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6/4/03 - ARAB LEADERS AGAINST TERRORISM - 2003-06-04


At their meeting with President George W. Bush in Egypt, the leaders of major Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority have condemned terrorism in all its forms -- and with no exceptions. The leaders include Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Bahrain’s King Hamad, Jordanian King Abdullah, and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

President Mubarak, heard here through an interpreter, said the leaders affirm their position “against terror and violence”:

“We will continue to fight the scourge of terrorism against humanity, and reject the culture of extremism and violence in any form or shape, from whatever source or place, regardless of justifications or motives, being fully aware of their danger as a plague that threatens the peace and stability of the whole world. We will use all the power of the law to prevent support [from] reaching illegal organizations, including terrorist groups.”

Last month, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Abbas made it clear that the condemnation of terrorism applies to suicide bombings by Palestinians against Israelis. On May 19th, a young Palestinian woman blew herself up in the Israeli town of Afula, killing three people and wounding about seventy. The suicide bombing, said Mr. Abbas, “contradicts our moral values and tradition and only feeds into the hatred of the two peoples.”

President Bush’s trip to the Middle East was aimed at ending that hatred -- and promoting the “road map” leading to two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. But all progress towards peace requires the rejection of terror. President Bush commended the Arab leaders’ “firm rejection of terror, regardless of its justifications or motives”:

“They’ve also committed to practical actions to use all means to cut off assistance, including arms and financing, to any terror group, and to aid the Palestinian authorities in their own fight against terror.”

“Terror must be opposed,” said President Bush. “And it must be defeated.”

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