Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov
October 5, 2001
KARIMOV: Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say a few words about the negotiations
that we've had with the Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. We have discussed a lot
of questions of mutual interest and it should be said it was a very open conversation,
and we concentrated on the issues pertaining to counter-terrorism and elimination
of the mechanism that we call terrorism. And I fully agree with the statement
of Secretary Rumsfeld that terrorism exists well beyond the Islamic world. And
I'm very satisfied by Secretary Rumsfeld's statement that today we're not fighting
against any one single country, not against the Taliban for that matter, but
we're fighting against camps and bases and infrastructure worldwide. And we
welcome the decision by President Bush to allocate a humanitarian package of
$320 million to the Afghan people who are in great need of this help. As far
as Uzbekistan and its fight against terrorism are concerned, I would like to
tell you the following.
The first point is Uzbekistan grants its airspace to American aircraft and helicopters.
The second point is Uzbekistan is ready to upgrade and step up cooperation between
special services for the exchange of intelligence information. Uzbekistan gives
its permission and gives use of one of its airfields and its facilities for
the United States' aircraft and helicopters as well as for personnel employed
in search and rescue operations. At the moment there is work going on on the
legal document, which will formulate the mutual commitments, and obligations,
And I would like to use this opportunity to say that we have no secret deals,
no covert negotiations with the United States. As soon as this document has
been formulated, it will be subject to public attention. It should be said that
in the course of these three years, Uzbekistan has been witnessing the inhumane
face of terror; therefore, we cannot afford standing aside, and we are taking
part in this anti-terrorism operation that the international community called
for. In conclusion, I want to tell you that of course I heard about Secretary
Rumsfeld a lot before we met, but I am very happy to have this opportunity to
meet him personally and I am very much impressed by his very measured and thoughtful
attitude, very serious attitude to the range of questions that we've discussed.
RUMSFELD: Mr. President, thank you very much. We have just completed a fine
discussion where I expressed the appreciation of President Bush to the president
for the cooperation that they have offered so generously and spontaneously and
their recognition of the importance of this worldwide effort with respect to
countering terrorism. There is no question but that the threat that terrorists
pose to the world is a real one. It's an immediate one. And it's one that can
be dealt with only by taking the effort to the terrorists and to the countries
that harbor them.
That being the case, it's going to take the cooperation of nations all across
the world, and certainly the support that's been provided is deeply appreciated.
I would underline the remarks made by the president. Not living in the immediate
area here, needless to say, we benefit not only by the cooperation, but also
by the insights and the perspectives that the president offered. And I'll just
conclude by saying that the effort against terrorism as the president said is
not against any country. It's not against any religion. It is purely and simply
an effort to find the terrorists and see that they stop imposing the kind of
damage that was imposed on the United States of America on September 11, and
which has been imposed on a number of countries over a good many years. And
again, I thank the president for his graciousness, and for receiving our delegation
on such short notice.
QUESTION: What has the United States offered to Uzbekistan in exchange for its cooperation
in the battle against terrorism?
RUMSFELD: There have been no specific quid pro quos if that is what you are
looking for. The two countries have met; the two countries have talked; the
two countries have agreed that the problem of terrorism is a serious one. We
have worked out a series of arrangements that make sense from both of our standpoints.
KARIMOV: I would like to emphasize that there has been no talk of quid pro quos
so far. I would like the Russian journalists, in particular, to take this into
QUESTION: Mr. President I would like to clarify on what you said. Is there just one
Uzbek airfield that will be used by the United States in the anti-terrorist
KARIMOV: It is true that we have offered one airbase in Uzbekistan with all
of its land facilities to deploy a limited number of transport, cargo aircraft
and helicopters. We are against the usage of our territory for land operations
against Afghanistan. We are against the use of the territory of Uzbezikstan
for air strikes against Afghanistan. It is envisaged that this equipment will
be used for humanitarian and search and rescue operations.
QUESTION: Mr. President, how many American forces will be in your country? Which airfield
have you offered? Did you agree that American Special Forces would be allowed
to operate from Uzbekistan?
KARIMOV: I will start from the end of your question. Special Operations Forces
will not be deployed in the territory of Uzbekistan. Let me repeat once again
that all facilities that we are giving to the United States are to be used for
humanitarian and search and rescue operations. We are not really interested
in what sort of air personnel will be deployed. We leave this to the discretion
of the U.S.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you mentioned that the bilateral document will be signed.
What sort of document is that?
KARIMOV: It will be a bilateral document which will formulate commitments and
most importantly the guarantees given Uzbekistan so that Uzbekistan can defend
its territory and its people. As for the guarantees themselves, the work is
still in progress. It is too soon to formulate the provisions of the document.
QUESTION: Since Uzbekistan is going to play a very important role in anti-terrorism
operations, have you already conducted any negotiations with your neighbors
and have you consulted Putin? Are you ready to go further than Russia in supplying
help in these operations?
KARIMOV: I would like to refer to Mr. Putin's statements before he went to Germany.
He said that Russia agreed with its allies in Central Asia access and the use
of airspace and airfield facilities. That's my answer to your question. There
are no contradictions in any of this. Or at least we believe there will be no
QUESTION: Mr. President, if you believe that the war on terrorism is important, why
not allow American Special Forces to operate from your territory -- to go strike
terrorists within Afghanistan.
KARIMOV: I will answer you briefly. We are not quite ready for this.
QUESTION: What will be the changes in U.S. foreign policy following the attacks of
RUMSFELD: I think you would have to be able to predict the future to answer
that. But first I would say that there was no question that the circumstances
in the world have shifted. In a year or two or three I suspect that we will
see considerably different arrangements than existed prior to September 11,
because the event is of that magnitude, and exactly how that will play out is
unclear. The relationships have been refashioned after every significant world
event. Therefore, I am confident that they will be in this case, even though
we can't predict exactly what they will be.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you said a moment ago when asked about the use of your territory
to launch U.S. Special Forces offenses that you are not quite ready yet. Does
that mean that this option is still under consideration and that you may grant
that permission in the future?
KARIMOV: My answer to that question is that the United States has special arrangements
with a number of countries where U.S. military personnel are deployed. These
bases in these countries have clear-cut legal status, a very clear purpose and
they are to the mutual interest of both countries. First and foremost, the interest
of Uzbekistan is determined by its geographical position based on its proximity
to the territory, which harbors the camps and bases of terrorists. Without getting
into further details, I will limit myself to the response that I made previously.
Clearly, there are different points of view on land operations, which are being
discussed at this time. But one has to say -- and this is my personal opinion
one should think carefully about the possible consequences of foreign land operations
in Afghanistan. To answer the question, if this (latter decision is made?),
it is up to the strategic command of the United States -- that's my own view.
RUMSFELD: Mr. President, before I excuse myself and catch the airplane, if I
may make a very brief statement. Interestingly, the interest of the United States
in Uzbekistan, it should be well understood, precedes the events of September
11. Indeed, on my first visit to Brussels for a NATO meeting, I made it a point
to have a bilateral meeting with the minister of defense here, of Uzbekistan,
because of my interest and the interest of our country, and of course that was
many months before the terrorist attack in New York and Washington. And the
interest of the United States is of a long-standing relationship with this country
and not something that is focused on the immediate problem alone. And with that,
I'll excuse myself.
KARIMOV: I have been impressed by this latest remark of Secretary Rumsfeld,
and it is with great satisfaction.