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America's New War: Mayor Giuliani Holds News Conference with Italian Foreign Minister

Aired September 26, 2001 - 10:52   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.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Let's dip in on the mayor's new conference today.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

MYR. RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK CITY: ... the Italian foreign minister, who is here on behalf of Italian government, and with the ambassador, counselor general, and they were expressing their support for New York, support for the United States, and also, we were sharing with them, as we do with the approximately 80 other countries, the horrible devastation and loss that took place at the World Trade Center. There were Italian nationals who died at the World Trade Center. And among the dead and missing of our police department, our fire department, our EMS, and among the civilians, there were of course numerous Italian-Americans. So it really means a great deal that the Italian government reached out to us and also to -- stood as one with the president of the United States and with the United States of America. We really appreciate that -- foreign minister.

RENATO RUGGIERO, ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Mr. Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, I feel very proud to be with you to, be with Mayor Giuliani, and with the people of New York. This is not just a beautiful city. This is a city which will recover immediately from the horrible, the appalling terrorist attack. I want to express the full solidarity of the Italian people to the people of New York, the people of Washington, the American people and the administration.

And I can tell you that I came here not just to express solidarity, but also to announce that we in Italy, we are ready to participate to every action that will be considered a necessary to fight international terrorist by the North Atlantic Council, including military operation, as far as seen by article five of the NATO treaty.

So we are fully committed, with you, with the American people, and we want to share not only the sadness of the people who are lost their life. Many of them, as you have said, Mayor Giuliani, are Italian-Americans. Others are just Italians. This has been a crime against the humanity, not just a crime against the people of New York. But I'm sure that we will all recover, and we will win. I have brought just a small gesture of solidarity, but I believe it's a significant one. I just received a letter from the mayor of Bari, who announced that he has created a small more fund of $500,000 dollars in order to participate to do reconstruction of the church of Saint Nicholas. This is small gesture, but it's certainly a very significant one of how we feel, that we are together with you.

Thank you very much.

GIULIANI: As I told you before, that will mean a great deal to us. Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was a holdout when they built the World Trade Center. They didn't want to give up their property. They wanted to keep their church, because it had been there, if I recall correctly, from the early part of 20th century. I think about 1916 or something. I think I'm right. Certainly in the early part of 20th century, was one of the early Greek Orthodox churches in New York, and it was a small, but very beautiful church, and I remember it before the World Trade Center was being built, because I used to look at it when I was interviewing about an undercover office there. We used to interview witnesses that we were trying to get to cooperate with us. So I used to look at the window and see the church. I think used to pray that they would cooperate.

And then I watched the World Trade Center go up, and it was always a wonder to see the church, kind of like stuck within the World Trade Center. They had to make accommodations in the way they built it for St. Nicholas Church. So it's wonderful that the people of Barry and of Italy are going to provide funding, so that the Greek Orthodox community can rebuild that church.

And thank you very much. It means a great deal.

RUGGIERO: Thank you.

You see, I told Mayor Giuliani when I arrived that he's no more just very popular in New York. He's very popular in Italy, too. And if he wants to win election very easily, he has just to come to Rome and he will win an election immediately in Italy.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

RUGGIERO: That's a big risk for you.

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: Thank you. Thank you.

Questions first for the foreign minister, and then I'll do the regular briefing.

All right, thank you.

Please, do you have a question?

QUESTION: Can you express the message you brought to New York City? RUGGIERO: Well, I think that I have told already the message with my presence here in this city and with my meeting with the Mayor Giuliani. I wanted to bring the full solidarity of the Italian people, the Italian administration, to the New York people, the New York administration, and certainly the American administration. And then I say to that, this is not just a word of solidarity. We want to go beyond just words, and I am -- I have communicated to you that the Italian government is ready to participate to do every action that will be considered necessary in fighting international terrorism by the NATO alliance, even including, I mean, military action, as far as article 5 of the NATO treaty.

So I mean a full commitment behind the people of New York, and the behind the people of the United States.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(SPEAKING IN ITALIAN)

RUGGIERO: Well, it means that if it would be necessary to have a military operation, which would require Italian participation, we would be ready to cooperate as we are committed in the NATO alliance. In the NATO alliance, you know that an armed attack against one of the country, of the NATO country, is considered an armed attack to each one of the NATO countries. This is the spirit in which we are playing, we are making our commitment.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Will you consider yourself a hero? Do you consider yourself a hero?

GIULIANI: Do I consider myself a hero?

QUESTION: No. I don't consider myself a hero. I would consider -- I would feel very bad if I was described as a hero, because I think that there are lot of other people that have been a lot more heroic than me, people that were in the building, the people that helped people out of the building, the people that I know that were in there.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to get the city through it. And the reason that I look so good in doing that is because they're doing such a great job, so I'm just a reflection of them. I think that the emphasis should be on the heroism. Now the emphasis should be on the heroism of the rescue workers, the people who are down doing the very, very difficult job. And last night when I was here late, someone said to me, you know, the other heroes that don't get enough attention are all the people in the command center. Some of them have been here round-the-clock.

(INTERRUPTED BY BREAKING NEWS)

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