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Bali Terror Attack Tops Powell-Straw Meeting


The terrorist attack in the Indonesian island of Bali dominated a Washington meeting Tuesday between Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Mr. Powell said in the wake of the bombings that Indonesian authorities can "no longer pretend" that terrorist activity doesn't exist in their country.

The Bush administration had been openly concerned before the attack, about the danger of Muslim extremist factions operating in Indonesia. And in a joint press appearance with Mr. Straw, Secretary Powell said it is clear that the "terrible tragedy" in Bali has been a "sobering experience" for the Indonesian leadership.

"We now can see that you are not exempt from this. You cannot pretend it doesn't exist in your country. It can exist everywhere where the conditions are ripe, and where this kind terrorist organization can thrive. And that's why we have to go after them wherever they are. And I hope this will reinforce Indonesian determination to deal with this kind of threat," Mr. Powell told reporters.

The secretary of state said the administration will work with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and other officials of her government in fighting terrorism. President Bush said Monday he expected a firm response from authorities in Indonesia to the Bali attacks, which he said fit the pattern of the al-Qaida terrorist network.

At the State Department, Mr. Powell dismissed a suggestion that the administration's focus on disarming Iraq has become a distraction from combating a terrorism problem that is becoming more acute.

He said the United States is "going after" terrorists and those regimes supporting terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction, and described Saddam Hussein's Iraq as a "nexus" of both kinds of activity.

The secretary's remarks were endorsed by Foreign Secretary Straw who said threats posed by terrorists and "rogue" government's like Iraq's are inter-connected. "I'm making speech later on today in Chicago in which I'm talking about three linked threats to international security: from weapons of mass destruction, from rogue and failing states. Rogue states like Iraq, failing states like Afghanistan, and from international terrorism. If you want a safer and more peaceful world, we have to address and deal with all three threats together," Mr. Straw said.

Mr. Powell said he and his British counterpart discussed their joint effort to get a single new U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Iraq disarm and threatening Baghdad with military force if it does not comply.

The secretary acknowledged continuing resistance from other council members, notably France, who are holding out for a two resolution process leaving the issue of the use of force to a second stage. But he said negotiations are "intense" and said he remained hopeful of finding a solution.

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