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Transcript: Powell, Musharraf Press Conference

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman Islamabad, Pakistan
Remarks by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and President Pervez
Musharraf in Islamabad
October 16, 2001

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: (In Arabic: In the name of God most merciful and
compassionate). Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to this press
conference. Let me say that we have had very useful discussions. The
visit of the United States Secretary of State comes at a time of great
challenge for Pakistan. His presence here symbolizes the new,
rejuvenated relationship between Pakistan and the United States. We
discussed a whole range of bilateral issues. The two sides agreed to
work together in order to develop and strengthen cooperation in all
possible areas.

The terrorist outrage in New York and Washington on 11th September was
rightly condemned by the whole world community. The government and
people of Pakistan spontaneously expressed shock and grief over the
death of innocent people, offered condolences to the bereaved families
all over the world, and affirmed solidarity with the American people.
We joined the world community in offering cooperation to bring
perpetrators, organizers, and the sponsors of the terrorist attacks to
justice.

Compliance with the relevant United Nations Security Council
resolutions by the Taliban government would have saved Afghanistan
from the damage it is suffering since 7th of October. We grieve for
the innocent victims in Afghanistan. We regret that the Government of
Afghanistan jeopardized the interests of millions of its own people.

Our decision to support the international campaign against terrorism
in all its manifestations is based on principles. The extraordinary
session of the OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference] Foreign
Ministers held on the 10th of October has endorsed this position taken
by Pakistan. It has also denounced the minority and fringe voices that
tried to cause harm to Islam and the Muslims.

I emphasized to the Secretary that the root causes of most acts of
terrorism lie in political oppression and denial of justice. In order
to achieve durable peace or durable results, the current war on
terrorism must address and eliminate its root causes. The situation in
Afghanistan presents a challenge as well as an opportunity. We should
focus not only on combating terrorism, but also on helping the Afghans
establish a durable political system and the rehabilitation and
reconstruction of their country. We agreed that durable peace in
Afghanistan would only be possible through the establishment of a
broad-based multi-ethnic government representing the demographic
contours of Afghanistan freely chosen by the Afghans without outside
interference. Former King Zahir Shah, political leaders, moderate
Taliban leaders, elements from the Northern Alliance, tribal elders,
Afghans living outside their country, all can play a role in this
regard.

The political process needs to be placed on a fast track in order to
forestall the possibility of a political vacuum. It should not lag
behind the fast-moving events in the military field nor should any
attempt be made by any warring faction to impose itself on Afghanistan
in the wake of the military strikes against the Taliban. The success
of any political process will also depend on the economic conditions.
Afghanistan has been destroyed by over two decades of conflict. The
socioeconomic infrastructure has been devastated. Agriculture is in
ruins. Pastures have been destroyed. Millions of mines litter the
landscape. A massive reconstruction effort is required to revive the
economy.

Assistance would also be required for the repatriation of the millions
of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran and for the millions of
Afghans displaced internally due to fighting, drought, and economic
difficulties. A durable political settlement, economic reconstruction,
and return of Afghans to their country would also eliminate the
terrorists who have found safe havens in a war-torn Afghanistan. This
is why I believe that the military campaign in Afghanistan should be
short and targeted and it should be followed immediately by
application of viable political and economic strategies.

I briefed Secretary Powell about Pakistan's desire to develop
tension-free relations with India. I emphasized that normalization of
relations would require that the Kashmir dispute is resolved in
accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Kashmir remains at
the heart of Pakistan-India tension. We agreed on the need for the two
sides to address this and other bilateral issues with sincerity and
with a sense of purpose.

Secretary Powell informed me about US willingness to play a helpful
role in the resolution of Pakistan-India differences. We agreed that
peace and stability in South Asia is not only in the interest of
Pakistan and India but also of the entire region and the world at
large.

In the end, I would like to say that we have ushered in an era of
closer bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States.
Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Good afternoon
ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be here in Pakistan and I've
had very excellent discussions with the President and his cabinet and
other colleagues in the course of the morning and our discussions will
continue into the afternoon. President Bush asked me to come to
Pakistan to demonstrate our enduring commitment to our relationship
with Pakistan. We are focusing today on the terrorist threat emanating
from Afghanistan, the Al-Qa'ida organization and Osama bin Laden. But
we didn't stop there. We are also looking forward to strengthening our
cooperation on a full range of bilateral and regional issues. And I
made the point to the President that this isn't just a temporary spike
in our relationship, but we believe, as a result of the actions taken
by Pakistan over the last five weeks, we're truly at the beginning of
a strengthened relationship, a relationship that will grow and thrive
in the months and years ahead.

We have had good talks today on how to build on our current, excellent
cooperation against international terrorism. The United States views
that what we are building here is, as I just said, is a solid
foundation for a long-term and improved relationship. I expressed our
thanks to President Musharraf for his bold and courageous actions as
part of the global coalition against international terrorism. I also
expressed our condolences for the many Pakistanis who were lost in the
attacks on September 11. It reminds us once again that this attack in
New York and the attacks in Washington and what happened in
Pennsylvania, but especially in New York, was an attack against the
civilized world. Some 80 nations lost citizens in that attack and we
must always keep that uppermost in mind. I expressed our thanks to
President Musharraf for coming forward so quickly and recognizing that
the attacks of September 11 may have taken place on American soil, but
they were in fact attacks on Pakistan as well as all members of the
civilized world.

As we met today in Pakistan -- a great Muslim nation -- I reiterated
that we have no quarrel with the Islamic faith or the Afghan people.
Our campaign is against those who pervert a great religion in the
service of evil. We also discussed how to ease the plight of the
Afghan refugees who are fleeing Taliban misrule. Pakistan has played a
leading role in receiving and caring for Afghan refugees for many,
many years and the United States has been the largest foreign donor of
humanitarian aid. Even today as part of our military campaign, U.S.
planes have been dropping badly needed food supplies to the Afghan
people.

We also discussed, as the President noted, our mutual interest in a
stable Afghanistan. I shared with him and he shared with me our
thoughts on how to begin the process of rebuilding Afghanistan even as
the military element of our strategy continues and how to help the
people of that country establish a stable broad-based government, one
that does not harbor terrorists and one that welcomes refugees instead
of producing them. I also reassured Pakistan of America's support and
the support of the international community as Pakistan joins the
international community in this campaign.

For example, President Bush has lifted a number of sanctions to allow
us to resume cooperation with Pakistan. We have also helped reschedule
379 million dollars in Pakistan's bilateral debt and voted for new IMF
loans. We had a very straightforward discussion on the debt problem
that is facing Pakistan and I have told the President that I would
take his strong message of what needs to be done back to my colleagues
in Washington and do everything we can to address the debt issue with
rescheduling, with respect to other activities that we can take that
will help Pakistan in this time of need.

Finally, we discussed ways to promote stability in South Asia, which
we all know is a critically important part of the world. I praised
President Musharraf's recent phone call to Prime Minister Vajpayee and
we, too, believe that the Kashmir issue is central to the relationship
and can be resolved if all parties engaged with a willingness to
address their concerns in mutually acceptable ways. Issues must be
resolved through peaceful, political and diplomatic means, not through
violence and reliance on force, but with a determined respect for
human rights. The campaign against Al-Qa'ida and Osama bin Laden and
those who harbor them is our top priority. This is what brought me
here today. But I am also confident that over time we will be able to
expand our cooperation to accomplish the full range of bilateral and
multilateral issues that are of importance to both of our nations.

President Musharraf's commitment to return Pakistan to democracy will
enhance his effort to deepen social reform, improve education, and
improve the lives of his people. We share those important and lofty
goals and in the coming months the United States will take concrete
steps to strengthen Pakistan's economy and further broaden our
commercial and trade ties. Together we can accomplish great things and
the American people look forward to the challenge of working with the
people of Pakistan in those goal achievements. And I'll be happy along
with the President to take a few questions.

QUESTION: I am Saleh Zaafir, I am editor for Special Reporting,
"Jang." While condemning terrorism of September 11 and expressing
heartfelt sympathies with your great country, I wish to know your
views about the struggle of the oppressed people granted by the United
Nations Security Council against oppressive regimes which is fairly
and sternly still engaged in state terrorism. How would you
differentiate such legitimate movements with terrorism? My clear
reference is toward dispute of Kashmir and will you impress upon India
to refrain from state terrorism towards the Kashmiri people? Thank
you.

SECRETARY POWELL: In my conversations both here and my conversations
in India, I will press upon both sides as I have here already today
and it isn't a matter of pressing, we have a mutual view on this, that
dialogue between the two sides is important, that terrorism has no
place in the civilized world and I have expressed my thanks to the
President for his condemnation of terrorism with the kind that we saw
in Srinagar on the 1st of October. Mutual respect for each other, a
desire to accommodate the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and
respect for avoiding confrontation and understanding that provocation
is to be avoided. But above all, the beginning of a dialogue between
the two sides is the most important thing that is needed now. And that
is the message I will also be taking to India.

QUESTION: Could you please clarify the situation of . . . there have
been a couple of different stories. One is the Taliban's Foreign
Minister has defected, the second one is that there is an offer on the
table presented by the President last night to you that the Taliban
are prepared to hand over Osama bin Laden in exchange of two or three
days of halting of the bombardment. Can you tell us if there is any
other offer on the table that could resolve this?

SECRETARY POWELL: The President did not say that to me last night. And
with respect to where the foreign minister is, I cannot confirm where
he is.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, what assurances were you able to offer
President Musharraf that any post-Taliban government in Afghanistan
would be one that is friendly to Pakistan and did you meet with the
representatives who are here representing Zahir Shah in the meeting
with the Pakistani Government and for President Musharraf, are you
prepared to support a U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan as long as
it lasts -- as long as the U.S. believes it needs to last-in other
words, is there a deadline that's in your mind for such a campaign?

SECRETARY POWELL: I did not meet with the representatives of the King
who are here. With respect to your first question, in our discussions
there was no doubt that both our common goal of seeing that the
post-Taliban government in Kabul would be one that represented all the
people of Afghanistan and would be a regime that would obviously be
friendly to all of its neighbors, to include Pakistan. That has to be
one of our goals, otherwise we are just creating a new situation of
instability and potential violence.

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: On my part of the question, we have decided to be
with the coalition in the fight against terrorism and whatever
operation is going on in Afghanistan within the parameters-within the
three parameters which have been enunciated -- that is, the
intelligence cooperation, use of air space and logistical support. And
to this extent we will certainly carry on cooperating as long as the
operation lasts. There are no deadlines which have been fixed as
you've indicated, but one really hopes that the operation is short and
obviously the duration of the operation is relative to the achievement
of military objectives and therefore one hopes that military
objectives are achieved and the operation is short.

QUESTION: President Musharraf, may I ask what you mean by "moderate
Taliban." Is there such a thing? Mr. Secretary, does the United States
agree that a moderate Taliban belongs in a new Afghanistan?

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Certainly there are a lot of moderate Talibans.
Yes, I certainly believe so. Extremism is not in every Taliban so one
could...I wouldn't like to get into the details of who are moderates,
but one knows for sure there are many moderate elements within the
Taliban community.

SECRETARY POWELL: The term "Taliban" defines the current regime but
also defines a group of individuals-a group of people. And if you got
rid of the regime, there would still be those who might find that the
teachings and the feelings and the beliefs of that movement still very
important and to the extent that they are willing to participate in
the development of a new Afghanistan with everybody being represented,
then we would have to listen to them or at least take them into
account. You can't export them. You can't send them to another
country. You can't ethnically cleanse Afghanistan after this is over,
but you can certainly get rid of this particular regime that has
driven this country to such devastation and see whether those who used
to be adherents of such a regime are now willing to participate in a
different kind of government where the rights of all are respected and
where it is accepted by the international community.

QUESTION: Our president has advised you or given the proposal that
this operation against Afghanistan should be short and should be
target-oriented and Pakistan has also concerns about Northern Alliance
being included in the broad-based government that you are looking for.
What are your comments on this?

SECRETARY POWELL: First of all we would like the military campaign to
be as short as possible. We have no desire to extend the campaign
beyond the achievement of its goal. As the President said it has to be
as long as necessary to achieve the military goal. With respect to the
Northern Alliance, I think we both agree that all, all elements have
to be included in discussions of the future of Afghanistan that would
include the Northern Alliance, and the southern tribal leaders and all
elements. When you say broad based it means all have to have an
opportunity to participate in how Afghanistan will be governed in the
future.

QUESTION: President Musharraf, your country according to a Gallup Poll
and certainly the symptoms on the street is very much against the
U.S.-led campaign, 87 per cent against the military strikes. How can
you sustain your support if this does become an open-ended commitment
and it is not short and targeted as you and I'm sure Secretary Powell
would like it to be. What if it does take a long time as many US
military officials have projected?

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: First of all, I would like to say that the
results of polls ought to be taken with a little bit of pinch of salt
because it depends of how you address the question and you get the
results accordingly. However, having said that, one would like to say,
certainly majority of the people are against the operation in
Afghanistan. They would like to see this operation to be terminated as
fast as possible and that is what I would urge the coalition -- to
achieve the military objectives and terminate the operation. However,
one more factor that needs to be taken into account, the majority of
the people of Pakistan are with my government's action. That also is a
result of the same Gallup Poll that you are talking of. So may be you
have to analyze both parts and see which one features where. There is
a degree of dichotomy in the results of each question.

QUESTION: A question for Secretary Powell. You have expressed thanks
for the "bold and courageous actions" as you put it of President
Musharraf, at the same time the United States has frozen the assets of
a major charity, the Rabita charity, and there are hundreds of schools
teaching young boys in this country that Osama bin Laden is a hero.
How can you win a war against terrorism if children and young men are
being taught that Osama bin Laden is a role model?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think it's false teaching. What kind of a role
model is it to be someone who invades another country, helps destroy
it, uses it for evil purposes and then goes out murders innocent
civilians, claims he is doing that on the basis of his faith that
provides for no such action on the part of anyone. So it is false
teaching. I am confident that as Pakistan moves forward it will put in
place an education system that will teach respect for all faiths, that
will be balanced and will be concerned as much about educating
youngsters for a bright future as it will about teaching them false
lessons about evil people.

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: I would like to chip in with whatever the
secretary has said and I totally agree with him. I think these are
extremist views and these are extremist tendencies which are not wide
based at all in Pakistan and therefore we need to take deeper actions,
long term actions to check such extremist views.

QUESTION: You have spoken a lot about a post-Taliban Afghanistan. How
close do you think the regime is to collapsing?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know and I think it best not to speculate. I
think the regime is under enormous pressure. Every neighbor that it
has, has turned against it. It is the subject of the efforts of the
entire international community to go after its finances. There is also
a military campaign being directed against it and there are forces
inside the country that are operating against it. So it is under
enormous pressure but I cannot tell you when that pressure will cause
it to collapse. Just can't put a time line on it.

QUESTION: Do you see any anecdotal evidence about what you are seeing
in Taliban forces?

SECRETARY POWELL: There is anecdotal evidence that some of the leaders
are defecting and that some of the provinces have shifted allegiance.
But it doesn't yet paint a complete picture that I can have confidence
in.

QUESTION: President Musharraf, the objective, you have said you would
like to have achieved it quickly to gain what objective? You would
like the action carried out to be terminated quickly to gain what
objective?

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: No, I wouldn't like to get into the details of
the military implementation or the military operation. But this is in
the realm of the military action that you certainly need to identify
the military objectives to be achieved and then push through those
objectives through military action. I wouldn't like to get into the
details of what military objectives specifically are.

Thank you.

(end transcript)

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