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Bush Warns Taleban - 2001-10-02

President Bush says there will be "consequences" for Afghanistan's Taleban rulers if they do not hand-over suspected terrorists. The president and congressional leaders discussed a financial stimulus package to help an economy down since last month's terrorist attacks.

President Bush says there is no timetable for the Taleban. They must close terrorist training camps and hand over suspected terrorist leaders, or Mr. Bush says the United States will act against them. "There are no negotiations," said President Bush. "There is no calendar. We will act on our time. And we will do it in a manner that not only secures the United States as best as possible but makes the freedom of the world more likely to exist in the future."

The president says the Afghan Taleban leadership is harboring the "prime suspect" in last month's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington - Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden. Taleban leaders say they will not hand him over without proof that he was involved in the attacks. The United States says it has proof that it is sharing with allies in its developing international coalition against terrorism.

The president says the United States is "on alert" as it enters this war against terrorists, but he says the nation also must get back to business. He is reopening Washington's downtown airport with stricter safety procedures. The president last week outlined a series of new measures to increase aviation security, including more armed air marshals, stronger cockpit doors, and federal control over all passenger and baggage screening. "Americans know their government is doing everything they can to disrupt any terrorist activity that may occur," he said. "We are following every lead. We are interrogating every possible suspect. We are on full alert in America. But the good news is, Americans also realize that in order to fight terrorism, they need to go about their lives in a normal way."

The president and congressional leaders are discussing a financial stimulus package to help revive an economy hurt by the September 11 attacks. Mr. Bush wants another tax cut. Administration officials say he is also open to Democratic demands to raise the minimum wage, increase job training, and guarantee unemployment benefits and health insurance for laid-off workers.