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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Secretary of State and NATO Secretary-General Hold Media Availability

Aired October 10, 2001 - 15:38   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 have Secretary of State Powell and Lord George Robertson, who is the Secretary General of NATO. They just finished their meeting, and they are coming out to the microphone. So we are going to listen too.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's been my pleasure today to once again host my colleague and dear friend Lord Robertson, secretary general of NATO. On this occasion I was able to thank him, as the president did earlier, on behalf of the American people for the strong support that we received from NATO in this time of crisis; within 28 hours after the events of September the 11th, NATO had acted.

And NATO has continued acting in the four weeks since, providing strong support not only in terms of statements coming out, but in terms of the invocation of Article 5 and providing us the kind of support that we will see manifested later this week when NATO AWACS aircraft will be coming to the United States to help us with surveillance; when NATO naval forces will be moving into the eastern Mediterranean to take up some of the slack; when individual countries in NATO work with us to assist us in dealing with the situation with respect to terrorism; but above all, with all of the NATO nations making commitments under the Article 5 invocation to give us overflight rights and other things that have proven so helpful to our efforts.

And so I think these actions show the viability of the alliance, shows that the alliance is growing, the alliance has a role to play. More and more nations want to become a part of this great alliance which has done such a brilliant job of preserving the peace and which is finding new missions for the future that will make it as vital as it has been in the past.

And so, George, once again welcome to the State Department, and thank you again for your support, sir.

LORD GEORGE ROBERTSON, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: Thank you very much.

It's been very good to meet Secretary Powell today and to talk over the agenda that I've been discussing with President Bush, with National Security Adviser Rice, with the vice president by video conference. These are critical issues at this time. It's a defining moment for humanity now in facing up to these new and unconventional challenges, and we must be prepared to think unconventionally if we're going to deal with them.

That's why the agenda of NATO is so focused at the present moment in this challenge; why NATO rose immediately to the events and invoke Article 5 for the first time in history, and why we have to follow that through in an operational and a practical way as well. So our bilateral relationships, as well as the collective strength of NATO, has been called into action and we will prevail.

POWELL: Thank you.

We have time for a question or two.

QUESTION: We know about NATO's support; what do you make of the Islamic Conference? Is that somewhat less than the kind of support you'd like?

POWELL: No, I was very pleased with the results of both the Arab League meeting and the Islamic Conference meeting. I thought it was a good statement. They deplored what happened on the 11th of September. And indicated this is not the kind of behavior they would find favorable. This certainly doesn't reflect the faith that they all believe in.

So not at all. When one considers the kind of statement that might have come out, I thought it was a pretty good, pretty fair statement.

QUESTION: Is there anything, Mr. Secretary, you can say about the next stages beyond Afghanistan and Al Qaeda? Whether or not you would go -- there's been some suggestions about Southeast Asia, for instance. Can you talk about the kinds of steps that would be used there.

And for Lord Robertson, would NATO require any more knowledge from the U.S. before it followed U.S. moves into other geographical areas?

POWELL: Well, as the president said, this is a campaign against Al Qaeda and the Al Qaeda network, which is located in many countries, and the head of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden.

But it is also a campaign against terrorism wherever it may exist in the world.

And as the president also said, the first phase is directed against Al Qaeda.

And we will see what we are able to flush out as a result of intelligence activity, as a result of our law enforcement and financial activities. But there are no plans that are about to come down the pike with respect to the kinds of actions that you are suggesting in your question.

We'll take these things one at a time. And the president said we are in this for a long time. We'll be persistent, we'll be patient, we'll be determined to not only get rid of the Al Qaeda network, but to deal with terrorism around the world, terrorism of a global reach that is a threat to all civilized, democracy-loving nations.

ROBERTSON: I think that answers the question on behalf of NATO as well. The fact is that this campaign against terrorism is multifaceted. It's political, it's diplomatic, it's economic, it's financial. And countries who have got these cells within them are required, in their own self-defense, to deal with that at the present moment.

There is a sense of solidarity internationally at the present moment, and that must lead to these cells of terrorism being challenged, because at the end of the day the survival of civilization may stand here as the biggest challenge for all of us.

POWELL: Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: Just quickly wrapping what we are hearing. Secretary of State Colin Powell and the NATO Secretary General, Lord George Robertson, reaffirm their support and the support of NATO, fully on board as the U.S. carries out this military campaign in Afghanistan against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda network.

I would just say quickly there at the end, it struck me that when Secretary Powell was asked about whether the next phase of the campaign includes -- as it has been reported some nations in southeast Asia. It's been reported perhaps the Philippines. I heard Secretary Powell say there are no plans like what you are suggesting that. If that is going to happen, it is not going to be in the very near future. That is it from here. Now back to Tavis Smiley in Atlanta.

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