Campaign Against Terrorism – Powell To Congress

Published: Fri 26 Oct 2001 09:05 AM
Statement for the Record by The Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to The House International Relations Committee October 24, 2001
[As Prepared]
Mr. Chairman. Mr. Lantos. Members of the Committee.
I am pleased to appear before you today to update you on our nation's diplomatic response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, as well as to report to you on my recent trip to Pakistan, India, and China.
Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to commend you, Mr. Chairman, along with this Committee and, indeed, the entire American Congress, for your courageous response to this national tragedy. I was deeply moved, as I believe the nation was deeply moved, at the sight of our elected representatives standing on the Capitol steps the evening of the tragedy, singing "God Bless America."
The spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation which has emerged, on Capitol Hill and throughout our government, has sent a powerful signal of America's resolve to the American people, to our friends around the world, and, just as importantly, to our foes.
Mr. Chairman, the perpetrators of what President Bush has described as "evil, despicable acts of terror" struck not only at the United States, they struck at the world. They struck at all who believe in tolerance and freedom.
Citizens of some 80 countries died that day in New York, in Virginia, and in the Pennsylvania countryside. Citizens of all countries recoiled in horror at the magnitude of the atrocity committed on American soil.
We have responded to these attacks with a campaign directed against the perpetrators of September 11, and the nations and organizations that help them -- al-Qaida, its leader Usama bin Laden, and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that harbors and supports them.
But our fight does not end with al-Qaida and the Taliban regime. As President Bush told a joint session of Congress September 20:
"Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated."
In our campaign, we are deploying every tool we have -- political, diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, and financial, along with appropriate military means.
Because terrorism is a global problem, the response to terrorism must be global. We need the cooperation and support of a broad coalition of nations to use these tools effectively. Under President Bush's leadership, we have assembled a remarkable international coalition to do just that.
The coalition we have built does not tie President Bush's hands. It magnifies his efforts. The coalition is a force multiplier in our campaign - for all the tools we are using.
I am here today, Mr. Chairman, to update you and the Committee on the diplomatic aspects of our campaign.
We have a good story to tell. Almost every civilized country has joined our effort - our European and Canadian allies, Western
Hemisphere neighbors, and Asian and Oceanic partners, as well as our Middle Eastern, Gulf, and African friends. Russia and China have been remarkably forthcoming as active supporters of the campaign.
NATO for the first time in its history invoked Article V of the Washington Treaty, declaring the 11 September attack an attack on all members. The Rio Treaty signatories and Australia also invoked collective defense articles of our treaties.
Less than 48 hours after the attacks, the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly passed resolutions condemning the attacks, and supporting action against those responsible and the governments that aid them.
The OAS, ASEAN, APEC, and regional and religious organizations representing the vast majority of Muslims - including the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the Organization of African Unity - have condemned the attacks and offered assistance.
Leading Muslim clerics, such as the Sheikh of al-Azhar, have joined in the chorus of condemnation.
Mr. Chairman, I can only name a few of the many supporting nations and organizations, but the message is clear. The world rejects Usama bin Laden's vile effort to cloak his crimes in the mantle of Islam. The world rejects his efforts to hijack a great religion in the name of murder.
So the coalition has come together, and the work has begun across a broad front.
The effort to stanch the flow of money to terrorists is one vital front in our campaign. Here, we are making good progress.
Security Council Resolution 1373, adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, requires members to act against terrorists' movements, financing and operations. The Security Council has also formed a counterterrorism committee to implement 1373, chaired by the British, and with expert advice from the United States and others.
President Bush has issued an Executive Order freezing the assets of 27 individuals and entities. On October 12 an additional 39 names were added to this list. The total list of 66 names includes 17 groups and 49 individuals. We anticipate adding additional names in the future.
We have frozen approximately $4 million dollars in assets since September 11 and more is under review. Hundreds of additional accounts are presently being examined.
Over 140 countries have voiced their commitment to the campaign against terrorist financing, and over 70 countries are actively working to detect and freeze assets related to terrorists identified in the Executive Order, Security Council Resolutions, or their own files.
Another front is the intelligence and law enforcement component - making sure that all the nations of the world that have information about these individuals start to share it in a more effective way. After little more than a month, we are seeing success.
I must also say a word about our brave men and women in uniform, as they take the battle to al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan. I am not here to testify on the military aspects of the campaign, but I must salute their bravery and commitment to duty.
Mr. Chairman, we are not only combating al-Qaida and the Taliban. We are also acting to ease the suffering of the Afghan people. We estimate five to seven million Afghans are at risk due to drought, famine, Taliban misrule, and the onset of winter. The United States was the largest donor of assistance to the refugees before September 11, and in response to the increased need we have announced $320 million, in cash and commodities, to aid Afghans. Other countries have pledged an additional $466 million. We have also air-dropped some 500,000 humanitarian daily rations.
We are working with UN agencies such as the World Food Program and with private voluntary organizations to make sure this assistance gets to the people who need it, in Afghanistan and in surrounding countries where millions of refugees have fled.
While we are waging today's campaign, we are also looking ahead to the future of Afghanistan. We are working with coalition partners and with the United Nations, including Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary General's Special Representative for Afghanistan.
The goal is the formation of a broad-based Afghan government that represents all geographical and ethnic backgrounds, not just one party or one group, and that will end Afghanistan's role as a haven for terrorists, permit reconstruction, and make refugee return possible.
To secure these goals, we are working with Afghan groups and the international community to address key political, reconstruction, and security issues. Afghan groups - including the Northern Alliance, Rome Group, Southern Pashtuns, and others -- must come together to form a broad-based coalition capable of assuming administrative functions. There is, however, no place in a new Afghan government for the current leaders of the Taliban regime.
We are also working to get our message out, that our campaign is against terrorism, not Muslims. American officials are appearing daily in relevant media, including on al-Jazirah television. We are ensuring that the President's statements and speeches are transmitted world- wide, within six hours of delivery.
To give you a flavor of what we are doing, let me take one "day in the life." On October 20, Deputy Secretary Armitage was interviewed by the Indian national daily Hindu; Under Secretary Grossman, USAID Administrator Natsios and Acting PRM Assistant Secretary Kreczko took questions from Arab journalists in London via DVC; Under Secretary Grossman was interviewed by N-TV of Russia; EB Assistant Secretary Wayne was interviewed by MBC, LBCI and the Abu Dhabi Satellite Channel; EUR Assistant Secretary Jones appeared on Turkish Star TV; and NEA officials met Palestinian and Israeli journalists in the U.S. on the "Peace Partners" program.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to take a moment to describe the efforts we are pursuing to ensure the security of our people abroad.
We have added special agents to posts under critical and high threat, increased local and host government protection, and temporarily drawn down staff at certain posts under critical threat.
We have increased our vigilance toward chemical and biological threats, and initiated a chemical and biological threat program.
Our Fiscal Year 2002 budget request for some $1.3 billion is essential to fund secure new embassies, increase perimeter security, and add to our worldwide security readiness. We look forward to working with the Congress to secure this critical funding.
Mr. Chairman, it was in the pursuit of these counterterrorism objectives, as well as other important foreign policy interests, that I traveled to Islamabad, New Delhi, and Shanghai.
In Pakistan, I thanked President Musharraf for his bold and courageous actions since September 11. I emphasized America's support, and the support of the international community, for Pakistan's role in the campaign against terrorism. I also assured him that American support would extend to the financial and economic measures needed to help Pakistan get back on its feet again, and that those measures would come not just from America but from other coalition members as well.
President Musharraf's commitment to the campaign against terrorism is steadfast, but he also raised the Pakistani public's concerns about extended bombing operations in Afghanistan. I assured him that targeting has been judicious, with every effort made to reduce civilian casualties.
In India, I thanked Prime Minister Vajpayee, FM Singh, and other senior officials for India's prompt offers of unconditional cooperation, and for all the support that India has provided and continues to provide to the campaign. Both the United States and India were quick to realize the attacks of September 11 were attacks on the world, and we have stood shoulder to shoulder in this fight against terrorism.
In both countries, we discussed how to ease the plight of the Afghan refugees and shared thoughts on how to begin the process of rebuilding Afghanistan.
Mr. Chairman, the campaign against al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden, and those who harbor them is our top priority, and it was largely in order to better wage that campaign that I traveled to the subcontinent.
But, even while we pursue this campaign, we cannot allow our foreign policy to be hijacked by terror, to the exclusion of other important interests, including our enduring interests in South Asia.
In that spirit, my talks in Pakistan and India also covered ways to expand cooperation and deepen our relations, as well as ways to enhance stability between those two great countries.
I assured President Musharraf that our improved relationship is not just a temporary spike but, as a result of the actions taken by Pakistan over the previous five weeks, the beginning of a strengthened relationship that will grow and thrive in the years ahead.
On the domestic front, President Musharraf stressed that improving economy is his priority, reaffirmed his commitment to hold elections in October 2002, and pledged cooperation on nonproliferation issues.
Regarding economic and commercial issues, we agreed on the importance of continued economic reform, and the U.S. reaffirmed our commitment to work both bilaterally and multilaterally to address Pakistan's enormous debt burden.
In New Delhi, my conversations with Prime Minister Vajpayee and Foreign Minister Singh covered the broad range of our relationship and the steps we are taking to transform it even further. Well before September 11, President Bush made it clear that putting our relationship with India on a higher plane is one of his highest priorities. As two great, multi-cultural democracies that believe in a common set of values, we are natural allies.
With the strong support we have received from the Indian government since September 11, we are seizing the opportunity to accelerate the pace of change. I am pleased that, during my visit, PM Vajpayee accepted an invitation to visit Washington next month.
In both countries, I urged restraint in their nuclear and missile programs and the need to avoid onward proliferation.
My trip occurred amidst the highest tension we have seen in almost a year along the Line of Control in Kashmir. I emphasized to both sides the need for military restraint and the resumption of bilateral talks between India and Pakistan on all issues, including Kashmir.
I concluded my trip in Shanghai, where I attended a meeting of APEC foreign ministers and, later, joined President Bush at the APEC Leaders Meeting.
Our overriding focus in Shanghai was to bolster the international response to the events of September 11, both in the President's bilateral meetings and in the APEC context. We met with solid success.
The APEC Leaders assembled in Shanghai put APEC squarely on the record against terrorism, with their Statement on Counterterrorism. This was remarkable step, given APEC's traditional reluctance to venture outside the economic realm, and a strong signal of the unity of the international community.
APEC Leaders called for the early signing and ratification of all anti- terrorist conventions, including the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and pledged to implement UN Security Council resolutions 1368 and 1373. They also mandated cooperation against terrorism encompassing finance, customs, immigration, transportation, energy and infrastructure activities.
APEC's importance as an economic forum was also increased by the September 11 attacks. Since its founding, APEC has been an important vehicle for encouraging the adoption of market-oriented trade, investment, and financial policies by countries that together represent two-thirds of global GDP and over half of world trade. Now more than ever, these policies are critical for ensuring the economic vitality needed to restore confidence in the global and member economies, and to support our goals of fostering stable, prosperous democracies in the region.
APEC Leaders sent a strong signal of support for the global economy with their commitment to launch a new round of WTO talks next month and their adoption of the Shanghai Accord, an American initiative to revitalize APEC's role in promoting trade and investment liberalization.
President Bush and I also held a series of bilateral meetings in Shanghai.
In our meetings with the Chinese, including President Bush's meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin, we sought Chinese commitment to increased cooperation against terrorism, including the long-term law enforcement effort to eradicate financing of terrorist organizations and the need for immediate humanitarian assistance to Afghan refugees.
We also discussed ways to honestly address our differences so that our areas of difference do not prevent us from cooperating on other issues of mutual importance. I am confident that as we advance our counterterrorism cooperation with China we will be in a stronger position to sustain meaningful consultations with the leadership in Beijing on subjects such as Taiwan, nonproliferation, and human rights.
Russian President Putin's reaction to September 11 marked the beginning of a new period in our bilateral relationship, one in which a new spirit of cooperation on counterterrorism may also make many of the tough issues on the agenda more resolvable. Indeed, in the wake of 11 September, it has become clear that not only is the Cold War over, but the post-Cold War period is also over.
In President Bush's meeting with President Putin, and mine with Foreign Minister Ivanov, we discussed the future of post-Taliban Afghanistan. We also had a good discussion on the new strategic framework.
The President's meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi, while focused primarily on the campaign against terrorism, also covered global economic developments. President Bush urged the Prime Minister to remain steadfast in his ambitious reform agenda for Japan's faltering economy. He emphasized the importance of Japanese economic recovery to both our nations, and the world.
Also in Shanghai, President Bush had an excellent meeting with President Kim Dae Jung of Korea, who was very forthcoming about South Korean support and pledged to provide all necessary cooperation and assistance. The two Presidents also discussed our two nations' continuing readiness to seriously engage North Korea to bring about North-South reconciliation and peace on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. remains prepared to resume dialogue with the North Koreans any time, any place and without any preconditions.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to take a moment to commend the men and women of the State Department who are serving in Washington and, often in harm's way, in our Embassies abroad.
Our people have helped secure landing and overflight rights from more than 50 nations that are vital to our military operations. They have pressed host governments to choke off the financial lifeblood of terrorist organizations and deny them safe haven. They have helped generate and distribute humanitarian aid to the Afghan people and the frontline states. And they are working to maintain international cooperation on the full range of counterterrorism initiatives ranging from fighting money-laundering to improving airport security.
In Islamabad and New Delhi, I met with the skeleton staffs who are working under extraordinarily difficult conditions to wage this vital campaign against terrorism.
The President, the American people, and I are counting on them to do their duty, and, in the finest tradition of service to our nation, they have risen to the challenge. I am immensely proud of these dedicated men and women, and I believe our country should be proud of them too.
Mr. Chairman, our record is strong, but we have only begun. This is a campaign that will be measured in weeks, months, and years, a campaign that we will pursue with patience and perseverance, in close consultation with our friends and allies. As President Bush told the nation on October 7:
"Given the nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose."
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, we will be patient, we will be persistent, and we will prevail.

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