George W. Bush photo

Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters in Beltsville, Maryland

April 19, 2002

Death of Canadian Troops in Afghanistan

The President. I want to say publicly what I told Jean Chretien the other day, that how sorry I am that Canadian soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan. It was a terrible accident, and parents and loved ones of the soldiers have my most heartfelt sympathy. And I wish we could bring them back, but we can't.

I appreciate so very much our sacrifices that the Canadians are making in the war against terror. And again, sorry this accident took place.

Q. Sir, should there have been better communication between the——

The President. We'll find out. We'll find out what took place. It's just a terrible accident.

Situation in the Middle East

Q. Some international groups criticized conditions in some of the camps in Palestine as horrific.

The President. Well, we'll find—again, I think there's a—I share a deep concern about the humanitarian plight of people who live in that region. Obviously, I worry about families whose lives have been affected by the terror. I think it's very important for all of us as we—work toward a vision of peace to understand that we must provide hope where there is no hope, provide an opportunity where there seems to be no opportunity; that the best way for a lasting peace is for countries in the regions to uphold their responsibilities and remember that a peaceful situation requires there to be an opportunity for the Palestinians, peace for the Israelis. I am concerned about the living conditions of people throughout the region, and all governments have responsibilities for those living conditions.

I worry about high unemployment rate in countries in the region. And I worry about the fact that some young feel like they have no hope, and we need to work together to provide hope. Part of a lasting peace is for there to be hope in the region.

Energy Legislation

Q. Mr. President, will you sign an energy bill without ANWR?

The President. There is a energy bill with ANWR passed by the House, an energy bill without ANWR passed by the Senate— soon to be energy bill without ANWR passed by the Senate. And we'll see what happens. I do think it is very important for the American people to understand we need more supply to offset the national security risk of importing oil from parts of the world that do not like America. And I am confident we can find more supply in an environmentally friendly way.

Visit to James J. Rowley Training Center

Q. Tell us about your visit this morning. We understand you got behind the wheel.

The President. I did get behind the wheel.

Q. How did it go?

The President. Have you ever done a J-turn before?

Q. No, sir.

The President. I have. [Laughter]

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. Yes, it is. At least, this is the first time I'll ever admit to doing a J-turn.

Q. Did you pull it off?

The President. Let me just say this: The Secret Service has got some of the best instructors in the world, and they took a fellow who hadn't been driving much and taught me the J-turn. It was a pretty exciting feeling.

Q. Looking forward to doing it in the pick-up, sir?

The President. There will be no J-turns in Crawford. [Laughter]

Situation in the Middle East

Q. There are critics who say that you're easing up on Israel and that your comments——

The President. I think what people need to do is to read my speech in the Rose Garden, where I laid out a vision for peace and called upon all parties to uphold their responsibilities. In order for there to be peace, leaders must lead, and people must be responsible. There is joint and shared responsibility for peace. Israelis have got responsibility; the Palestinian Authority has got responsibility; and the nations in the region have got responsibility. And if there is a sincere desire for peace—which I hope there is, and I certainly have—then my job is to continue to lay out that vision and to call upon people to achieve—to do that which is necessary to achieve the peace.

Listen, thank you all. I hope you have a great weekend.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:08 p.m. at the U.S. Secret Service James J. Rowley Training Center. In his remarks, he referred to Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada; and ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George W. Bush, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters in Beltsville, Maryland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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