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Pages 1799-1823
 
Week Ending Friday, December 21, 2001
 
Remarks in Honor of Eid al-Fitr and an Exchange With Reporters

December 17, 2001

    The President. Welcome. It's good to see everybody. Thank you all 
for coming. We want to thank you for coming to the White House to 
celebrate Eid. It's so nice of you to be here. It reminds us how much we 
all have in common, how similar boys and girls are, no matter what their 
religion may be. So thanks for being here today. We're really thrilled 
you're here.
    Eid is a time of joy, after a season of fasting and prayer and 
reflection. Each year, the end of Ramadan means celebration and 
thanksgiving for millions of Americans. And your joy during this season 
enriches the life of our great country. This year, Eid is celebrated at 
the same time as Hanukkah and Advent. So it's a good time for people of 
these great faiths, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, to remember how 
much we have in common: devotion to family, a commitment to care for 
those in need, a belief in God and His justice, and the hope for peace 
on earth.
    We also share a custom I know all of you are excited about, and 
that's giving gifts to children. And after this is over, I have a little 
gift for you from the White House. This season is meant to be a time of 
rejoicing as well as a time of generosity. I'm proud that our country, 
during Eid, is helping the people of Afghanistan. And I'm proud that the 
children of America, through America's Fund for Afghan Children, are 
giving food and clothes and toys to the children of Afghanistan.
    The people of Afghanistan have suffered so much, and we're committed 
to helping them in their time of hardship and in their time of need. 
These are challenging days for our Nation, but holidays like this one 
remind us about how much we have to be thankful for and that God 
delights in joy and generosity of men and women and children. People of 
every faith are welcome here in the people's house. People of every 
background are welcome to come here to the White House.
    I want to thank you all for coming, and I'd like to go read--if you 
don't mind, read from a book to you. Is that okay? How about that? Let's 
go do that, and then we'll go back over here. We've got a special gift 
for you.

[At this point, the President read a poem entitled, ``Good Deeds.'']

    The President. Thank you all for coming. We're getting ready to 
leave. I may answer a few questions if you have some. Stretch, [Richard 
Keil, Bloomberg News] and then Ron [Ron Fournier, Associated Press].

[[Page 1801]]

Usama bin Laden

    Q. Mr. President, have you--with the campaign against the Taliban 
winding down to a very small area of Afghanistan, will you consider this 
operation a success if Usama bin Laden is at large?
    The President. Usama bin Laden is going to be brought to justice. It 
may happen tomorrow; it may happen in a month; it may happen in a year. 
But he is going to be brought to justice. He's on the run. He thinks he 
can hide, but he can't. We've been at this operation now for about 2\1/
2\ months, and we've made incredible progress. And one of the objectives 
I've said, in this theater, in all theaters for that matter, is that we 
want Al Qaida killers brought to justice. And we'll bring him to 
justice.
    Q. What do you know, sir, about whether he's still in Afghanistan? 
And have you spoken to the Pakistani Government about helping you to 
track him down if, in fact, he has fled across the border?
    The President. Well, the Pakistanis will help us, and they are 
helping us look for not only one--Usama bin Laden, but for all Al Qaida 
murderers and killers. They will be brought to justice. And it's just a 
matter of time, as far as I'm concerned. We've got all kinds of reports 
that he's in a cave, that he's not in a cave, that he's escaped, that he 
hasn't escaped. And there's all kinds of speculation. But when the dust 
clears, we'll find out where he is, and he'll be brought to justice.
    Q. Will you order a military tribunal for him?
    The President. You know, one thing at a time, Ron. I do have the 
option of military tribunals, because I think it's going to be a way to 
protect national security matters. But I'll make that judgment when we 
bring him to justice.

Anthrax Attacks

    Q. On another matter, sir, have investigators concluded the anthrax 
used in the mailings have a domestic source? Are you looking for----
    The President. Well, we're still looking on that. We've all got 
different feelings about it. I--and we're gathering as much information. 
And as soon as we make definitive conclusions, we'll share it with the 
American people.

Counterterrorism Efforts

    Q. [Inaudible]--what the next steps might be in fighting terrorism 
in other countries or regions?
    The President. Yes, we're looking. I mean, any time there is 
somebody harboring a killer or a terrorist, we will work with them to 
bring those people to justice. And one of the things I won't do, of 
course, is tell the enemy what our next move will be. I'm working to 
build--to keep our coalition strong.
    Colin Powell and myself and others in the administration are 
constantly talking to world leaders to encourage them to cut off money 
or disrupt killer cells that might be hiding in their countries. We've 
made great progress. We've arrested over--I think it's over 300 now. 
We're beginning to shut down financial institutions around the world.
    Not every operation needs to be a military operation to be 
successful against the terrorist networks. And I'm pleased to tell you 
that the coalition is working cooperatively. And we're sharing a lot of 
intelligence between nations, and it's having effect.
    Q. So might Iraq be next, probably?
    The President. Oh, no, I'm not going to tell the enemy what's next. 
They just need to know that so long as they plan, and have got plans to 
murder innocent people, America will be breathing down their neck.

John Walker

    Q. Mr. President, what are you learning about John Walker's 
involvement in the Taliban or Al Qaida, and should he face the death 
penalty if he's found to be a----
    The President. I'm going to let the appropriate law enforcement 
agencies make recommendations to me. He has been questioned, properly 
questioned by the U.S. Government. I have yet to see the transcript 
myself. But we'll make the decision on what to do with Mr. Walker. He is 
a U.S. citizen. Obviously, I've said that U.S. citizens will not go into 
military tribunals. And so we'll make the determination whether or not 
he stays within the military system or comes into the civil justice 
system, the civil system in America.

[[Page 1802]]

    Thank you all. Let's go in here.

Note: The President spoke at 1:12 p.m. in the Diplomatic Reception Room 
at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Usama bin Laden, 
leader of the Al Qaida terrorist organization.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
                         

[Page 1802]
 
Pages 1799-1823
 
Week Ending Friday, December 21, 2001
 
Letter to Congressional Leaders Transmitting a Report on Cyprus

December 17, 2001

Dear Mr. Speaker:  (Dear Mr. Chairman:)

    In accordance with Public Law 95-384 (22 U.S.C. 2373(c)), I submit 
to you this report on progress toward a negotiated solution of the 
Cyprus question covering the period October 1 through November 30, 2001. 
The previous submission covered August 1 through September 30, 2001. The 
United Nations continued in its efforts to sustain the proximity talks 
that started in December 1999. The United States remains committed to 
the United Nations effort to find a just and lasting settlement to the 
Cyprus problem.
     Sincerely,
                                                George W. Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the 
House of Representatives, and Joseph R. Biden, Jr., chairman, Senate 
Committee on Foreign Relations. This letter was released by the Office 
of the Press Secretary on December 18.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
                         

[Page 1802]
 
Pages 1799-1823
 
Week Ending Friday, December 21, 2001
 
Statement on Congressional Action on Education Reform Legislation

December 18, 2001

    I commend Members of Congress for acting boldly and in an 
overwhelmingly bipartisan way to help make sure no child in America is 
left behind. These historic reforms will improve our public schools by 
creating an environment where every child can learn through real 
accountability, unprecedented flexibility for States and school 
districts, greater local control, more options for parents, and more 
funding for what works.
    Many share in the credit for making these reforms a reality. I look 
forward to standing side by side with the bipartisan leadership, 
Congressman Boehner, Senator Kennedy, Senator Gregg, and Congressman 
Miller, early next year and signing these important reforms into law.
    By putting aside partisan differences and working to find common 
ground, we can get things done so that all our children have the 
opportunity for a better and brighter future.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
                         

[Page 1802-1803]
 
Pages 1799-1823
 
Week Ending Friday, December 21, 2001
 
Statement on Signing the Department of Transportation and Related 
Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002

December 18, 2001

    Today I have signed into law H.R. 2299, the ``Department of 
Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002.''
    I appreciate the bipartisan effort that has gone into producing this 
Act. The bill abides by the agreed upon aggregate funding level for 
Fiscal Year 2002 of $686 billion and supports several of my 
Administration's key initiatives with:
 <bullet>    $140 million for border safety to ensure an open border for 
            trade between the United States and Mexico through the 
            establishment of an inspection and certification system that 
            will ensure a high level of motor carrier safety;
 <bullet>    $5 billion for Coast Guard operations and capital expenses, 
            including $243 million to support expanded drug interdiction 
            efforts as authorized in the Western Hemisphere Drug 
            Elimination Act;
 <bullet>    $1.2 billion for the newly created Transportation Security 
            Administration to enhance airport and aircraft security;
 <bullet>    $32.8 billion for key highway infrastructure and safety 
            initiatives in compliance with authorized levels;
 <bullet>    $10.2 billion for aviation operations and airport 
            improvement grants to expand safety, security, and capacity; 
            and
 <bullet>    $6.7 billion for mass transit grants and capital programs.
    Several provisions in the bill purport to require congressional 
approval before executive branch execution of aspects of the bill. I 
will interpret such provisions to require notification only, since any 
other interpretation

[[Page 1803]]

would contradict the Supreme Court ruling in INS v. Chadha.
                                                George W. Bush
 The White House,
 December 18, 2001.

Note: H.R. 2299, approved December 18, was assigned Public Law No. 107-
87.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
                         

[Page 1803-1806]
 
Pages 1799-1823
 
Week Ending Friday, December 21, 2001
 
Proclamation 7515--To Modify the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the 
United States, To Provide Rules of Origin Under the North American Free 
Trade Agreement for Affected Goods, and for Other Purposes

 December 18, 2001

 By the President of the United States

 of America

 A Proclamation

    1. Section 1205(a) of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 
1988 (the ``1988 Act'') (19 U.S.C. 3005(a)) directs the United States 
International Trade Commission (the ``Commission'') to keep the 
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) under continuous 
review and periodically to recommend to the President such modifications 
in the HTS as the Commission considers necessary or appropriate to 
accomplish the purposes set forth in that subsection. The Commission has 
recommended modifications to the HTS pursuant to sections 1205(c) and 
(d) of the 1988 Act (19 U.S.C. 3005(c) and (d)) to conform the HTS to 
amendments made to the International Convention on the Harmonized 
Commodity Description and Coding System (the ``Convention'').
    2. Section 1206(a) of the 1988 Act (19 U.S.C. 3006(a)) authorizes 
the President to proclaim modifications to the HTS, based on the 
recommendations of the Commission under section 1205 of the 1988 Act (19 
U.S.C. 3005), if he determines that the modifications are in conformity 
with the obligations of the United States under the Convention and do 
not run counter to the national economic interest of the United States. 
I have determined that the modifications to the HTS proclaimed in this 
proclamation pursuant to section 1206(a) are in conformity with the 
obligations of the United States under the Convention and do not run 
counter to the national economic interest of the United States.
    3. (a) Presidential Proclamation 6641 of December 15, 1993, 
implemented the North American Free Trade Agreement (the ``NAFTA'') with 
respect to the United States and, pursuant to sections 201 and 202 of 

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