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Public Papers - 1990

Exchange With Reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, Prior to a Meeting With President Hafiz al-Assad of Syria

1990-11-23

Media Relations

Q. What do you think about Israel's disappointment, Mr. President?

Q. Gentlemen, if Saddam Hussein [President of Iraq] does not cooperate and withdraw, is war inevitable?

President Bush. I explained to the President that I do not take questions at what is billed as a photo opportunity. Of course, I also said that he's free to take questions if he wants. But I hope all will excuse me, but that's -- understand the groundrules.

Q. President Assad, will you commit your troops to an offensive action?

President Assad. Do you expect in such a big press conference that we speak about offensive or defensive action? [Laughter]

Q. Yes.

Q. Yes.

Q. Do you think we'll have another opportunity?

President Assad. Always politicians and statesmen would like to speak to pressmen so that they do not arouse their anger. But they like to give statements in the right times, in the suitable times. Who knows, there may come some good times to give you some statements.

Q. Inshallah [God willing]. [Laughter]

President Bush. That's Helen Thomas, United Press. Thank you all very much. We've got a lot of business to do.

President Assad. Do not forget what has been said. Do not carry home -- --

President Bush. Thank you all very much. It was wonderful. Thank you. [Laughter]

President Assad. These words will not appear in pictures. [Laughter]

President Bush. They may appear on one of these things, though. They pick up everything we say. [Laughter]

Q. But what about Europe? Excuse me, we are in Europe.

President Bush. I am pleased to be in Europe.

Note: The exchange took place at 7 p.m. in the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Hotel. Following the meeting, the President and Mrs. Bush traveled to Camp David, MD. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

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