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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Hamid Karzai Speaks Before National Press Club

Aired January 29, 2002 - 13:27   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.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: The interim leader of Afghanistan speaking before the National Press Club.

Let's go ahead and listen in to Hamid Karzai.

HAMID KARZAI, INTERIM AFGHAN LEADER: I will not speak more. I will give time to ask questions, if you have any. If there's something you have not spoken, it is with the purpose so that you can ask me.

Thanks very much.

(APPLAUSE)

KARZAI: You have written questions?

QUESTION: we do, which I will pose, in some kind of grouping, Mr. Chairman.

As you can see, we have far more than you could answer by even 4:00, but we will do our best. Mr. Chairman, are you concerned with recent supports of Iran supplying weapons to Afghan rebels, and how are you planning to re-establish relations with your neighboring states?

QUESTION: Right. Well, it actually turned toubt easier in washington. In Tokyo, there was straight questions. So my farewell is unfounded.

There are reports, yes, of people being supported from our neighboring countries. But we have a dialogue going on with Iran on a regular basis. Their ambassador is in Kabul. He talks to our foreign ministry. He also came to see me once or twice. I had a telephone conversation with President Khatami that was very nice; I found him a very pleasant man to talk to. He has invited me to visit Iran several times, and I promised that I will do that, and I will do that very shortly.

Both our very close neighbors, Iran and Pakistan, have had the best of our assurances. The president of Pakistan was the first of all the presidents of countries to call me while I was way up in the mountains, before I came to Kandahar or Kabul, to extend support and cooperation and to greet me. It's in the interest of all to have smooth, friendly relations, and we have given our neighbors the best of our assurances in this regard. It is absolutely in our national interest to be friendly with them, to have free trade and free movement of people and goods.

This said, we also are very determined to protect our borders, our territorial integrity. The evil that found base in Afghanistan in the form of terrorism and radicalism and all that was because our borders were violated. We will not allow that again to happen. There's no way. And we will be very, very vocal about it if we see any sign of that.

For now, we have no cause to worry. We have friendly terms. They have all pledged to help us. Pakistan has offered $100 million in help and $10 million cash, I believe, for improvement of the administration. Iran offered help in the amount of $100 million or more a year for five years. They began to help us in other ways. We appreciate that. We are good neighborly countries. And that's it for now. We will see what happens in the future. And we will be clear about it.

KAGAN: We were listening in a little bit to Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai this afternoon. He is at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., making a speech and answering questions. Thought it would be interesting to listen in there for a little bit. He has a big day ahead of him. He will be a guest tonight at the State of the Union Adress as president Bush adresses the entire country. And then on for Mr. Karzai, he goes on to New York City tomorrow.

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