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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Tony Blair, Pervez Musharraf Hold Press Conference

Aired November 8, 2001 - 13:07   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.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: General Musharraf, the Pakistani leader, and Tony Blair, the British leader, talking to reporters. Kelly, I apologize.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: ... to say how much we admire the stand that Pakistan has taken and to say, I think in particular, that we understand the difficulties that is posed for you and that you can be assured of our complete and total support in the development of Pakistan in the future.

And as you know, there have been various initiatives taken, both at a bilateral level between Britain and Pakistan but also at a European level and at an international level as well.

We also know that the humanitarian problems have caused you difficulties as well. And as I said when we met before in Pakistan, I will repeat to you again, Mr. President, that we will do everything we can to help in those as well.

And the purpose of the campaign in Afghanistan, as we know, is to close down that terrorist network there, to make sure that the extremists can no longer use Afghanistan as a training ground for exporting extremism around the world. And we are acutely aware of the fact that any successor regime to the regime headed Mullah Omar at the moment has to be a broadbased regime.

It has to include the Pashtun element. It has to be one representative, in other words, of all the different groupings. It has to take account of the need for stability in the region. And it has to be able in concert with the international community of providing for the reconstruction of Afghanistan for the future.

And the anguish I'm sure we share and the vision which I'm sure we would both endorse is of an Afghanistan that is a stable partner in the region, that has a government representative of all the different people and groupings within Afghanistan and of an Afghanistan that is a country dependent on the resources, intelligence and creativity of its people for its prosperity rather than the drugs trade or the various factional in-fighting that has characterized the government of Afghanistan over these past years.

And in all those endeavors, we need Pakistan as a strong partner. We appreciate well that this cannot be achieved without it. So thank you very much for your support and your help. And once again, let me repeat our very warm welcome to you here.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN: Thank you very much.

Let me say, it is a great pleasure for me to have received the prime minister in Pakistan some days back, and then for me to come here now and to have interacted with the prime minister. It was a special pleasure and satisfaction to see that we have brought a unanimity of views as far as the issue of terrorism, addressing terrorism and addressing the situation in Afghanistan is concerned.

We discussed the situation in its entirety. We discussed that there is a requirement of addressing the triple issue of the military aspect and then the political aspects in a futuristic way, the political dispensation that is required in Afghanistan, and also the United Nations, UNHCR, humanitarian and rehabilitation effort required in Afghanistan.

It gives me a lot of satisfaction also to see that there is a total concern -- there is a concern and understanding of the realities and the difficulties that Pakistan faces. I am extremely grateful to the prime minister for showing concern toward Pakistan and Pakistan's problems. I am sure that, with the cooperation that we have, we are showing with each other, being part of the coalition fighting against terrorism, I am sure we will keep moving forward.

I take this opportunity also of stating that Pakistan has taken a very deliberate, considered decision to be a part of the coalition, and let me say with total conviction that we will remain a part of the coalition until the attainment of the strategic objectives that we have set for ourselves.

And within this, I have been saying that we are for a short and targeted military campaign. One does understand that the duration of the campaign is very much relative to the attainment of strategic objectives. Therefore, but, however, one hopes that the strategic objectives are achieved as fast as possible.

I would also like to touch on one issue, and that is the domestic issue. Pakistan is a moderate Islamic country. The opposition to the decision that we have taken in Pakistan is by a very small minority.

And may I also add that the Pakistani community in Britain also is a moderate Islamic community. I am very sure that they understand Pakistan's interest and Pakistan's -- the rationale behind Pakistan's participation in the coalition in its fight against terrorism and in the action in Afghanistan.

I'm very sure that the community will understand the realities on the ground, and they will. They are supportive of the world unity and also the U.N. Security Council decision, OIC decisions, in support of fighting terrorism.

Thank you very much. QUESTION: Sir, a question for you. AOL digital is the first global Pakistani channel, and the question is to you, Prime Minister. As much as the president of Pakistan says that the action is going to be short, swift and targeted, but it is an extended one, and the economic difficulties which Pakistan is facing right now, were they discussed in your meeting?

QUESTION: And of course, keeping in view the president's position, the continued bombing of the coalition during the month of Ramadan, the chances are that the backlash will fall on the president from the extremist Islamic elements and of course, possibly, the Islamic bloc.

BLAIR: Well, first of all, of course, the economic difficulties of Pakistan were discussed. Although, I think there's a very great sense in the international community -- quite apart, incidentally, from the support that Pakistan has given to the coalition against international terrorism -- there's a great sense that Pakistan is making moves forward on the economic front. The completion of the IMF program was immensely important. And it's for that reason that I think the international community can respond quite apart from the interest of the coalition, can respond positively to Pakistan.

And in respect to the campaign itself, I would entirely agree with what the president just said. I mean, we want this campaign brought to a conclusion as swiftly as possible, but it has to be to a successful conclusion, in other words, with the attainment of our objectives.

And of course, we have to aware of the sensitivities of Ramadan and are aware of the sensitivities of Ramadan. And though, of course, the Taliban will continue to fight during that time, and we must therefore take account as we pursue our campaign of their sensitivities. But in the end, I think everyone understands that the campaign has to continue ultimately until the objectives are secured.

But it is our desire to work as closely as possible with everyone, including strategic partners like Pakistan, to make sure that that campaign is successful and as swift as possible.

BROWN: British Prime Minister Tony Blair with the Pakistani President Musharraf. President Musharraf, words of support; essentially saying Pakistan's in this for the long haul.

We're going to leave that now. We're going to go to Washington and the National Press Club. The first lady is there.

(INTERRUPTED BY CNN COVERAGE OF A LIVE EVENT)

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