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12/31/02 - PRESIDENT BUSH ON THE NEW YEAR - 2002-12-31

In 2002, the United States continued to confront the dangers of global terrorism. The year began with the liberation of Afghanistan and the installation of a new government there. Coalition forces have captured or killed several al-Qaida terrorist leaders. More than five-hundred suspected terrorists are being detained at a U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Others are still being sought.

Terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and elsewhere have also been destroyed. Terrorist cells in the U.S., Middle East, Europe, and Asia have been broken up. And more than one-hundred-ten million dollars of terrorist assets have been frozen. Also during 2002, the U.S. helped train anti-terrorist forces in the Philippines, Yemen, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, and other nations.

Much more remains to be done. Terrorism still poses a substantial threat. In October, the French oil tanker, Limburg, was attacked off the coast of Yemen. In the same month, terrorists killed more than one-hundred-eighty people in Bali, Indonesia. And in an audiotape released in November, al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden threatened not only the U.S., but also Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy.

As President George W. Bush said, “The war on terror also requires us to confront the danger of catastrophic violence posed by Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction.” The U.S., working with the United Nations Security Council, has given the regime of Saddam Hussein one final opportunity to give up its illegal weapons, in compliance with Security Council resolutions passed since Iraq’s illegal invasion of Kuwait over twelve years ago. “The burden is now on Iraq’s dictator to disclose and destroy his arsenal of weapons,” said President Bush. “If he refuses, then for the sake of peace, the United States will lead a coalition to disarm the Iraqi regime and free the Iraqi people.” “In the new year,” President Bush said, “we will prosecute the war on terror with patience and focus and determination. With the help of a broad coalition, we will make certain that terrorists and their supporters are not safe in any cave or corner of the world.”