Federal News Service Interview with Ari Fleischer

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Interview with White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, including a discussion of Pakistan and the Daniel Pearl kidnapping.

Doc_type: 
Interview
Doc_date: 
Thursday, February 7, 2002
Doc_rel_date: 
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Doc_text: 

UNCLASSIFIED
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Copyright 2002 Federal News Service, Inc.

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Federal News Service.

February 7, 2002, Thursday 01:59 PM Eastern Time
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LENGTH: 1150 words RELEASED IN FULL
BODY:
The vice president knows this region very well. He knows the leaders of the
region very well. He has many long-standing relationships with senior officials
of these countries. The vice president will hold wide-ranging discussions on
matters of mutual interest, including our ongoing campaign against terrorism and
other regional security issues.

The trip builds on earlier visits, for example, that the president directed
the secretary of State to make and the secretary of Defense to make. It's one
of the things that vice presidents do at the president's request.

Q Ari? Art?

Q There's no reason for this -- for the timing right now? I mean, is there
some shift going on or some particular reason why he would go at this particular
time?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, just as Secretary Powell has visited the region, Secretary
Rumsfeld has visited the region, it's appropriate for the vice president to
visit the region.

There is a timing issue involving the fact that the president will be out of
the country for a period of time in February. There's also the importance of
scheduling the e-rent to be respectful of the Hajj. And so there are a series of
reasons that the trip is the week it is taken, reflective of the president's
schedule and other regional important matters.

Q Ari?
MR. FLEISCHER: Goyal?

Q Two questions, please. One, going back to al Qaeda terrorists, the Wall
Street Journal reporter is still held against his will in Pakistan. (Inaudible)
-- figured that his captives are asking that F-16s should be released to
Pakistan, and also Pakistanis that are held in Cuba also .should be released.

Now, what I'm asking you. what is the president doing for his release, using
his -- (word inaudible) -- power to get his release? And also, if General
Musharraf comes next week here, if he's going to bring him on his plane?

MR. FLEISCHER: Obviously, this is an issue that is very troubling to all
Americans and to the president. The president is very concerned about what has
happened with the kidnapping of Mr. Pearl. It is the long-standing policy of
the United States government, and that remains in place, that the United States
government does not and will not negotiate. But the United States has worked
very productively with Pakistan. Pakistani authorities are doing all they
possibly can to obtain the release of Mr. Pearl. The United States is fully

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE REVIEW AUTHORITY: HARRY R MELONE DOS-000693
UNCLASSIFIED

DATE/CASE ID: 23 NOV 2004 200303827

UNCLASSIFIED

satisfied with the actions of the Pakistani government. And if there's any one

thing that the kidnappers need to know is that they should release Mr. Pearl

unconditionally and immediately.

Q Does the president believe that or agree that terrorism is still there in
Pakistan, whether they're al Qaeda or whether they're Taliban-backers or whoever
they are, they are still in Pakistan, despite the border security.

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, clearly, the president has designated several -- two
entities in Pakistan as terrorist organizations and has frozen their assets, and
has found good cooperation from President Musharraf taking action against these
groups.

Jim?

Q Ari, yeah, on the Geneva Convention, one clarification. A decision to
apply the Geneva Convention to Afghanistan and to Taliban fighters would not, I
believe you were saying, would not have any effect on the decision to declare
them as non-POWs?

LOAD-DATE: February 7, 2002

UNCLASSIFIED DOS-000694

Doc_nid: 
6079
Doc_type_num: 
73