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Public Papers - 1991

Exchange With Reporters in New York City


Q. How about a handshake, please?

The President. You've got it. You want a standing handshake or a seated handshake?

Q. Mr. President, are there any CIA people in that U.N. inspection team?

The President. Can you imagine asking a question like that? You know I never discuss questions of that nature.

Q. Iraq says or claims that there are American spies.

The President. Iraq ought to simply comply with the United Nations resolutions. That's what they ought to do.

Q. Mr. President, do you believe that the Resolution 425 will be implemented this year?

The President. We want to see all the -- the resolution -- --

Q. Resolution 425.

The President. We want to see everything implemented as best it can be, and that's our position, one of the principal positions we take with the United Nations.

Yes. And this is really the last one. This is really what we call a photo opportunity.

Q. You've always said that you've supported Lebanon and you support all the agreements about Lebanon. We need action. What do you intend to do?

The President. Well, I'm not sure the United States can take unilateral action. As I mentioned at the United Nations yesterday, this is an era where concerted international action is taking precedence over -- and properly so -- over unilateral steps. But in the first place, we have been supportive of accords that have taken place outside of the United Nations. I'm thinking of Taif and some of these things. But we simply want to be a catalyst, if we can, for peace. We don't have to always go in lockstep with the United Nations, but we'd like to see that be the cutting edge for these very tangled situations.

But as you know, in the whole Middle East, Secretary Baker and I are working very hard to see countries in the area take a major step forward. That's something the United States can do. That's something that would clearly be of long-range benefit for Lebanon if it works.

So, we will pursue certain courses, working with friends in these different areas. But we also think that sometimes multilateral agreements are a good way to go. I can't tell you what individual steps we'll take, but I'm anxious to know what the President thinks that we might do to be of further help.

Note: The exchange began at 3:40 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, prior to President Bush's meeting with President Ilyas Harawi of Lebanon. President Bush referred to Secretary of State James A. Baker III and to the Taif Accords, an agreement signed by Lebanese Parliamentarians in October 1989 designed to bring peace to Lebanon. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

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