January 8, 1986
Europe has borne the brunt of Qadhafi's latest outrages. European leaders surely recognize that there is a strong and increasing public sentiment for firm action against those who support terrorism. Many Arab States have suffered also from terrorism. Arab leaders are well aware of Qadhafi's uncivilized behavior, and he is a threat to them, as well. Europe and the Middle East countries have lost more than 1 billion in tourism alone. Airport workers in Rome have gone on strike to protest this situation. All countries are spending millions in increasing security. The cost in lives and property is enormous, and this will surely increase if terrorist acts continue.
But the cost of rampant and spreading terrorism is a price free nations cannot and will not pay. In our consultations, the United States will make it clear our position is that all nations must act in concert if we are to halt terrorism. It is essential that we make Qadhafi and others pay a premium if they continue their attempts to terrorize the world. Many actions will be taken, and we will hold in abeyance any further decisions that we make. The United States will continue to reserve the right to act in an appropriate manner in our own self-defense. All available measures will remain under consideration to bring terrorists to justice. We want to convince Qadhafi that terrorism will not be cost-free, nor will it be without consequence. Should Qadhafi continue his involvement in international terrorism, we're fully prepared to take additional measures.
Note: Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters at 9:18 a.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.