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Exchange With Reporters in Andover, Massachusetts, on the Iraqi Offer To Withdraw From Kuwait

February 15, 1991

Q. Mr. President, is there any indication that Iraqis are turning around and going home?

Q. Do you think this is words only, this Iraqi statement?

The President. What statement? You mean this morning?

Q. Yes.

The President. Oh, there's no evidence of any withdrawal. I mean, as I said down in Washington, it's a cruel ploy. What he did was reiterate some conditions and add some new ones. And it's totally unacceptable to everybody.

You know, my heart goes out to the people in Iraq that you saw kind of jumping with joy early on, firing their weapons -- which is I guess their sign of joy -- in the air, and only to recognize when the fine print came out that it was a step backwards.

So, there's no sign of any withdrawal. I wish there were; so did the whole world.

Q. -- -- members of the coalition, sir?

Q. What do you think the use of the word "withdrawal" means? It's the first time we've heard that.

The President. I don't know. It doesn't mean compliance with the United Nations resolutions. Until that happens, regrettably, there will not be a cessation of hostilities. There will be no pause, there will be no cease-fire, there will be no reliving experiences in the past that were unhelpful to a peaceful, satisfactory conclusion of the war. And so, there's nothing in this thing to offer hope. I wish I thought there was; there's not.

Q. Any sign that this tempts any members of the coalition?

The President. No, they're all -- the ones we've talked to are all solid and got on this thing the minute they saw the declaration coming out of Baghdad, pronounced it -- it was an initiative -- pronounced it dead on arrival because there wasn't anything new or significant. There was just some more conditions including asking the American taxpayer to pay for damage in Iraq. It's the other way around -- there -- reparation sanctions are called for under the United Nations. Reparations for Iraq -- undoes the damage that it's done to its neighbors. I don't know how you repay for the loss of human life in Kuwait, the brutality, the 15-to-20-year-old Kuwaitis just this last week. You can't make amends for that.

But this was a cruel ploy. And the world saw it as such, including the coalition, which is just as solid today as it's ever been.

Now, I've got to get on and learn something more about the Patriot. But thank you all very much.

Note: The exchange began at 12:40 p.m. in the Andover Room of the assembly building at the Raytheon Missile Systems plant. In his remarks, President Bush referred to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange. Following the exchange, the President toured the plant facilities.

George Bush, Exchange With Reporters in Andover, Massachusetts, on the Iraqi Offer To Withdraw From Kuwait Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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