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Secretary of State Colin Powell
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou
State Department
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.

George.

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.

Thank you very much.

END