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Rumsfeld: Bush's Message on Terrorism 'Getting Through'

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2002 – After visiting nine countries in 10 days, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld believes much of the rest of the world is listening when President Bush speaks about the risks of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Rumsfeld returned to pre-dawn Washington today after a trip that took him to the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, India and Pakistan. He spoke to reporters traveling with him shortly after departing his last stop, Islamabad, Pakistan.

"President Bush's message on the war on global terrorism and the sense of urgency that's needed in the world because of the risk of weapons of mass destruction is clearly getting through," Rumsfeld said.

He said that during stops in NATO countries, the Persian Gulf, India and Pakistan, governments were more aware of the war on terrorism and interested in contributing to it.

Regarding the tensions between India and Pakistan, Rumsfeld said it's helpful for the leaders of the two countries to remain engaged with other world leaders.

In a press conference with Rumsfeld June 13 in Islamabad, Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdus Sattar thanked the secretary for the assistance of his "good offices" in attempting to de-escalate the situation in the disputed Kashmir region between India and Pakistan.

"It is fortunate for the people of South Asia at this time that the world community -- starting from the United States, across the European Union to Russia, China and Japan -- are all on the side of peace and are investing efforts for de-escalation of tension and promotion of dialogue to bring peace into our region," Sattar said.

Later on his plane, Rumsfeld explained what he thought Sattar meant by "good offices." "That is, I suppose, a diplomatic phrase that is distinguished from arbitration or mediation or micro-involvement," the secretary said. "It reflects more of a friend facilitating, and I think that's basically what the Unites States has been doing."

Rumsfeld has said repeatedly on this trip that he was not in the region as a mediator but as a friend. The secretary refused to go into specifics about what he discussed with the leaders of India and Pakistan, but said he believes it was a good decision to make the trip in conjunction with other diplomatic efforts undertaken recently by the Bush administration.

"We've got important relationships with each (country)," he said. "I think all of that process has been useful. But I don't think you can take pieces of it. ... It is a continuum."

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