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America's New War: State Department Briefing

Aired September 18, 2001 - 12:54   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to the State Department now, where spokesman Richard Boucher is answering questions from reporters.

Richard Boucher.

RICHARD BOUCHER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: ... targeted on the most impoverished. In fiscal year 2001, we provided 63,000 metric tons. That's valued at $29.2 million. Of that, about $1.9 million goes to Afghan refugees.

We've also provided lifesaving assistance to help with access to food, water, medical services and shelter that result from the drought. For those programs, 2001 funding is at $18.9 million. This is only part of an overall U.S. assistance program for Afghanistan. The total, including aid from our Bureau of Population and Refugees comes to over $140 million for this year in support for the Afghan people and for the refugees caused by the terrible and unfortunate situation that many people in Afghanistan face.

In the immediate circumstance, we have just given the U.N. high commissioner for refugees $2 million which can be used to meet initial emergency requirements.

BOUCHER: And we are prepared to consider further contributions. So we'll be working with international organizations, with U.S.-funded nongovernmental organizations to determine their ability to ramp up assistance to Pakistan, in Pakistan, to Afghan refugees. So the U.N. has got emergency planners out there in Pakistan and we'll work closely with them in the field, as well as support their activities.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BOUCHER: I'd have to find the exact date. We have just given it.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BOUCHER: Just. I think in the past few days. I'll have to check if it's exactly today or not.

QUESTION: Do the encouraging developments in the Middle East today make it -- how do they affect your attempts to build this global coalition?

BOUCHER: I would go, first and foremost, to what the secretary said over the past few days, that we consider ending the violence and getting back on a path of implementation of the Mitchell report and back toward peace negotiations based on Resolutions 242 and 338, that that path is important in and of itself for the lives of Israelis, for the lives of Palestinians. And so we continue to work very hard on that.

We have obviously noted that many in the Arab world who we work with in the coalition are as concerned -- are very concerned, shouldn't say as concerned -- are very concerned about the situation in...

WOODRUFF: Richard Boucher, spokesman at the State Department, among other things reminding us that the United States providing some $140 in aide to Afghanistan this year; that of course, the country right now apparently harboring Osama bin Laden.

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