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Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad of Malaysia

May 06, 1994

Jones Lawsuit

Q. Mr. President, do you have any comment on the lawsuit filed against you today?

The President. Well, I thought Mr. Bennett did a fine job. I don't have anything to add to what he said.

Q. Are you going to argue that all the charges are false?

The President. I don't have anything to add to what Mr. Bennett said. I'm going back to work.

Q. Do you categorically deny the charges?

The President. Bob Bennett spoke for me, and I'm going back to work. I'm not going to dignify this by commenting on it.


Q. Can you tell us whether you're thinking of changing your Haiti policy regarding the return of the refugees given the escalation of violence?

The President. We've had our Haiti policy under review, as you know, for the last 3 or 4 weeks. And we had a meeting about it today. We're going to meet again tomorrow. And I think we may have some announcements to make after that.

Q. About changing the policy on the refugees, sir?

Q. Have you tasked the Defense Department to do some military options just in case these sanctions cut today don't work?

The President. I don't want to discuss that. As I have said, I do not favor that option. I just don't think we can rule it out. I think it would be irresponsible to rule it out.

Q. You do not favor that option?

The President. Well, I've never favored—you know what I favor. What I've been trying to do is to get Governors Island followed. I'm trying—I think the people down there ought to keep their word. But we certainly can't afford to rule it out.

Q. Do you think you might have announcements regarding the refugee policy, was that what you were referring to?

The President. I don't have—I'll make an announcement when I have something to say about Haiti policy. But I don't have anything else to say.

Q. Are you referring to the refugee policy?

The President. I have nothing else to say about it.

[At this point, one group of reporters left the room, and another group entered.]


Q. Mr. President, you missed Dr. Mahathir in Seattle. Now that you have met him personally, how do you feel about it?

The President. Well, we haven't had a chance to visit yet, but I have been looking forward to this for a long time. I admire his leadership very much, and I admire the incredible accomplishments of his nation under his leadership over the last several years. And I look forward to establishing a good relationship with him and continuing our partnership.

I'm also very grateful for the security partnership we have had and for the contributions that have been made by Malaysia to the operation in Bosnia, to the operation in Somalia, and to being a responsible leader in world affairs.

So we've got a lot to talk about and I'm looking forward to it.

NOTE: The exchange began at 2:55 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, the President referred to attorney Robert Bennett. Former Arkansas State employee Paula Jones' lawsuit sought civil damages for alleged sexual harassment in 1991. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad of Malaysia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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