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26 September 2001

Transcript: Remarks by Powell, Italian Foreign Minister Sept. 25

(Italy "ready to participate" in every action necessary) (1210)
Italy is ready to participate in every action considered necessary by
the North Atlantic Council, including military action, to fight
international terrorists, Italian Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero
told journalists after meeting September 25 with Secretary of State
Colin Powell at the State Department.
Powell said he and Ruggiero "had a good exchange of views on how to
move forward as an alliance, how to move forward as nations concerned
about terrorism, and how to coordinate our efforts."
He also said he had asked Ruggiero to thank Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi and the Italian people "for all the solid support"
they have provided the United States, and to extend his sympathy to
those Italians and Italian-Americans who were lost in the attack on
New York's World Trade Center.
Asked whether Italy would also support a broader campaign that
included state sponsors of terrorism, Ruggiero replied that "there
will be no limitations" on Italian support.
Following is a transcript of their remarks:
(begin transcript)
Office of the Spokesman
September 25, 2001
September 25, 2001
C Street Entrance
Washington, D.C.
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It's a
great pleasure to have had the opportunity to visit with my colleague,
Foreign Minister Ruggiero of Italy. He and I have formed a very strong
relationship in the few months we have been working together. We talk
several times a week on the phone, and it was a pleasure to have an
opportunity for a little more in-depth discussion today.
I took the opportunity to thank the Minister, and in turn to thank
Prime Minister Berlusconi and the Italian people for all the solid
support they have provided to us in this time of crisis, and to extend
my sympathy to those Italians and Italian-Americans who were lost in
the World Trade Center.
We had a good exchange of views on how to move forward as an alliance,
how to move forward as nations concerned about terrorism, and how to
coordinate our efforts. And I look forward to staying in regular touch
with the Minister in the days ahead.
So Renato, thank you for being here, and I invite you to say a word or
two. And then the Minister will take questions, because I have to be
at another meeting in about one minute.
FOREIGN MINISTER RUGGIERO:  Thank you very much, Colin.
Well, as the Secretary of State said, we have a very good personal
relation, and we had a very good meeting today. I came here to
reiterate the strong support of the Italian people and the Italian
Government for the American people and the Administration for the
tragic events, but also to say that our solidarity is not just the
solidarity of words or feelings, but that we are ready to participate
to every action that will be considered necessary by the North
Atlantic Council, including military operation in order to fight
international terrorists according to Article V of the NATO.
And we have expressed also in doing this position and explaining this
position, the support of the great majority of the Italian political
forces to the American people, the Administration and to the wing of
the Italian Government to participate to the NATO alliance with every
possible action.
SECRETARY POWELL:  Thank you, Renato, and I'll see you again soon.
There are questions that you can ask?
QUESTION: Mr. Foreign Minister, exactly what -- when you say that
Italy is prepared to assist in any military operation, exactly what
has Italy offered the United States? What is it prepared to do
FOREIGN MINISTER RUGGIERO: Well, I mean, we are ready to offer to
participate to every action, including military operation, means that
-- I mean, when the moment will come, when there will be a decision to
go into action, then we will see what is needed at that moment.
And the American administration knows that among the NATO allies,
Italy is a country that is ready to go along, I mean, to what has been
considered necessary by the North Atlantic Council. So we will see
what is necessary. We cannot say now what it will be necessary. But we
do not exclude anything.
QUESTION: Does that mean that you're ready to commit troops if
FOREIGN MINISTER RUGGIERO: Oh, yes. We are ready to commit everything,
if they are necessary.
QUESTION: Mr. Foreign Minister, could you say how long you think the
European Union countries would take to pass the swath of financial,
security legislation that is called for in the recent EU statements
over the weekend? What kind of time frame are we talking about?
FOREIGN MINISTER RUGGIERO: Well, I cannot answer to your question
because really we have not discussed the time framework. But what I
can tell you, that there is a strong will to go into that direction
and certainly we will do all we can to do as quickly as possible.
One thing, one message that was very clear from my conversation here
in Washington, is that the challenge we face needs a complex answer,
not just a strategy based on military action, but an answer based on
political measures, on financial measures, on legal measures, on
economic measures. So we need a complex answer.
And so we will do all we can to give the financial aspects the
priority that those actions deserve.
QUESTION:  (In Italian.)
FOREIGN MINISTER RUGGIERO: Well, what I can tell you is I mean in the
conversation I had up to now, I mean, the message that I received is
that there is not yet any clear idea of when and how military
operation will be made.
QUESTION: Mr. Minister, is Italy's support -- would there still be
support from Italy if this were a broad campaign to potentially
include so-called state sponsors of terrorism like Iraq?
FOREIGN MINISTER RUGGIERO: No doubt. I mean, I do not want to mention
one state or another, because no one has mentioned one state or
another. But certainly our support will be a support for a long period
of time, because we know that this is not a challenge that can be
resolved in few weeks or in few months. And certainly, as it was even
said by the General Assembly and by the resolution of the Security
Council of September 12, I mean the action has to involve not only the
terrorists and not only those who have backed terrorists, but also the
states that have been involved in backing the terrorists. So from this
point of view, there will be no limitations.
QUESTION: Mr. Minister, can you say whether your country has found any
bank accounts that have been frozen, any accounts that are linked to
any of these groups?
FOREIGN MINISTER RUGGIERO: As far as I know, I do not. I cannot give
an answer. I mean, I do not know. It is possible, but I do not know.
Thank you very much.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

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