President Bush has won Algeria's strong support for the war on terrorism. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika says his country stands in solidarity with the United States. President Bush launched a new round of intense diplomacy by conferring with the Algerian leader. It was their second face-to-face meeting in four months - and the first since the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Reporters were not permitted to witness the meeting. But as he left the White House, President Bouteflika said it went well. He said President Bush listened intently while he presented Arab and African concerns. And he said he told Mr. Bush in no uncertain terms, that Algeria stands with the United States.
President Bouteflika said Algeria knows what it is like to fight terrorism alone - a reference to the 10-year war between Algerian security forces and insurgents. He noted that about 100,000 people have died as a result of that conflict. And he said Algeria shares solidarity and suffering with America,
Throughout this week and into the next, President Bush hopes to win similar words of support from a number of world leaders, particularly from countries with large Muslim populations. He has meetings scheduled with leaders from Kuwait and Morocco. He will also consult at the White House with Presidents and Prime Ministers from France, Great Britain, India, Ireland and Brazil. More meetings will take place over the weekend at the United Nations, including his first session with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Meanwhile, White House officials say their new coalition information centers are starting to show results. The Centers - which will eventually be in full operation in Washington, London and Islamabad - are designed to provide an instant response to anti-American statements made by terrorist organizations and their supporters.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says a main goal is to reach an Arabic speaking audience. To that end, the Bush administration has asked retired Ambassador Christopher Ross - who once served in Syria and Algeria - to return to active diplomacy. Shortly after the Arabic-language satellite television channel al-Jazeera played a video Saturday from Osama bin Laden, Ambassador Ross gave the coalition's broadcast rebuttal. "The ambassador's message - in fluent Arabic - was essentially that Osama bin Laden is showing how isolated he is from fellow Muslim nations and from the rest of the world," said Mr. Fleischer.
Brief excerpts from the Osama bin Laden videotape were shown in news reports on American television. Mr. Fleischer said he did not know if President Bush saw them, but Mr. Bush was aware of the content of the remarks. "He has dismissed this as more propaganda that shows how isolated Osama bin Laden is," said Mr. Fleischer.
The White House spokesman noted several Arab leaders had a harsh reaction to the videotaped message in which Osama bin Laden condemned the United Nations and other international organizations.
President Bush says Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has already been indicted in the United States for his role in earlier acts of terrorism.