George W. Bush photo

Exchange With Reporters in Albuquerque, New Mexico

August 15, 2001

Situation in the Middle East

Q. One question about the Middle East, sir. Do you believe that they are on the brink of war there? And have you come to believe that it's no longer realistic——

The President. [Inaudible]—the violence in the Middle East, but I'm confident that the leadership there will understand that war is avoidable and will work to bring peace. The parties must—must—make up their mind that peace is preferable to war. The suicide bombings have increased; there's too many of them. And Mr. Arafat must do everything in his power to discourage the suicide bombers. And the Israelis must be restrained in their response.

There's too much violence in the Middle East, but I'm confident that we can avoid war so long as the leadership makes the concerted effort to do so. My administration is constantly in touch with the parties.

I spoke to Secretary Powell this morning. We're working with the appropriate folks. The Egyptians are in town. Not only are we talking to the Palestinians and the Israelis, we're talking to other nations in the neighborhood to encourage them to convince Mr. Arafat to do everything he can to prevent and stop suicide bombings and needless violence.

Congratulations, Gregory [David Gregory, NBC News]. You actually got me to say something. [Laughter]

NOTE: The exchange began at 11:40 a.m. in room 117 at Griegos Elementary School. In his remarks, the President referred to Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Authority. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

George W. Bush, Exchange With Reporters in Albuquerque, New Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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