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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Colin Powell and Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Aired October 3, 2001 - 13:59   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 want to go to the Capitol where the Secretary of State has been meeting with some senators.

This is Colin Powell.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ...the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for lunch today. We have had an excellent discussion on a variety of issues, but especially the issue of terrorism and the actions that the United States government has taken to respond to this challenge and to respond to the tragedy of September 11.

I shared with the members of the committee my satisfaction with the way in which the coalition has come together. And as President Bush has said, this will be a long campaign, we will be patient, we will be persistent and we will prevail.

And I also expressed my thanks to the chairman and the ranking member and the other members of the committee for the strong support that they have provided to the department since I became secretary, and the strong support they are providing to us and to all the other Cabinet departments of government as we work through this crisis.

So, Senator Biden, thank you for being here.

Senator Helms, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: Mr. Secretary, thank you for having us.

By way of brief explanation, the secretary and I had a discussion about whether or not -- what the appropriate foray was for us to have a first detailed discussion with the secretary about what was under way. And it was agreed -- suggested by the secretary that we do an informal lunch down here.

The secretary has agreed to come up and appear before the committee in public, but we thought this was an appropriate way to get as much detail as we could as rapidly as we could. And the secretary not only expressed his thanks for what we're doing, we expressed our thanks for -- quite frankly, absolutely unanimous, both parties, for the fine work that the secretary and his team and the president are doing.

Most of us believe that the president has time. The American people understand the importance of making sure this gets done right.

And so we indicated to the secretary that -- on a bipartisan basis that our support is real and the way in which he has begun in undertaking this effort, building the multinational coalition, is important.

We also raised one thing which we'll be speaking about later today that this is important that we not only demonstrate that we are able to take down Mr. bin Laden and Al Qaeda, but that this is not about Islam. This is not about Moslems. This is not a war on anyone other than Al Qaeda and those who support and sustain the undertakings of Al Qaeda and Mr. bin Laden.

And toward that end, we discussed and talked about in broad strokes the aid that's already going to help the Afghani people, the refugee camps in surrounding countries and within Afghanistan, and the need to put together a broader coalition, probably under the mandate of the United Nations, but with our strong support of follow-on after this undertaking to take out Mr. bin Laden and his associates happens, which I believe it will.

So there was general agreement on almost everything that was discussed. And we appreciate the candor of the secretary and his deputies in letting us know exactly what they're doing and what's under way.

And I know turn the microphone over to Senator Helms.

SEN. JESSE HELMS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: The chairman speaks for all of us.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

BIDEN: Thank you all very much. Thanks.

(END AUDIO TRANSFER)

WOODRUFF: Secretary of State Colin Powell meeting there for an informal lunch at the State Department with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Pretty unusual to have the members of the Senate go to the State Department, but that's what they have done.

Just very quickly, reiterating bipartisan support. You heard Joe Biden, the chairman of the committee, saying Democrats, Republicans, we are all with the administration. And importantly, he said, we believe the president has time.

And he reiterated we're not just going after, -- we're not going after Muslims, we are going after the al Qaeda network and Osama bin Laden.

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