George W. Bush photo

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Easter Seals Representatives and an Exchange With Reporters

June 20, 2001

The President. It's an honor for me to welcome the representatives from the Easter Seals here, two courageous Americans who are compassionate to give back to their country, and it's an honor to have you all in the Oval Office. Thanks for coming.

Situation in the Middle East

Q. Have you talked to Arafat yet?

The President. I talked to Chairman Arafat today.

Q. What can you tell us about that conversation?

The President. I told him—I talked to him about—I talked to Prime Minister Sharon, Mubarak, as well as Mr. Arafat. And I said we're making some progress and that they all must continue to work toward breaking the cycle of violence.

I do feel like it's the appropriate time for Colin Powell to go to the Mideast— and he's headed there next week—and that the parties must continue to work in an all-out effort to bring peace. And people can find excuses or rationale not to continue to work to break the cycle of violence. I urged them just to not think that way, to believe in the possible. And we're making enough progress for me to feel comfortable about asking the Secretary of State to go.

We have another mission from our Government to remain involved in the process. We look forward to the implementation of Mitchell. But it's hard—we cannot start Mitchell, the Mitchell plan, until the cycle of violence has been crushed and broken. And we believe we are making enough progress with that to send the Secretary of State.

Thank you all.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:03 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestinian Authority; Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel; and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The President also referred to the Report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, chaired by former Senator George J. Mitchell, issued April 30. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George W. Bush, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Easter Seals Representatives and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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