Availability with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
New York, New York
November 10, 2001
6:21 P.M. EST
PRESIDENT BUSH: Good evening. In our hour of need, just after the terrorist
attacks on September the 11th, President Musharraf quickly condemned the evildoers.
He's shown even greater courage and vision and leadership in the weeks since.
Our nations share an urgent mission, which is to stop and defeat terrorism wherever
it may exist. That mission is not directed against those who practice Islam.
That mission is directed against evil people.
We discussed ways to accelerate our progress in Afghanistan against al Qaeda
and the Taliban. We also discussed our humanitarian efforts to help Afghans
through the winter. And we spent time on the need to work together for long-term
reconstruction of Afghanistan, once the Taliban no longer hold power.
Pakistan's efforts against terror are benefitting the entire world and linking
Pakistan more closely with the world. The United States wants to help build
these linkages. I've authorized a lifting of sanctions, and over $1 billion
in U.S. support. I will also back debt relief for Pakistan.
I want to thank Senators Grassley and Baucus of our United States Congress for
introducing legislation that will improve market access in the United States
to Pakistan's products.
I'm pleased that the President is committed to restore democracy in Pakistan.
Pakistan is a strong ally; President Musharraf is a strong leader, and the world
is deeply appreciative for his leadership.
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Thank you very much, Mr. President. It's my pleasure to
be talking to all of you. Let me, first of all, say that I, myself, my government,
and the people of Pakistan condemn in the strongest terms the wanton act of
terrorism on the 11th of September against the United States. We condole with
all the grieved.
Having said that, let me right away say that Pakistan has taken the considered
decision to be a part of the coalition, to be with the United States, to fight
terrorism in all its forms wherever it exists. And let me also assure the President
that Pakistan will remain committed to this -- to the fight against terrorism.
We also -- or I also see now the start of a dawn of a new era of a relationship
between Pakistan and the United States. Pakistan will hope for a very sustainable
and longstanding futuristic relationship developing between Pakistan and the
United States; a relationship which we always have had in the past.
Having said that, let me say that I had very fruitful discussions with the President
on Afghanistan and on the method of fighting terrorism. On Afghanistan, we have
unanimity of views on a political dispensation which needs to be encouraged
through the people of Afghanistan, to be brought into Afghanistan. And we have,
in addition, a humanitarian relief package that needs to be worked out. We have
total unanimity of views on these.
Lastly, I did apprise the President on Pakistan's concerns and Pakistan's difficulties
from the fallout of whatever is happening in our region. And let me very gladly
say that the President showed total concern for it and also assured us, assured
Pakistan to help out in the maximum possible way. I remain extremely grateful
to the President for his concern for Pakistan and for his desire to assist Pakistan
through the difficulties that we are facing at the moment.
Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT BUSH: The President has agreed to take some questions, and so have
I. Both of us will take two questions from each side, starting with Mr. Fournier
of Associated Press.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. I'd like to ask both of you about the same topic. Secretary
Powell suggested yesterday that the Northern Alliance shouldn't take control
of Kabul. Does that mean you would discourage them from seizing the capital?
And please explain what he meant when he said that Kabul should become an open
city and use post-World War II Berlin as an example.
And to you, Mr. President, why don't you think Kabul should be taken by the
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I think we share a common view that in order for there
to be a country that is stable and peaceful on this good leader's western border,
that any power arrangement must be shared with the different tribes within Afghanistan.
And a key signal of that will be how the city of Kabul is treated. We will encourage
our friends to head south, across the Shamali Plains, but not into the city
of Kabul, itself. And we believe we can accomplish our military missions by
So it's a -- the Secretary -- I don't want to put words in the good Secretary's
mouth, but we believe a strategy that makes sense for the long run is one that
is all encompassing. And a signal of that strategy will be how the city of Kabul
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Well, I agree with the President totally. Why I have been
recommending that Kabul should not be occupied by the Northern Alliance basically
is because of the past experience that we've had when the various ethnic groups
were in hold of Kabul after the Soviets left. There was total atrocities, killings
and mayhem within the city. And I think if the Northern Alliance enter Afghanistan
-- enters Kabul, we'll see the same kind of atrocities being perpetuated against
the people there, against the populace there, which needs to be avoided.
QUESTION: Do you agree with that rationale, President Bush?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I said one question, now you're going with three. (Laughter.)
Why don't you call on somebody --
QUESTION: Mr. President --
QUESTION: Mr. President --
PRESIDENT BUSH: Which one? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: This is for President Bush. I ask my President questions at home. President
Bush, your government and -- the U.S. government in the past and currently has
been proactively using the U.N. Security Council to solve problems in conflict
areas. When will you invoke the U.N. Security Council to intervene on the issue
of Kashmir, which is clearly an issue which is at the basis of conflict in South
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, we've had a very good discussion on this subject, and
I assured the President that my country will do what we can to bring parties
together, to have good, meaningful discussions on the subject so that we can
come up with a solution.
QUESTION: And United Nations involvement in it, Mr. President?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I think our involvement is exactly how I described it to the
QUESTION: Mr. President, Osama bin Laden says he already has nuclear and chemical weapons.
Do you believe him, and where do you think he would get them from?
PRESIDENT BUSH: The only thing I know certain about him is that he's evil. And
I don't know what to believe about him, except that he wants to hurt Americans.
I suspect he now wants to hurt the people of Pakistan. And we're not going to
let him. We will do everything we can to stop him here at home, and we're doing
everything we can to hunt him down and bring him to justice.
Those kind of statements he utters reinforces the coalition's efforts to bring
him to justice, and that's exactly what's going to happen with Mr. Osama bin
Laden -- all the more reason for us to pursue him diligently and to get him.
And that's what we're going to do.
QUESTION: It's Pakistan's turn now. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Fine by me. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: My question is addressed to President George Bush. Mr. President, United States
of America time and again has said that it is against -- eradicate all sort
of terrorism. My question to you, Mr. President, is when are you going to deal
with the question of state-sponsored terrorism? My question is in reference
to the Kashmir situation, first. And the other part of my question is, how do
you view the personal contribution and role of Pakistan's leader, General Musharraf,
in countering global terrorism? Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, thank you very much. My government strongly condemned
the terrorist attacks on October the 1st, strongly condemned them, as did President
Musharraf. He condemned those attacks, as well. We share the same vision about
terror, that it should not exist anywhere in the world.
The President is working hard to strengthen Pakistan. He's got an education
vision which I find to be enlightened. After all, he's got a very brilliant
woman running the education department of Pakistan. The reason I bring that
up is both of us work hard to make our countries hopeful and optimistic, and
we recognize that a terrorist attack on either one of us will disrupt the lives
of ordinary citizens, and disrupt our plans to bring prosperity and hope and
opportunity for our respective countries.
Thank you all very much. Have a good evening tonight in New York City.