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Egypt
President Hosni Mubarak
Interview with CNN
September 14, 2001

MUBARAK: The people although they sometimes differ in policies in the Middle East, they were very sad, innocent people wailing were killed, without any reason, a man going to work, people in the streets. We had Egyptians in the towers as well.

Muslim, Christians, Jews, we don't care, there is no deference, they are human beings and so, for us it is shocking, I kept all the time sitting in my chair looking at the news, until the end, I couldn't sleep until three o'clock, I couldn't believe it, so it is shocking and we are very very sorry for that. So, immediately we convened the cabinet, to discuss the situation, they gave a tough statement in Arabic, and I sent condolences to President Bush, and after that to Rumsfeld and to the Chairman of the Congress. It is really embarrassing.

QUESTION: Do you think that attacks relate in any way to the frustrations felt over the problems in the Middle East peace process?

MUBARAK: I cannot tell you that exactly, but maybe (it) is one of the elements that led to that, but even with the advice I was giving, I said it since 1991, when I said it for the first time, when Europe and other countries said " Mubarak has some problems with the terrorists, we are far away".. I kept repeating this advice. Terrorist action, nobody ever thought of using commercial planes to make such a thing.

Precautions we take on the ground, people may hijack planes, do this.. do that, but we couldn't think not any intelligence in the world could have the capability in the world to say they are going to use commercial planes with passengers on board to crash the towers to crash the pentagon, those who did that should have flown in the area a long time, for example. The Pentagon is not very high, a pilot could come straight to the Pentagon like this to hit, he should have flown a lot in this area to know the obstacles which could meet him when he is flying very low with a big commercial plane to hit the Pentagon in a special place.

Somebody has studied this very well, someone has flown in this area very much.

QUESTION: Are you suggesting it was an inside operation, I may ask, who do you think is behind this?

MUBARAK: Frankly speaking I don't want to jump to conclusions, you in the United States when you catch somebody, some rumors about somebody, you say "Oh no, it is not Egyptian, it is Saudi, it is Emirates...all this is inside any house of an Arab, the people say the Arabs are participating...you cannot foretell, it is better to wait."

You remember Oklahoma..there came rumors immediately that the Arabs did it, and it was not Arabs, who knows..let us wait and see what is the result of the investigations, because something like this done in the United States is not an easy thing for some pilots who had been training in Florida, so many pilots go and train just to fly and have a license, that means you are capable to do such terroristic action. I am speaking as a former pilot, I know that very well, I flew very heavy planes, I flew fighters, I know that very well, this is not an easy thing, so I think we should not jump to conclusions from now.

QUESTION: How do you think the attacks have affected international relations?

MUBARAK: I can tell you the whole world is very upset, people are very angry, because of people being killed with no reason, human beings, earning a living, looking after their families, they lose their husbands, their children, the mothers, the wives it is very dangerous, unbelievable by all dimensions.

Of course the whole world should be careful, and I said several times, we should make an international conference in the UN, there should be a study before that, and it should come to a conclusion, not to permit any country to host those who committed terrorist attacks, but some countries said no, because (some) say Israel and Palestinians, self determination...I don't want to go into this, but it is a must now, I heard Colonel Powell say he wants to make coalition against terrorism.

We don't want to divide the world into different factions, we would like to unite, the best thing is to make an international conference in the UN, and this should be very well prepared beforehand, and to come to conclusions and articles which every country in the world should respect and implement, this is the only way, it is a very strong signal what happened in the United States. You never know, many things could happen after that, so you have to be very cautious, we should not delay, we shouldn't say "Oh! All right, we cannot do more than that." You never know, you never know.

QUESTION: You have dealt with terrorism, what advice can you give to the USA at this point on how to deal with what happened?

MUBARAK: We suffered a lot from terrorism, that is why we are telling the whole world publicly"Be careful, don't host, give asylum to these people?." Some countries used to take elements from Egypt and Saudi Arabia and give them asylum, to be used against these countries afterwards, it is a big mistake.

They are going to suffer whether they like it or not, so we have very good experience with these people, we have to be very strict with these groups, we have to take very tough action with them when we know who did it.

QUESTION: The US has promised a strong military response to these attacks, what do you think about that?

MUBARAK: Look, I don't want to jump to conclusions, let us wait, what about if they are Americans, are you going to attack yourselves? Let us wait, be calm, take it easy, make good investigation, and whenever you come to a conclusion, I think tough measures will be taken.

QUESTION: Has Egypt been asked to participate in investigations?

MUBARAK: No, we are cooperating with all the intelligence organizations in your country, any information helping in it, and continuous contact between countries, we have much more information than any other friend of yours in this part of the world and you can understand me.

QUESTION: Do you have much more information on these attacks?

MUBARAK: No, on the terrorist groups.

QUESTION: Do you think the world is a safe place?

MUBARAK: Not every place, but we have to make it safe, we have to cooperate, and deal with any kind of terrorism toughly and strictly, this is the only way to make the whole world safe, now where it is safe, two days after this nightmare took place, someone said, he is not an Egyptian, he said today is a good day for the Muslims. May goodness. Thousands of people were killed, and he is given asylum in one country... I don't want to mention and he is saying this, and no body tells him anything.

QUESTION: When I saw it on the television, I couldn't believe it.

MUBARAK: Such an organization is not an easy thing, it is not something that one could do it, it is a very complicated operation, so we have to make good investigation, not to accuse anybody before coming to the final result, because to be hurried and say it is this, it is that, you are going to make conflicts among the sects in your country, among the Muslims and Christians and Jews, the hatred will be deepened, and at the end, may be none of these may be elements.

END