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Bush, Tajikistan President Discuss War on Terrorism - 2002-12-10


President Bush has met at the White House with the President of Tajikistan, Emamali Rakhmonov. The war on terrorism topped the agenda.

The meeting was strictly private, with no reporters invited in to ask questions.

But as he emerged from the White House, President Rakhmonov said he was satisfied with the talks, noting they focused on the terrorist threat. "The president thanked Tajikistan for all of its support and cooperation and we both agreed that we will stay together and fight international terrorism to the very bitter end until we are victorious," he said.

It was the first meeting between the two, and Mr. Rakhmonov left no doubt they also discussed the situation in Iraq. In response to a question, he said Tajikistan fully supports the new U.N. disarmament resolution.

"We welcome [the] resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations and think it is a very fine resolution and we are all for it. It has to be implemented to the fullest extent possible," he said.

The meeting lasted less than half an hour. Later White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the presidents of the United States and Tajikistan share a commitment to develop the long-term strategic partnership between their nations. He said they believe in cooperation based on the common goal of promoting peace, security, economic development and democracy not just in Tajikistan, but throughout Central Asia.

This is President Rakhmonov's first official visit to Washington. He has a full schedule Tuesday that includes talks with Vice-President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Central Intelligence Agency chief George Tenet and World Bank President James Wolfensohn.