President Bush is vowing to keep relentless military pressure on Osama bin Laden and his supporters in Afghanistan. He says it is essential to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists.
President Bush is stepping up his accusations against the bin Laden al-Qaida terrorist organization and Afghanistan's Taleban.
In a speech delivered via satellite to an anti-terrorism conference in Poland, Mr. Bush stressed that al-Qaida is seeking nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. He said that is why the United States must act now. "We will not wait for more innocent deaths," added Mr. Bush. "We will not wait for the authors of mass murder to gain weapons of mass destruction."
Administration officials have talked before about terrorist efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. But this was the first time the president brought up the matter of nuclear arms.
Later, he told reporters that he based his comments on Osama bin Laden's own words. "He announced that this was his intention," said Mr. Bush. "And I believe we need to take him seriously."
During an appearance at the White House with French President Jacques Chirac, Mr. Bush acknowledged he did not know for sure if Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida have such weapons. But he would not be surprised to learn they are trying to acquire nuclear arms and the means to deliver them. "This is an evil man we are dealing with and I would not put it past him to develop evil weapons to try to harm civilization as we know it," said Mr. Bush.
President Bush made it clear America will hunt down Osama bin Laden and his deputies and bring them to justice. "That is why I work hard to keep our coalition bound together," he said. "And that is why we are going to keep relentless military pressure on him in Afghanistan."
The president said he told the French leader during their talks that he has no doubts America will prevail and win.
Others coming to the White House this week include leaders of Great Britain, Ireland, Morocco, Kuwait, Brazil, and India. Mr. Bush heads to New York on Saturday to address the United Nations and hold more meetings, including his first face-to-face conversation with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.