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Bush Reacts to Bin Laden Video

President Bush says the release of a new video by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is a vivid reminder of the dangers still facing the world. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from Sydney, where the president is attending a summit of Pacific rim leaders.

It is the first video in three years featuring Osama bin Laden. And its release comes just days before the sixth anniversary of the September 11th 2001 terror attacks on the United States.

The al-Qaida leader does not make any specific threats on the tape. But President Bush says the video underscores the need for the world to stand united against the terrorist threat.

"The tape is a reminder of the dangerous world in which we live and it is a reminder that we must work together to protect our people," he said.

Mr. Bush made the remarks to reporters in Sydney at the close of a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The president, who rarely responds to al-Qaida videos noted that in the tape, bin Laden talks about the Iraq war.

"I found it interested that on the tape Iraq was mentioned, which is a reminder that Iraq is part of the war against extremists. If al-Qaida bothers to mention Iraq, it's because they want to achieve their objectives in Iraq, which is to drive us out," he said.

He said al-Qaida wants to establish a safe haven in Iraq - a launch site for further attacks on the United States and other countries. "And therefore, it is important that we show resolve and determination to protect ourselves, to deny al-Qaida safe haven and support young democracies," he said.

The president has been focusing a great deal lately on al-Qaida's ambitions as he seeks to build support for his Iraq policy. On Monday, the two top U.S. officials in Iraq, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and U.S. commander, General David Petraeus, will go before a Congressional committee and give a status report on the Iraqi situation. And President Bush says he will address the nation later in the week on the way forward in Iraq.