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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This past Sunday, after garnering conclusive evidence of the responsibility and complicity of Osama Bin Laden, the al-Qaida network, and the Taliban regime in the September 11 attacks on New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, the United States, supported by our allies, initiated military strikes against terrorist training camps and military installations in Afghanistan. These actions marked a new beginning in the fight against terrorism, to defend, preserve and extend the freedom that the terrorists attempted to take from us on September 11. America will continue to fight for the values for which it stands, for freedom, peace, religious tolerance, and democracy.
On behalf of the United States, I would like to thank our colleagues around the table for their support and take note that we are joined in this operation by the United Kingdom, and are supported by others including Canada, Australia, Germany and France who have pledged forces as the operation unfolds. Still others have helped by providing air transit or landing rights. The actions taken by the United States, with the assistance of others will, as President Bush said, "defend not only our precious freedoms, but also the freedom of people everywhere to live and raise their children free from fear."
We are and will continue to exercise our right of individual and collective self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.
Likewise, the United States will not forget the Afghan people. We are committed to honor our OSCE commitments, and will seek to minimize civilian casualties and damage to civilian property. We are also committed to the protection of the human rights of the Afghan people. We have already provided them with food, medicine and humanitarian supplies and will continue to do so.
The road ahead is a long one. The military actions that have been taken are only the beginning, and are a part of other military and non-military efforts to end the attempts of terrorists to sow fear and strike at our freedoms, and to bring them to justice.
You may be sure that for any use of terror against the American people, our forces, or those of our friends and allies, we will hold responsible not only Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaida, but also all who may have provided assistance.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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