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Target: Terrorism: Secretary of State Colin Powell Outside the State Department with Emir of Qatar

Aired October 3, 2001 - 11:39   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.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Secretary of State Colin Powell outside of the State Department.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... they have provided to the United States during this time of difficulty since the 11th of September.

I especially thanked His Highness for the immediate response that he provided when we asked for assistance for the movement of American forces. Qatar is a good friend of America, and they have always been there when we needed assistance and this time was no exception.

I also took this opportunity to thank His Highness for the generosity he showed in New York earlier this week by providing donations to the burn unit at Cornell University as well as other donations for the families of rescue workers and others who lost their lives in the tragedy. The Emir certainly understands that this was a tragedy not just against the United States but against civilization, and we are united in the struggle against terrorism.

And so, Your Highness, it's a great pleasure to welcome you here in the State Department and to the United States again, and to thank you for the support that you have been providing to us.

Your Highness?

SHEIKH HAMAD BIN KHALIFA AL THANI, EMIR OF QATAR. (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I am pleased to be here in Washington, D.C., and to see the secretary. I came here to convey the condolences on behalf of the Qatar government and the Qatar people to the American people and the American government. There is no doubt that the unique relationship between Qatar and the United States dictates that we have to stand by the United States, especially in the efforts to combat terror.

There is also no doubt that we have a unique military relationship with the United States, that relationship is normal and joint exercises are going as scheduled.

THANI (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): And if there is any question, I'll be happy to answer.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, however hard you all try, the reports keep persisting that the Saudis are not doing or promising to do all the things the U.S. would like them to. I know it's a redundant question, but do you care to address it this morning?

POWELL: Yes, I know the reports keep persisting, but the requests that we have put to the Saudis have been responded to. Now, as you know, Secretary Rumsfeld is on his way over there to thank them for the support they have provided. And I'm sure they will have a full discussion of what else might be required or needed. But we are very satisfied with the support that the Saudi Arabian government has provided to us.

QUESTION: Sir, you've been asking for the support of the Arab countries, and you've been getting this support. However, there have been reports like the Egyptian foreign minister and also from King Abdullah of Jordan that America gave assurances that no Arab country will be attacked during the campaign. This has been denied. Can you put the record straight once and for all and assure your honored guests that no Arab country will be attacked during this campaign?

POWELL: Our campaign objective is to go after the Al Qaeda organization and its leader, Osama bin Laden. The headquarters of this organization and Osama bin Laden are located in Afghanistan. He has elements of his network around the world. We are using all the tools available to us -- financial tools, law enforcement, intelligence, and the prospect of military operations as well -- to go after this network. We are focusing on Al Qaeda and focusing in Afghanistan. And that is the first phase of this operation.

And I obviously cannot comment on what might happen in the future, but I think the concerns raised by your question should not be concerns. We are not seeing this as anti-Arab, anti-Islam, it's antiterrorism. And we're going after the Al Qaeda organization where it is located by all the means at our disposal. We are not looking for conflict with other nations.

But as the president has indicated, we have to make sure that this campaign focuses on Al Qaeda, but also takes note of those nations that provide haven, provide succor, provide support to terrorist organizations. But this is not the beginning of some conflict with other Arab nations; we are keeping our attention focused on a principle objective, which in this first instance is Al Qaeda.

QUESTION: This is a question for His Highness. Have you relayed concerns -- I guess, relayed last week by the United States government to the Al-Jazeera network over the balancing of their coverage of the new war on terrorism?

THANI (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): It is true that we heard from this administration as well as previous American administrations in the past about this issue. Whenever we hear from these friends, we consider this as friendly advice, and we listen to the friends and their advice.

What they should hear is the program that has been put together in Qatar. is embarking on a parliamentary life, that within two years, it will have a parliamentary life with a democracy which dictates that freedom of the press should be granted, and that press should enjoy credibility. Now, we go back to the issue of Al-Jazeera. There are so many heads of other states raise that issue, and there were some setbacks. The issue here is, how can we work together in order to combat terror and how all the other countries in the region and elsewhere should work together in order to combat terror? This is the issue.

Thank you.

POWELL: Thank you.

KING: Secretary of State Colin Powell outside the State Department here with the Emir of the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar.

For those who might not understand that final question about the Qatar Al-Jazeera broadcast network, you may recall a few days back, pictures of anti-American protests at the former United States embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Al-Jazeera network still functions inside Afghanistan, with the blessing of the Taliban government. U.S. officials at times raising concerns about the coverage and the pictures transmitted outside of Afghanistan.

The Emir of Qatar there promising full support to the United States. Secretary Powell also noting a very important trip now underway to the region by the Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. His first stop, Saudi Arabia.

Just landing on the ground there and standing by for us now, CNN's military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre who joins us by the phone -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, John. We have just arrived here in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says he is not here to negotiate with the Saudi government, but to have discussions with them. I happen to be standing next to him here as we are about ready to get off the plane.

Mr. Secretary, you keep hearing these persistent reports that Saudi Arabia is not giving the U.S. the support it needs. Your quick comment as we deplane here.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, indeed, we have a very long and excellent relationship with Saudi Arabia, and there is no question, but that we are appreciative of the support they have given us, and I look forward to my visits with the leadership here today.

MCINTYRE: So Secretary Rumsfeld will also be going to three other countries, Egypt, Oman and Uzbekistan. He said earlier on the plane that the question of basing U.S. troops in Uzbekistan remains an open question. But again, the point that he was stressing is that he is not coming to negotiate any deals with these countries, but to, again, to make the case as to why the United States needs a solid support around the world in any way the countries can help, and in particular, with intelligence, which is something that the United States needs if it's going to be able to act decisively against Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network -- John.

KING: Jamie, if can you still hear me, en route, you filed a report back to us here in Washington that the secretary said on the plane that the United States had a much better understanding of exactly where Osama bin Laden was, not the exact coordinates, I believe the secretary said, but better information. Is that evidence the United States is benefiting from the increased intelligence cooperation of Pakistan, the Russians and others in the region?

MCINTYRE: Well, I think he was basically speaking on based on what U.S. intelligence has, and his direct quote was that he had a handle on where bin Laden was, but not the coordinates. In other words, they think they have an idea, the general idea, of where he is. But one of the things they'd really like to press some of the countries in the region here for is that intelligence. Rumsfeld says that he is convinced that some small scrap of information will be what eventually does bin Laden in, not necessarily a big campaign of cruise missiles or bombers.

KING: Jamie McIntyre, at the first stop for a very important mission for the U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

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