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US Ambassador to UN Discusses Terrorism - 2001-10-12

In his first interview since becoming U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte stressed the global nature of terrorism and the widespread support of the U.S. response to it. Above all, he said in an interview, this is not a war against Islam or Islamic countries. "We are all in this together," said John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He told VOA that terrorism is a global concern. He is heartened by the support the United States is receiving from nations around the world, including Muslim ones. "This in no way represents some kind of campaign or war against Islam itself," he said. "This is directed specifically against the perpetrators and the supporters of these terrorist activities. We realize that many of the Islamic and Arabic countries themselves face these kinds of terroristic situations. We are not alone."

Ambassador Negroponte noted the United States has come to the aid of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo. He acknowledged the concern over an earlier statement he had made about possible U.S. action against other organizations or states. "I think some countries may have interpreted that to mean that we had already decided that there might be attacks against other countries or in other places," he said. "It was not intended to foreshadow any specific activity at this time."

Ambassador Negroponte said if some country turns out to be harboring terrorists involved in the attacks on the United States, then this country can exercise the right of self-defense. He emphasized the United States welcomes all help, even from former adversaries. "In this new situation that we face since September 11, this is an opportunity for all countries, regardless of their past activities or their past records, to cooperate now with the international community in this global struggle against terrorism," he said.

Ambassador Negroponte sees no direct linkage between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and terrorist attacks on the United States. But the issue clearly needs to be resolved. "That is a subject that is of the utmost sensitivity and importance to our government, and we are very mindful of the contribution that progress in the Middle East peace process could make to the overall political atmosphere in the Middle East," he said.

Once the military campaign is over in Afghanistan, Ambassador Negroponte added that country must be restored as a viable member of the international community.