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Powell: Do more to stop terror

Powell will meet Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres at the Bucharest talks  

BUCHAREST, Romania -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has told a 55-nation anti-terror summit that some countries could do more to stop "the scourge of terrorism."

Launching a 10-nation Afghan rebuilding tour, Powell was making a keynote address to foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Bucharest.

He said Washington fully supported an action plan against terrorism which OSCE foreign ministers were due to agree later on Tuesday, describing it as "a resolute expression of our collective will."

But he said that while some OSCE member countries were already making a critical contribution to the war against terrorism, others needed to do more in areas such as freezing terrorist assets and strengthening border controls.

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"OSCE participating states can and should do more to stop the scourge of terrorism," Powell said.

The OSCE consists of the United States, Canada, all European countries and former Soviet republics in central Asia. It is meeting in Romania, which is chairing the body this year.

One non-member of OSCE at the talks is Israel -- and Powell was holding crucial talks on the fringes of the summit with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres over the escalation of Middle East violence.

Powell earlier told reporters the war on terrorism was reaching a "new level of energy" thanks to an emerging consensus at the OSCE.

He expected the summit to discuss the question of outside security forces entering Afghanistan, but Washington first wanted Afghans to try to "get rid of the bandits" threatening aid efforts in the war-ravaged state.

Britain, Germany and France have all offered troops to help secure Afghanistan and guarantee aid supplies after the collapse of the Taliban.

But the time was not ripe, said Powell, on an eight-day trip to consult and reward allies in the U.S. war against Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan.

"The preference is to see if we can get a level of stability in the country so that indigenous forces... get rid of bandits on the roads," he said.

If that failed, there would be pressure to bring in outside forces. "But by no stretch of the imagination can you consider a large enough force that people are going to contribute to try to secure all of Afghanistan so that every road is safe."

Powell said the U.S. Commander Tommy Franks in Afghanistan had "no immediate need for other forces to come in."

But he added: "Clearly we're thinking about this. We're looking at the modalities of that and what nations might contribute."

Powell visits Turkey on Wednesday, NATO the next two days and then Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Germany, France and Britain.

U.S. officials noted that during previous OSCE meetings Russia has been the object of criticism over its actions in Chechnya and former Soviet republics -- the Chechen row effectively derailing the summit last year.

But this year, in a sign of just how dramatically the international community has changed since September 11, Powell is to meet with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov to continue the new theme of cooperation and good will forged by U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Powell is scheduled to hold another round of talks next week in Moscow.

On Monday Ivanov said the new anti-terror partnership between Moscow and Washington had strengthened the OSCE.


• U.S. State Department

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