Tue, Mar 12, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Bush urges removal of `parasites'

SIX MONTHS ON In a speech to mark half a year since the Sept. 11 attacks, the US president said that `inaction is not an option' when it comes to states that sponsor terrorism


US President George W. Bush marked six months since Sept. 11 yesterday by urging nations with militants linked to al-Qaeda to help "remove the terrorist parasites" and warning that Yemen was in danger of becoming another Afghanistan.

"Every terrorist must be made to live as an international fugitive, with no place to settle or organize, no place to hide, no governments to hide behind and not even a safe place to sleep," Bush said.

Bush spoke on the White House South Lawn to mark six months since the Sept. 11 attacks. The event included about 1,300 people, including members of Congress, more than 100 ambassadors and about 300 family members who lost relatives in the attacks.

Discussing the post-Afghanistan phase of the war on terrorism, Bush said: "America encourages and expects governments everywhere to help remove the terrorist parasites that threaten their own countries and peace of the world."

He said the US was actively assisting the governments of the Philippines, Georgia and Yemen to quell militants linked to al-Qaeda and said Yemen in particular was vulnerable. "In Yemen, we are working to avert the possibility of another Afghanistan," he said.

Bush warned that "inaction is not an option" when it comes to states that sponsor terrorism and seek or already have weapons of mass destruction.

"Terrorist groups are hungry for these weapons, and would use them without a hint of conscience," he said. "Inaction is not an option."

"September 11 was not the beginning of global terror," Bush said. "But it was the beginning of the world's concerted response.

"History will know that day not only as a day of tragedy, but as a day of decision. When the civilized world was stirred to anger and to action. And the terrorists will remember September 11 as a day of reckoning."

Bush thanked America's international allies in the campaign in Afghanistan and around the world. He finished his speech by saying "God save our coalition," rather than the customary "God save America."

Earlier in the day, New York paused for moments of silence at 8:46am and again 17 minutes later to commemorate the attacks on the World Trade Center.

At an emotional ceremony at the site that has become known as "Ground Zero," officials, spiritual leaders and relatives of victims stood somberly and bowed their heads, some in tears.

"Look into your heart to remember those that are no longer with us," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said to the crowd. "Think, what would those people have wanted us to do.

"I think they would have wanted us to make a better world. They would have wanted us to show the terrorists that they cannot defeat us. They would want us to to make sure we build a life where people can go and practice their religion, where people can go and say what they want to say," he said.

"Everything that America was built on, that's what is represented right here," Bloomberg said.

At the center of the New York ceremony was a dedication of The Sphere, a 2,041kg work created by Fritz Koenig in 1971. It once sat atop a granite fountain in the center of the 2-hectare World Trade Center plaza. It will be part of a temporary Battery Park memorial.

Memorial services were also held yesterday at the other crash sites, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was later due to lead allied military leaders on a tour of the Pentagon reconstruction efforts.

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