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Daschle Addresses Press in Pakistan

Aired January 15, 2002 - 05:12   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.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: OK, now to our breaking news. Some U.S. Senators are visiting Pakistan this morning. Among them, Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The Senator from South Dakota is talking to reporters at the American Center in Islamabad right now and we want to listen in for just a moment.

Let's listen to Mr. Daschle.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Daschle will have a few remarks to open with and then the delegation has agreed to take some questions.

Senator Daschle?

SEN. THOMAS DASCHLE (D-SD), Senate MINORITY LEADER: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.

I thank you for your willingness to allow us the opportunity to have a press briefing. We're in Islamabad for a very brief period of time. We'll be traveling through Central Asia, as we have for the last several days, for several more days prior to the time of our return this weekend.

Our purpose in coming to Central Asia and to the region is really threefold. First, to meet with our troops, to meet with military leaders, to express our strong support, admiration for the work that they have done so successfully.

Secondly, to do the same with our friends in the region, especially Pakistan.

And third, to assess the current circumstances as it relates to policy questions that we will most certainly be facing in the coming months.

From that perspective, it has been a very successful trip so far. We have just met with President Musharraf and expressed in the most heartfelt way our gratitude to him for the extraordinary support and partnership that he has provided the United States over the course of the last several months. We also complimented him, congratulated him on his speech last Sunday.

I felt it was one of the most powerful, one of the most meaningful and perhaps one of the most consequential speeches we've heard from leaders in this region in a long, long time. We were gratified that he has expressed without equivocation his determination to eliminate terrorist activity inside and outside of the country. We think that distinction is an extremely important one and we commended him for that.

We are very grateful for the reforms that he has announced and for his determination to rid the region of terrorism in all shapes and fashions over a period of time.

We expressed to the president as we met with him this afternoon a strong desire on the part of the United States to reciprocate as long lasting partners, as partners who are not going to be fair weather friends, but certainly as a country indebted and very grateful to the people of Pakistan for their extraordinary support. And we know that our gratitude and indebtedness needs to be in evidence beyond words.

So we hope that throughout this meeting and in the course of the next several days we can express again to those who have been so helpful, as we will in other countries, our gratitude and our expectations for a long lasting presence and partnership in the region.

Now, let me turn the podium over to Senator Smith.

SEN. BOB SMITH (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Thank you, Senator Daschle. I think I speak on behalf of all...

COSTELLO: All right, we just heard some remarks from Senator Tom Daschle, the majority leader, who is in Islamabad. He's headed to Kabul tomorrow. He basically said his delegation was there to meet with the troops and to express support for them and he also to assess policy questions that will face Congress in the months to come, and there will be many of those.

He also congratulated the Pakistani president on his remarks on Sunday to eliminate terrorist activity inside and outside of Pakistan.

We'll go back when warranted as time goes on in our DAYBREAK show. You stick around.

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