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Secretary Rumsfeld Joint Media Availability with the Crown Prince of Bahrain

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
May 21, 2003 11:40 AM EDT

(Joint media availability with Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, crown prince and Bahrain Defense Force commander-in-chief, Kingdom of Bahrain.)

Rumsfeld: Good morning.

Al-Khalifa: Good morning.

Rumsfeld: I -- we have just had a meeting, one of a long series -- I guess they've stretched over close to 100 years, the relationship between our two countries. And I was able to thank His Highness, the crown prince of Bahrain, for the wonderful support that they have provided. They're assisting in Iraq with assistance in Umm Qasr; they're assisting with respect to offered assistance on hospitals. And we are very grateful for their friendship and their support in so many different ways.

So, Your Highness, if you would like to say a word or two, we're very pleased you're here in the Pentagon.

Al-Khalifa: Well, it's, as always, a great pleasure to be here in the Pentagon. We've had a very long relationship that we're very proud of. We continue to work very closely with the United States to make sure that the effort to liberate the Iraqi people is successful and it's concluded in a manner that is good for them and for the region as a whole.

Rumsfeld: We'd be happy to respond a few questions.

Q: Sir, a question for Your Highness. NBC News. This morning, Ayman Zawahiri apparently released an audiotape which threatened additional attacks and talked about some of the state in the Gulf region that have been allied with the United States in the war on terror and in the war against Iraq. How concerned are you about possible attacks in Bahrain and elsewhere in the Gulf? How credible do you consider this tape?

Al-Khalifa: I think these guys are the enemy of free people anywhere, and we must work together with all of the coalition in the war against terror to ensure that their capability to finance, to transport and to execute acts of terror are significantly diminished. There's always a risk, but the war on terror is ongoing. I see no relention in the efforts of anyone involved, and that is largely due to the leadership provided here in the United States by President Bush, and it's a leadership that we support and are proud to be a part of.

Q: Mr. Secretary, is there any indication that, in fact, al Qaeda was running the operation in Saudi Arabia from Iran and that, in fact, some of those leaders -- those al Qaeda leaders -- have left Iran now? And what is your belief of the level of Iranian government knowledge of al Qaeda's activities there?

Rumsfeld: Well, I'll leave the analysis to others, but just from a factual standpoint, there's no question but that there have been -- and are today -- senior al Qaeda leaders in Iran. And they're busy.

Any other questions?

Thank you very much.

Al-Khalifa: Thank you.

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