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Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters on Ethiopian Jewish Emigration

May 06, 1991

The President. I might just make one comment here to say how much we appreciate Senator Boschwitz going to Ethiopia. A concern of the Falashas, the Jews there in Ethiopia that want to go out and go to Israel, is a concern that I share. And Rudy took a good step forward there in talking to the Ethiopian authorities. It's a mission of conscience, a mission of compassion. And we are very grateful to you for undertaking it.

I'm anxious to hear from you, how you feel things will go. But I know you've got some words of encouragement from the Ethiopian Government. And I think it's a mission that many in this country when they understand it will appreciate it. I'm grateful for your doing it.

Mr. Boschwitz. Well, you've been active in that matter before, very active, Mr. President. So, this is a continuation. Of course, Ethiopia's also in great turmoil, so it's important that we bring peace there.

Q. Is there some reason to believe that the Ethiopians are going to lift the restrictions on emigration?

Mr. Boschwitz. Well, there's some hope that we will. It's a pretty tenuous situation. But I think that they're anxious to meet with some of the rebels, and I think we can bring them together. I think something will happen over there.

Q. Mr. President, can the world deal with three crises at a time -- Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and the Kurds? Are they up to that relief effort?

The President. Resources of the United States are stressed, but the compassion is not. And so, I expect we can do what the United States has always done.

Mr. Boschwitz. The United States moved in 170 million dollars' worth of food in this past year to Ethiopia. We played a very essential role in preventing more egregious starvation there.

The President. Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 2:32 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House, prior to a meeting with former Senator Rudy Boschwitz. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George Bush, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters on Ethiopian Jewish Emigration Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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