Clinton Offers Assurances U.S. Will Help Fight Terrorism

President Clinton has pledged $100 million dollars to combat terrorism in the Middle East and to strengthen security ties with Israel.

Clinton made the pledge Thursday at join news conference with Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

“The forces supporting peace and security are stronger than those that purse destruction,” Clinton said. “We must prove that. Whatever effort it takes, whatever time it takes, me must say to them. `You will be tracked down. You will bee rooted out.’”

The counterterrorism package is to include bomb detection scanners, robotics for handing suspicious objects and other high-tech gear, U.S. officials said.

During his 22-hour visit to Israel after Wednesday’s international anti- terrorism summit in Egypt, Clinton repeatedly expressed sympathy with the victims of recent wave of Islamic fundamentalist terror in Israel.

At the summit, international and regional leaders agreed to fight terror. A working group of foreign ministers is to met in two weeks to discuss common issues.

CIA Director John Deutch was still working on the final details of a counterterrorism accord, which could result in increased cooperation between U.S. and Israeli intelligence operations in pursuing terrorists, officials said privately.

The administration is also working with Israel on a defense agreement, which would provide for closer military ties between the nations. The United States hopes to conclude the pact before Peres comes to Washington in April.

At Thursday’s news conference, Clinton said he doubted that the anti-terrorism summit would reach the hearts of those who “strap explosive to their bodies and blow themselves up, killing themselves and innocent victims” to persuade them to do otherwise.

But he said the participants at the summit could work together to minimize the risk of terror by preventing money and materials from reaching the terrorists.

Both Clinton and Peres said they were disappointed by Syria’s refusal to attend the summit, but said it should not undermine the peace talks.

Peres said that even though Syria must be pressed upon to not to support or shelter terror or terrorists, “we don’t want to close all doors.”

The president also met with Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert and Likud opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

After his meeting with Netanyahu, Clinton made an unscheduled stop at Beit Hinuch high school, which lost four former students in the two Jerusalem suicide bombings.

From Beit Hinuch, the president went to the Mount Herzl military cemetery, where he was joined by members of the Rabin family at Yitzhak Rabin’s graveside.

Standing beside Rabin’s widow, Leah Rasbin, Clinton placed a stone from the South Lawn of the White House at the gravesite.

In Tel Aviv later, Clinton addressed Israeli Jewish and Arab youths from across the country and appealed to them to do what they could to further peace.

NEXT STORY