U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is mounting a global telephone campaign, urging fellow foreign ministers from the Middle East and elsewhere to "take a stand" with the United States against terrorism and in particular the Osama bin Laden terror group.
The secretary again spent much of the day in conversations with counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia - among others - soliciting support for the administration's promised drive against terrorism.
Countries are being asked to provide information about, and cut off financial and other support for terrorist factions. Mr. Powell told reporters the response from the various countries will determine the future of the United States' relations with them. "I am not threatening so much as I am saying this has become a new benchmark a new way of measuring the relationship and we can do together in the future and what kind of support we can provide to you in the future across the whole range of issues and activities," he said.
Mr. Powell said the United States has "not yet" positively indentified Osama bin Laden and his Afghanistan-based organization as the perpetrator of New York and Washington attacks. But he said evidence is mounting that will allow the administration to make a determination of culbability in the near future.
In the meantime, he served notice on the Taleban authorities in Afghanistan who have sheltered the bin Laden group that a U.S. response would not be limited just to those who did the killing. "To the extent that governments such as the Taleban government in Afghanistan support such things, you need to understand you cannot separate your activities from the activity of these perpetrators," said Colin Powell. "And, in our response, we will have to take into account not only the pertetrators but those who provide haven, support, inspiration, financial and other assets to the perpetrators."
Mr. Powell said he is gratified by expressions of support from countries around the world, including Central Asian states like Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, whose help might be critical to U.S. military action in the region.
The United States has given Pakistan - which adjoins Afghanistan - a list of measures it would like to see taken including, it is understood, the sealing of the Afghan border.
The Islamabad government has already given the United States a general pledge of support and is considering the U.S. list. Mr. Powell said he is very encouraged thus far but still awaiting a final answer from Islamabad.