George W. Bush photo

Exchange With Reporters on Returning From Camp David, Maryland

October 14, 2001


Q. Mr. President, there's a new offer from the Taliban to turn over bin Laden. What's your response to that, sir?

The President. Turn him over. Turn him over; turn his cohorts over; turn any hostages they hold over; destroy all the terrorist camps. There's no need to negotiate. There's no discussions. I told them exactly what they need to do. And there's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty. Turn him over. If they want us to stop our military operations, they've just got to meet my conditions. Now, when I said no negotiation, I meant no negotiation.

Q. You reject his offer?

The President. I don't know what the offer is. All they've got to do is turn him over, and his colleagues and the stocks he hides, as well as destroy his camps, and the innocent people being held hostage in Afghanistan.

Q. They want you to stop the bombing and see evidence.

The President. There's no negotiation— they must have not heard—there's no negotiation. This is nonnegotiable. These people, if they're interested in us stopping our military operations—we will do so if they meet the conditions that I outlined in my speech to the United States Congress. It's as simple as that. There's nothing to negotiate about. They're harboring a terrorist, and they need to turn him over—and not only turn him over, turn the Al Qaida organization over, destroy all the terrorist camps—actually, we're doing a pretty good job of that right now—and release the hostages they hold. That's all they've got to do, but there is no negotiation, period.

NOTE: The exchange began at approximately noon on the South Lawn at the White House. In his remarks, the President referred to Usama bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaida terrorist organization. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

George W. Bush, Exchange With Reporters on Returning From Camp David, Maryland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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