George Bush: 'The Taliban must hand over the terrorists, or share in their fate'

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The Independent US

Extracts from President George Bush's address to both houses of Congress on Thursday evening:

"My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our union, and it is strong.

"Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom... Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.

"On behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our national anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

"Nor will we forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own: dozens of Pakistanis, more than 130 Israelis, more than 250 citizens of India, men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico and Japan, and hundreds of British citizens.

"...America has no truer friend than Great Britain. Once again we are joined together in a great cause. I'm so honoured the British Prime Minister has crossed an ocean to show his unity with America. Thank you for coming, friend.

"Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: 'Who attacked our country?' The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organisations known as al-Qa'ida. They are some of the murderers indicted for bombing [our] embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.

"Al-Qa'ida is to terror what the Mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its goal is remaking the world and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere... This group and its leader, a person named Osama bin Laden, are linked to many other organisations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries.

"The United States respects the people of Afghanistan. After all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid. But we condemn the Taliban regime. It is not only repressing its own people; it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists.

"And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban:

* Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qa'ida who hide in your land.

* Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned.

* Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers.

* Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp and hand over every terrorist and every person in their support structure.

* Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps.

"These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taliban must act and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate.

"...The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends. It is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.

"Americans are asking: 'Why do they hate us?' They hate what they see right here in this chamber, a democratically elected government. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies.

"...Americans are asking, 'How will we fight and win this war?' We will direct every resource – every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every financial influence and every necessary weapon of war – to the disruption and defeat of the global terror network.

"Every nation now has a decision to make. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists... Any nation that continues to harbour or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

"...Tonight, a few miles from the damaged Pentagon, I have a message for our military: be ready. This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight, this is civilisation's fight."

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