclave, sir?

The President. We're looking forward to give relief to these people where they are. We're going to continue to do that. And I do not expect any interference from the man in Baghdad, and he knows better than to interfere.

Q. Is the enclave a legal entity?

Q. Mr. President -- --

The President. Charles [Charles Bierbauer, Cable News Network], you're off on the wrong track. If you'd listen to what I said, you'd be right about this. There is no difference between these people. And it takes the United Nations action to do some formalization; that's not what we're doing. We're going to help these refugees, and please don't try to make a difference where there isn't any. If you don't believe me, do what I did yesterday: Talk to John Major, and you will see there are no differences. The United States is taking the leadership role on bringing refugees support, and we're going to continue to do it. And we're doing a magnificent job in conjunction with these allies.

And P.S., I am not going to involve any American troops in a civil war in Iraq. They are not going to be going in there to do what some of my severest critics early on now seem to want me to do. I want these kids to come home. And that's what's going to happen. And we are going to do what is right by these refugees, and I think the American people expect that, and they want that. But I don't think they want to see us bogged down in a civil war by sending in the 82d Airborne or the 101st or the 7th Cavalry. And so, I want to get that matter cleared up.

But we are together today with our European allies, just as we have been all during this magnificent operation over there.

Note: The exchange began at 1:36 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. President Bush referred to Prime Minister John Major of the United Kingdom, Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar de la Guerra of the United Nations, and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

George Bush, Exchange With Reporters on Aid to Iraqi Refugees Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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