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America's New War: Secretary of State Colin Powell Wrapping Up Remarks Before Member Nations of OAS

Aired September 21, 2001 - 11:01   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Now, Secretary of State Colin Powell.

COLIN POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: ... this morning delivered to me, one on one, personally (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for the many supportive words and complimentary words I have heard so far this morning concerning President Bush's important speech last night where he laid out a campaign for the world, a campaign for the world to pursue against terrorism. And I thank you all for that support. I thank you also for the declaration of solidarity that I have just had a chance to read.

This is very reassuring to me, it's reassuring to President Bush, and it is reassuring to all Americans to have this kind of support from our friends in the hemisphere.

On September 11, a grievous blow was visited upon our hemisphere and upon humanity. Yet, it is not tragedy but unity which brings us this day to the Organization of American States. Unity of values. Unity of interest. Unity of purpose.

Twenty-nine out of the 34 nations represented here today have citizens who were lost in the World Trade Center bombing last week. Families mourn from one end of this hemisphere to the other.

On behalf of President Bush and the American people, I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to you, our neighbors, for your outpouring of condolence and support, even as we extend to your our deepest sympathy for all those whom you, yourselves, have lost.

Much has been made that it was an attack against an American interest, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but in fact it was an against civilization. Some 80 nations lost citizens in the World Trade Center.

They struck home -- my home, your home, my nation's capital, and democracy's oldest home in our hemisphere, and New York City, the trading house of the world. Truly this attack against one of us was an attack against all of us.

This is not the first time that nations of our hemisphere have suffered at terrorists' hands.

The United States has stood with you and now you stand with us, in resolve, as well as in grief. Free peoples committed to the collective defense of our security and of the democratic ideals that we hold so dear.

Just 10 days ago, and another world ago, we were all assembled in Lima for a special session of the OAS. It was to be a happy and historic occasion for our hemisphere. We were adopting our democratic charter in an unprecedented demonstration of shared political will.

A few months earlier in Quebec, at the Summit of the Americas, our leaders had set the goal of establishing a free trade area embracing all of our democracies. Never had our hemisphere been closer in values and in common vision at that time of the future that lay before us, as we looked forward from Quebec and as we looked forward from Lima.

And then came the terrible news, and with sudden clarity we all understood that the house of democracy and prosperity that we have all worked so hard to build for our hemisphere was under attack and must be defended. We realize that the great strength that comes from solidarity, the kind of solidarity that we have achieved in the past, will be absolutely critical as we move forward through this crisis. Critical to our democracies, critical to our prosperity, critical to our very security.

We have now invoked the Rio Treaty in recognition of the common peril we confront and in defense of the great promise for our hemisphere that we must protect. And I want to especially convey my country's gratitude to Brazil for its leadership in initiating the resolution to invoke the treaty.

In taking action under the Rio Treaty, our hemispheric community is not alone. We act in concert with the rest of the civilized world. The United Nations has risen in condemnation of the attacks. The Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Organization of African Unity have denounced them. The collective defense provisions of the NATO and ANSA alliances have been invoked. The European Council meets in an extraordinary session today, and is expected to approve major counterterrorism initiatives.

President Bush and I have met with and talked to our counterparts all around the globe. And the overwhelming message we are hearing is this: "We are with you. Terrorism is our common foe. We must act together against this international scourge and against all who aid and abet it. We the united democracies of the Western Hemisphere join the global campaign against terrorists. We have pledged to deny terrorists and their networks their ability to operate within our territories. We have resolved to hold to account all of those who are responsible for aiding, financing and otherwise supporting and harboring terrorists."

The pathbreaking resolutions already passed by the OAS (inaudible) council and those being considered today call onto members to use all necessary and available means to pursue, capture and punish those responsible for the recent acts and to prevent further acts from occurring. Now the long, hard work must be done. Now our governments, our law enforcement authorities and our civic institutions must find ways to work together at all levels...


POWELL: ... we must take concrete steps to tighten border controls, enhance air and seaport security, improve financial controls and increase the effectiveness of our counterterrorism forces.

Now we must charge all relevant bodies at the national and hemispheric level, our law enforcement agencies, our financial organizations, those concerned with transportation, tourism, aviation, disaster assistance, migration and so many other functions, all of them to integrate counterterrorism measures...


ZAHN: All right, now we're really having problems now there. We will continue to work on them. The most important thing he has said so far is that -- quote -- "terrorism is our common foe, and he said solidarity with friendly nations will be critical to our security and our prosperity."

Let's turn attention to Pakistan. The president there is facing a major test. His decision to stand with the U.S. has led to anti- American protests. Our Christiane is in Islamabad with the latest. It is a very dark night there.

Hi, Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, as the United States continues to sound the us against them theme, to that end, they are going to do all they can, we're told, to bolster the Pakistani president in his decision to stand with the United States. Western diplomats here tell us that the United States is about to lift sanctions against India and Pakistan that were imposed in connection with the two countries' nuclear programs, and they are also going to look for some effort to relieve Pakistan of foreign debt burden. In addition, they are going to offer to give a detailed briefing on the U.S. case so far to the Pakistani president, in terms of evidence and the case they've built against prime minister suspect.

Now Pakistan has been monitoring very carefully today public opinion and the way public reaction is unfolding. Because today, many strikes and demonstrations were called across this country. There was one strike and demonstration in Karachi, the big southern port south of here where, events turned rather ugly and nasty. According to the Interior Ministry of Police Sources, there are two confirmed dead at the Karachi demonstration. There were confrontations between the police, which have been sent out to control the demonstrations, and also the protesters who were burning barricades and confronting the police as well.

Now in other parts of Pakistan, there were also demonstrations, but these were, to the greater extent, peaceful. They were burning flags and burning effigies, but the nationwide uprising and basically mass protest that the opponents have threatened did not materialize. And..


AMANPOUR: ... canvassed opinion, and have got support from tribunal leaders and religious leader who pledged cooperation in trying to keep any protest from spinning out of control -- Paula.

ZAHN: Christiane, thanks for the update. We are going Try to bring you the rest of Secretary of State Colin Powell's remarks with much more clarity, I hope on our part.

POWELL: ... were applauding in that instance for the United States and for me.

But in reality, we were applauding for all of us. We're applauding for humankind. We were applauding for the rule of democracy, the rule of law. We were applauding the simple proposition that if we are a civilized people, we must work together, in concert, to defeat evil, to defeat terrorism, and that's what we are going to be doing in the world and especially here in our hemisphere.

And so I thank each and every one of you for the expressions of support that you have extended to us. I thank you for your collective efforts on our behalf and on behalf of the hemisphere. And I regret that I cannot stay for the whole meeting due to pressing matters, but I did want you to know of the deep appreciation that we have for what we have done here together as an important organization, the Organization of American States. And so, I thank you, once again, and may God bless all the Americas.

Thank you.


ZAHN: Secretary of State Colin Powell wrapping up his remarks before member nations of the OAS, declaring terrorism is our common foe, and that we must work in concert to defeat terrorism. Again, we apologize for some of that distorted audio signal earlier on.



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