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Carter Urges Arab Nations to Cooperate - 2001-09-14

Former President Jimmy Carter is urging Arab nations to help identify and bring to justice the terrorists responsible for this week's attacks on New York and Washington. The 39th U.S. president said the global confrontation with terrorism is a long-term challenge that may go on for years.

Former President Jimmy Carter said he supports the Bush administration's decision to investigate thoroughly before taking any military action in response to the attacks. "I do not think there is any doubt that punitive action must be taken," Mr. Carter said, "but at the same time, I am thankful to hear that we are not going to mirror the activities of the terrorists by deliberately causing the suffering and death of perhaps thousands of innocent people just as innocent as those who died in Washington and those who died in New York."

Mr. Carter, whose mediation led to the Camp David peace accords in 1978, said it is time for Arab nations to publicly state whether they will give full support to the United States in an all-out attack on terrorism. Countries that harbor terrorists will have to bear the consequences, he said. "My hope is that Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Algeria and even countries like Syria will publicly express their support for us. I think this is a time to draw a line," he said.

Speaking to students at Emory University in Atlanta, Mr. Carter said the support of Arab nations would counter the false impression that the Arab world is confronting the rest of the world. He said the complicated nature of Tuesday's attacks indicates that they were planned and executed by a network of terrorists and their supporters. "I do not believe that just one criminal terrorist, Osama bin Laden, isolated in somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan, could possibly have done this himself," Mr. Carter said.

Mr. Carter said the United States should show the Arab world, the Islamic world, Palestinians, and others it is a nation of fairness and justice and peace and represents their best hope for a good life in the future.