Powell: ''real support'' for global anti-terror campaign

Saturday, September 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States is winning support for a global anti-terrorism coalition, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saturday. The State Department urged foreign envoys to impose travel bans on terrorists and cut off their money channels.

Powell, who joined President Bush and other officials at Camp David, Md., thanked Pakistan for its willingness to cooperate in any military action the United States may take in the South Asia region.

Osama bin Laden, identified by Powell as a suspect in the twin terrorist bombings Tuesday, has operated in Afghanistan, Pakistan's western neighbor.

Pakistani military and diplomatic sources said Saturday that Pakistan has agreed to a list of U.S. demands for a possible attack on Afghanistan, including a multinational force to be based there.

A senior U.S. official said he was not aware of any compensatory gesture to Pakistan in exchange for the pledge of cooperation.

The official noted that the United States has been talking for some time about lifting sanctions against Pakistan. Many of these measures were imposed as a legal requirement and are not easily removed, the official said.

On Friday, the State Department took the unusual step of summoning ambassadors from virtually all foreign missions here and told them that their countries have the choice of cooperating in combatting terrorism or facing isolation.

The message was delivered in separate meetings by top State Department officials in charge of overseeing its policies regarding the five major regions of the world _ Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The meetings were held at the State Department after the envoys attended a prayer service at the National Cathedral in memory of the victims of Tuesday's tragedy.

Powell has been attempting to forge a broad-based anti-terrorism coalition, with Islamic countries included. The message delivered on Friday echoed the one U.S. ambassadors have been sending to governments worldwide since the attacks on Tuesday.

The administration wants foreign governments to shut down terrorist groups wherever they exist and to deny them travel rights and access to funding.

``We are receiving expressions of support from around the world _ and not just rhetorical support but real support for whatever may lay ahead,'' Powell said Saturday.

Countries on the State Department terrorism list generally have not been asked to support the administration's anti-terrorism campaign. One exception has been Syria, with which U.S. officials have been in contact at a variety of levels since the attacks.

Six of the seven countries on the U.S. terrorism list have condemned the attacks. The holdout has been Iraq, which said the attacks were a case of the United States reaping ``the thorns that its rulers have planted in the world.''

Disagreement among some officials has surfaced over the timing of an attack on the perpetrators and on how wide a net the United States should cast in its search for coalition partners.

A White House official said the administration wants the coalition to be in place before the United States retaliates for the attack, even if it means a delay of weeks or months before action is taken.

But a senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld wants to punish the perpetrators as soon as they are identified.