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US Satisfied with Response from Arab, Muslim Countries - 2001-10-09

With Arab foreign ministers meeting in Qatar, the Bush administration says it is pleased with the support it is getting from Arab and Muslim countries following the military strikes in Afghanistan. This, despite violent protests against the United States in some countries, and statements from others which are wary of the air strikes.

U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan have been met with demonstrations in several Muslim countries that the United States considers key allies including Pakistan and Indonesia, where angry crowds have tried to push through the gates of the U.S. embassy.

Still, despite what State Department spokesman Richard Boucher calls some entrenched mindsets and outright silence from countries like Saudi Arabia, he describes the response in general from the Muslim and Arab world to be very positive.

"What matters to us most is what countries are able to do against terrorism," said Mr. Boucher. "I think we've moved beyond the stage of what people say, we've moved to the stage of active cooperation with any number of governments."

But Arab foreign ministers meeting in Qatar are warning the United States against widening attacks beyond targets in Afghanistan, something the Bush administration has refused to rule out.

"I think we do believe that these governments are making decisions very mindful of their political situations," said Mr. Boucher. "Some have taken a leadership role like President Musharraf in Pakistan and others have been quite forceful in their statements and they certainly believe they have a great degree of popular support in doing that."

The State Department is warning Americans around the world the military strikes currently underway could trigger more acts of terrorism, and U.S. government personnel have been leaving some countries such as Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, where threat levels have been the highest.