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11 March 2002

Excerpt: State's Boucher Releases Update on War on Terrorism

(Reviews military, financial, law enforcement aspects) (1060)
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said 136 nations have
offered some form of military assistance in the war on terrorism, and
17 of those nations have deployed more than 16,500 troops in the U.S.
Central Command's area of responsibility.
Briefing reporters at the State Department in Washington March 11,
Boucher said on the financial side, 142 countries have issued blocking
orders on the financial assets of terrorists or their backers,
resulting in the blocking of more than $104.8 million. He said $34.2
million has been blocked in the United States, and $70.5 million
overseas.
Boucher said the United States has designated 189 individuals,
organizations and financial supporters of terrorism.
In terms of law enforcement, Boucher said nearly 1,000 al Qaeda
operatives have been arrested in more than 60 countries since
September 11th.
For the reconstruction of Afghanistan, Boucher said the international
community has offered $1.8 billion in the current fiscal year and $4.5
billion during the next five years.
Following are excerpts from Boucher's March 11 briefing containing his
comments about the war on terrorism:
(begin excerpt)
Just to give you a rundown, I know the President has done, in his
statement this morning I think, a good rundown of where we are in
policy terms of the coalition against terrorism. I wanted to give you
a rundown of sort of all the things we've been doing in various areas
and bring you up to date.
In terms of diplomatic activity, we have had declarations of support
from 46 multilateral organizations. I think you are aware at the UN
General Assembly, Security Council on September 12th, NATO has invoked
Article 5, OAS invoked the Rio Treaty, ANZUS allies invoked their
treaty obligations. Seventeen nations have deployed to the U.S.
Central Command's area of responsibility with over 16,500 troops. A
hundred and thirty-six nations have offered some kind of military
assistance, be that overflights, temporary basing rights, whatever.
On the financial side, we have seen 142 countries issue orders
freezing the assets of suspected terrorists and terrorist
organizations. The U.S. Government is taking action to freeze
terrorist bank accounts and disrupt fundraising and recruitment. The
United States has now designated 189 individuals, organizations and
financial supporters of terrorism, pursuant to our executive order,
and a total of $104.8 million has been blocked under these orders,
$34.2 million in the United States and $70.5 million overseas.
In terms of law enforcement, we know of nearly 1,000 al-Qaida
operatives who have been arrested in more than 60 countries since
September 11th.
Finally, I'll talk about the rebuilding of Afghanistan. You are aware
the international community has pledged $1.8 billion in aid this
fiscal year, and 4.5 billion in aid over the next five years. As of
March 1st -- that's between the time of October and March 1st -- the
World Food Program was able to deliver 333,000 metric tons of food
into Afghanistan. We have provided ten medical supply shipments,
provided enough medical supplies and medicine to support 100,000
people for three months. Emergency relief supplies have been delivered
into Afghanistan, despite the harsh winter, and you are all aware of
the hardship that many people have suffered due to drought,
starvation, in addition to the deprivations of the Taliban.
So far, nearly $4.4 million has gone to provide food, shelter,
clothing, medicine and school supplies through America's Fund for
Afghan Children. That's the response to the President's request that
American children send in one dollar each. They have developed $4.4
million that way, and that has gone to provide food, shelter and
clothing, medicine and school supplies for children of Afghanistan.
.......
QUESTION: More on this, actually. You said the number of funds that
had been frozen. Can you estimate how much more money you think still
needs to be frozen of al-Qaida and related terrorist assets? And also,
when you say that 1,000 al-Qaida operatives are arrested, do you have
an estimate of how many remain at large?
MR. BOUCHER: No, we can't put out estimates like that. I think if we
had those estimates they would probably come from the intelligence
community, anyway. But let's talk a little bit about both aspects. The
first is the blocking orders. One of the effects of the blocking
orders is not just to seize particular assets and get our fingers on
the money that the organizations were trying to move, but it's rather
to deny the facilities of the banking system to those people.
So by driving the money into irregular channels or underground or
making it impossible for them to move it, we deny them the ability to
finance and support operations. So you can't just measure the success
of these by the amounts that are seized. The fact that so many
governments, so many governments that have banking centers, have put
in place these regulations makes it much more difficult for the
terrorist organizations to conduct their activities and support
themselves through financing, even if we don't get our fingers on the
money.
As far as the arrests go, I don't think there's too much more that I
can say about that. As you know, in general terms, there have been a
lot of activity throughout the world. Some of the authorities have
talked about people that they've arrested, and I think you've been
following those perhaps more closely than I have. But I'm not really
in a position to give a specific rundown because we're not in a
position to talk for others.
......
QUESTION: Does this mean that there are 142 countries where al-Qaida
had assets, or is this just 142 countries that put in orders in effect
if there were?
MR. BOUCHER: It doesn't mean that al-Qaida had assets in 142
countries. It means that, first of all, they may have issued the
proper instructions to their banking system not to allow any
transfers. Second of all, it may be that some of the entities that we
had identified, whether they're on our list of 189 and on the UN's
list, which I think is more or less the same, might have some kind of
operation in those places. So in order to prevent those operations
from being used, they may have shut down those particular entities.
(end excerpts)
(end excerpt)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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