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Rumsfeld, Chileans Discuss Iraq, Mutual Interests

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 18, 2002 – Iraq has no business firing on coalition aircraft engaged in activities that support U.N. Security Council resolutions, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said here Nov. 18.

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Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Chilean Defense Minister Michelle Bachelet meet the press following their meeting Nov. 18, 2002, in the Chilean capital of Santiago. Rumsfeld is in Chile to attend the fifth Defense Ministerial of the Americas, which starts Nov. 19. Photo by Jim Garamone.
  

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Rumsfeld, here to attend the fifth Defense Ministerial of the Americas, fielded questions along with Chilean Defense Minister Michelle Bachelet. He had just finished meeting with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos.

Chile is important to the Global War on Terrorism because it will take a seat on the U.N. Security Council in January, which is when the world body is expected to begin debating the results of U.N. inspections in Iraq.

Bachelet said she and Rumsfeld discussed Chile taking the seat on the U.N. body, but she didn't elaborate.

Rumsfeld expressed some frustration that Iraq has fired on coalition aircraft yet again. He said no defense secretary "past, present or future" would find the Iraqi provocations acceptable. He said U.S. and British responses to the hostile acts are measured, and that it is up to President Bush and the Security Council what ultimately may happen.

On the way to Chile, the secretary said the patterns of Iraq's behavior could be taken into account in finding whether the regime is in material breach of Resolution 1441, approved Nov. 8.

In the meantime, Operation Northern Watch aircraft based in Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, hit air defense targets near Mosul after anti-aircraft artillery fired on them. Iraq is the only place in the world where U.S. aircrews are routinely fired upon, the secretary said.

Local Chilean media asked Rumsfeld if he was in Santiago to gain aid for the war on terrorism or to increase pressure on narcotraffickers. He said he was not going to press any country to do anything it does not wish to do. He told the reporters that President Bush has put together a worldwide coalition of 90 countries fighting the menace of terrorism. "Each country approaches this global problem in the way they best feel they can contribute," he said.

 

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Chilean Defense Minister Michelle Bachelet review a formation of Chilean troops in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 18, 2002. Rumsfeld is in Chile to attend the fifth Defense Ministerial of the Americas, which starts Nov. 19. Photo by Jim Garamone.  
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