of State Colin Powell
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou
October 2, 2001
SECRETARY POWELL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It has been my great
pleasure to host for a meeting my Greek colleague, George Papandreou. We meet
on a very regular basis and we have a strong and cordial relationship, which
really reflects the relationship between America and Greece, and the strength
of the relationship that exists between our two peoples.
I expressed my thanks to George for the support we have received during this
time of crisis, for the condolences that have been extended to the American
people by the Greek people. I thanked him especially for the support that has
been provided to our military forces, and that is a source of great comfort
to us, knowing that we can count on our Greek friends.
I made the point to the Minister that America has embarked upon this campaign
by pulling together a coalition of like-minded nations who are coming together
to condemn terrorism. We will pursue this campaign vigorously, with patience.
We will use all the elements of national and international power. We will use
financial instruments, intelligence, law enforcement, military as appropriate,
diplomatic and political isolation. And we are in it for the long haul.
In the first instance, we are interested in the al-Qaida organization and Usama
bin Laden, currently headquartered in Afghanistan. We think they should be turned
over. But the struggle is really against terrorism wherever it is throughout
the world, and wherever it threatens civilized societies.
I know that Greece has had these sorts of problems in the past, and that is
why we share such common views on what must be done. And so I thank the Minister
and the Greek people for their support, and I thank George for having taken
the time to visit with me this afternoon.
FOREIGN MINISTER PAPANDREOU: Colin, thank you very much. I would like to thank
Secretary Colin Powell for finding the time in these difficult hours.
First of all, I am here to pay my respects and bring our warmest of condolences
from the Greek people and the Greek Government to the United States, and not
only our sorrow but also our pledge to work together, not only strongly condemning
terrorism, but in every practical way, to isolate and deal this terrible scourge
a blow, so that it doesn't prevail and that our values of freedom and democracy
do prevail in the world.
I also want to thank Colin because we were able to discuss some of the regional
issues which are high on the agenda in Greece, issues such as the Balkans and
the Middle East and Cyprus and Greek-Turkish relations, but also our cooperation
within NATO and the European Union.
We again pledge to work very closely with the United States and I would say
that we very much appreciate the systematic and very careful and thought through
work that Secretary Powell is doing in building this coalition, and the very
effective way, so that we can make sure that this is a -- we will have results,
results which have to do not with fighting civilizations; we are not fighting
between civilizations. We are not fighting Islam or the Arab world; we are fighting
terrorists. And they have no name, they are just terrorists. And I think this
is very important. So thank you very much, Colin, for this time.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, George.
We will take a question or two, but let me just conclude by again thanking the
Minister, as I did upstairs, for their support, and also to once again extend
my condolences to those Greeks who lost their lives, and to their families as
well as to the many Greek Americans who were caught up in this terrible tragedy.
We will have time for one or two questions.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can you please describe the information that the US
is providing to Greece and other allies about who we feel is responsible for
the September 11 bombings? And can you also say if you have gotten responses
back from any of the embassies as to how people have accepted this information?
SECRETARY POWELL: As you know, we sent information out last night to a large
number of nations that have the ability to receive the kind of information we
sent, which I think powerfully made the case that the al-Qaida organization
led by Usama bin Laden was responsible for what happened on the 11th of September.
We traced the history of this organization, its recent activities and events,
and events around the 11th, before and after.
I think it is a persuasive case. It was presented in a NATO meeting this morning
by Ambassador Taylor from my Counter Terrorism Office. And it was very persuasive.
And we have heard back not only from Lord Robertson, the Secretary General of
NATO, who immediately came out and reported that NATO found it persuasive enough
to lift the "if" clause in the Article V invocation, and now NATO
is poised to receive requests from the United States. But we have heard individually
from several capitals already that they found the information very, very interesting,
useful and persuasive.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, did you have the time to discuss with Mr. Papandreou
the Olympic Games issue in Greece for 2004?
SECRETARY POWELL: We discussed the games and I was very reassured by the Minister
about the efforts that are being made by the Greek Government to make sure that
the games go off smoothly, safely and in the truest Olympic spirit. And, of
course, you know, we have games coming up in Salt Lake City, and I was very
pleased to hear about the level of coordination and cooperation that already
exists between the two organizing committees so that any lessons that are developed
in Salt Lake City will be used in Athens.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you foresee any role for Greece in the near future,
given the fact that Greece traditionally has a very good relationship with the
Arab world and the Palestinians?
SECRETARY POWELL: We did discuss the unique relations that Greece has with a
number of nations in the Arab world, and my colleague offered his good offices
to assist us if we needed any additional contacts or ways of communicating with
other nations in the region that we don't normally have.