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Bush Welcomes Saudi Decision to Break Ties with Taleban - 2001-09-25


President Bush is welcoming Saudi Arabia's decision to break ties with Afghanistan's Taleban regime. Mr. Bush spoke after talks at the White House with Japanese Prime Minister Junichero Koizumi on combating terrorism.

The President says he is most pleased with the Saudi decision, which leaves only one country with ties to the Afghan regime: its neighbor, Pakistan.

Pakistan removed its embassy staff from Kabul Monday for security reasons. But Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says there is no need to break diplomatic relations. He says at least one country should have access to the Taleban.

The White House will not say if it has asked Islamabad to break ties or keep them. President Bush will only say there has been broad cooperation from Pakistan in the war on terrorism.

"We are most pleased with their response," the president said. "They are a country that is going to be obviously deeply affected by actions that we may or may not take in that part of the world."

Mr. Bush says countries involved in fighting terrorism will contribute in different ways. He notes that Japan is giving $40 million in humanitarian aid to Islamabad, with further donations coming from the United States and Saudi Arabia.

"That's an important part of the coalition, to understand one of the issues is to make sure that Pakistan is a stable country," Mr. Bush said.

The president says the ultimate goal of the mission is to rout terrorists and to bring them to justice. He says those who harbor terrorists are just as guilty. But he stops short of saying the United States wants to topple the Taleban because it has provided shelter for Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization.

"We are not into nation building. We are focused on justice. And we are going to get justice," he said.

Mr. Bush goes on to say, however, that the Afghan people would be better off without the Taleban. And he says opposition forces in Afghanistan can play a role in efforts to break the terrorist network.

"One way to do that is to ask for the cooperation of citizens within Afghanistan who may be tired of having the Taleban in place or tired of having Osama Bin Laden, people from foreign soils, in their own land," President Bush said.

The President says he knows the war on terrorism will take time. But he says nothing will deter the United States and its allies.

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