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SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It has been my great pleasure this morning to receive His Highness, the Amir of Qatar. We have had a good conversation. I had the opportunity to express my thanks to His Highness and to the people of his country for the expressions of condolence and support they have provided to the United States during this time of difficulty since the 11th of September.
I especially thanked His Highness for the immediate response that he provided when we asked for assistance for the movement of American forces. Qatar is a good friend of America, and they have always been there when we needed assistance. And this time was no exception.
I also took this opportunity to thank His Highness for the generosity he showed in New York earlier this week by providing donations to the Burn Unit at Cornell University, as well as other donations for the families of rescue workers and others who lost their lives in the tragedy. The Amir certainly understands that this was a tragedy not just against the United States but against civilization, and we are united in the struggle against terrorism.
And so, Your Highness, it's a great pleasure to welcome you here in the State Department, and to the United States again, and to thank you for the support that you have been providing to us.
SHEIKH HAMAD: I am pleased to be here in Washington, DC and to see the Secretary. I came here to convey the condolences on behalf of the Qatari Government and the Qatari people to the American people and the American Government. There is no doubt that the unique relationship between Qatar and the United States dictates that we have to stand by the United States, especially in the efforts to combat terror.
There is no also doubt that we have a unique military relationship with the United States. That relationship is normal and joint exercises are going as scheduled.
And if there is any question, I'll be happy to answer it.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, however hard you all try, reports keep persisting that the Saudis are not doing or promising to do all the things the US would like them to do. I know it's a redundant question, but do you care to address it this morning?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes. I know the reports keep persisting, but the requests that we have put to the Saudis have been responded to. Now, as you know, Secretary Rumsfeld is on his way over there to thank them for the support they have provided, and I'm sure they will have a full discussion of what else might be required or needed.
But we are very satisfied with the support that the Saudi Arabian Government has provided to us.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you've been asking for the support of the Arab countries, and you've been getting this support. However, there have been reports like the Egyptian Foreign Minister, and also from King Abdullah of Jordan, that America gave us assurances that no Arab country will be attacked during the campaign. This has been denied. Can you put the record straight once and for all and assure your honored guest that no Arab country will be attacked during this campaign?
SECRETARY POWELL: Our campaign objective is to go after the al-Qaida organization and its leader Usama bin Laden. The headquarters of this organization and Usama bin Laden are located in Afghanistan. He has elements of his network around the world. We are using all the tools available to us: financial tools, law enforcement, intelligence, and the prospect of military operations as well to go after this network.
We are focusing on al-Qaida and focusing on Afghanistan, and that is the first phase of this operation, and I obviously cannot comment on what might happen in the future. But I think the concerns raised by your question should not be concerns. We are not seeing this as anti-Arab, anti-Islam; it's anti-terrorism, and we're going after the al-Qaida organization where it is located by all the means at our disposal. We are not looking for conflict with other nations.
But as the President has indicated, we have to make sure that this campaign focuses on al-Qaida, but also takes note of those nations that provide haven, provide succor, provide support to terrorist organizations. But this is not the beginning of some conflict with other Arab nations. We are keeping our attention focused on our principal objective, which in this first instance is al-Qaida.
QUESTION: This is a question for His Highness. Have you relayed concerns I guess relayed last week by the United States Government to the al-Jazeerah network over the balancing of their coverage of the new war on terrorism?
SHEIKH HAMAD: It is true that we heard from this Administration, as well as previous American administrations in the past, about this issue. Whenever we hear from these friends, we consider this as a friendly advice and we listen to the friends and their advice. But the issue here is the program that has been put together in Qatar. Qatar is embarking on a parliamentary life that within two years will have a life, a parliamentary life with a democracy, which dictates that freedom of the press should be granted, and that press should enjoy credibility.
I will go back to the issue of al-Jazeerah. There are so many heads of other states who raise that issue, and there was some setbacks. The issue here is how can we work together in order to combat terror, and how all the other countries in the region and elsewhere should work together in order to combat terror. This is the issue.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.
SHEIKH HAMAD: Thank you.
Released on October 3, 2001
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