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America's New War: EU Conference to Discuss Meeting with Pakistanis

Aired September 25, 2001 - 06:02   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.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: But right now we begin in Pakistan, CNN's Tom Mintier standing by live in Islamabad with the latest.

Tom, any news on this news conference the EU delegation is going to be talking about their meeting?

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we expect to hear from the principals in just a few moments, Carol. The press conference room is starting to fill up. What we're going to hear is probably the first person who has had the chance to talk to President Musharraf face to face. Both the Belgium Foreign Minister and the Spanish Foreign Minister Javier Solana and Chris Patten have been going over a working lunch with the president. That followed meetings with the finance minister and with the foreign minister.

Now inside the room, as you can see, it is starting to fill up and we expect them to be getting underway in just a few moments.

One of the items on the agenda of this press conference, we will hear how improved access to European markets will be granted to Pakistan, how additional aid money will be flowing in. There have been basically a cut off of several negotiated programs that were in place or about to be put in place when the military coup took place here in Pakistan. About 50 million euros in development funds are spent each year and there will probably be more than that. In addition, at the press conference we expect an announcement about humanitarian aid to be provided to Pakistan as they deal with the influx of Afghan refugees coming in. So there was a lot on the table.

There's a lot left in this European delegation traveling around to the five different nations in five days. Also going to Iran, which is a pretty spectacular trip. They'll also be going to Egypt and Syria as well.

So we are expecting to hear from them how these meetings went, but every indication we have so far is that the reception was very bright for what the European Union had on offer here, Carol.

LIN: Tom, is it really then just a technicality that Pakistan still has or still recognizes the Taliban government formally?

MINTIER: Well, I think that by having the Taliban Embassy open and operating here in Islamabad could be something seen as very positive for anyone who feels that diplomacy needs to have an in and an out. And I asked Chris Patten about that earlier, and he said, you know the isolation is basically complete. There's no doubt where Pakistan stands. By having the Taliban Embassy here it allows messages to be traded so it becomes increasingly important as the isolation is occurring.

First the UAE over the weekend cancelled diplomatic relations and gave the Taliban 24 hours to leave their embassy and leave the country. And now we have Saudi Arabia basically cutting off the recognition that they had of the Taliban. So the only outlet really is here in Pakistan, but the Pakistanis have made it quite clear to the Taliban and the rest of the world where they stand.

LIN: All right. Well, we are waiting to hear from the Pakistani Foreign Minister at this news conference as well as members of the EU delegation so we'll come back to you as soon as that happens. Thanks so much.

Tom Mintier reporting live from Islamabad.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we'll be going back there live in just a moment in case -- we just want to warn you folks in case we have to interrupt this next report because this one we have for you now is from Afghanistan where the ruling Taliban is forcing threats -- is facing threats, rather, on several fronts right now and our Chris Burns has this report from northern Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're standing in a makeshift tank repair shop for the Northern Alliance. This a T-62 (ph) tank, Soviet made, one of those that came from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. It was taken by the Taliban, they were fighting with it and now the Northern Alliance says they seized it from the Taliban are remodeling, re-fixing it up and will be using it against the Taliban in the coming weeks.

Behind me over here is an armored personnel carrier, also Soviet made. That APC broke down as the Northern Alliance were attacking the Taliban. They're replacing the engine that broke down. Behind the APC is some of that rugged terrain that is typical of Afghanistan, very craggy, very barren, very arid. That is what the Soviets had to deal with. That's -- that is what this conflict is dealing with. This is what perhaps American forces could deal with in the future if they do come into Afghanistan.

Here is some of the wreckage, the detritus of this Soviet invasion. That is what is being cannibalized and used by the Northern Alliance to fix up these tanks, to continue waging their attacks against the Taliban. They have been making some progress. About 30 kilometers south of here is the front and about 50 kilometers past that is the prize, it's Kabul. That is what the Northern Alliance would like to take, but they say that with this kind of hardware they're going to need American help, American air power to do that.

Chris Burns, reporting from northern Afghanistan. (END VIDEOTAPE)

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