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Bush says oct tape proves war goes on { October 19 2003 }

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Bush says bin Ladin's tapes back his stand
Sunday 19 October 2003, 15:54 Makka Time, 12:54 GMT

US President George Bush has said the latest audiotaped messages from al-Qaida chief Usama bin Ladin reinforces his message that "the war on terror goes on".

"It's something I'll discuss with other leaders here at APEC. This is still a dangerous world," said Bush on Sunday, who is in Bangkok for a state visit as well as the 20-21 October Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

"I think that the bin Ladin tape should say to everybody, the war on terror goes on; that there's still a danger for free nations and that free nations need to work together more than ever to share intelligence, cut off money, and bring these potential killers, or killers to justice," he said.

On the recording, which was broadcast by Aljazeera, bin Ladin threatens the US with further human bombing attacks to avenge its occupation of Iraq.

"We will go on fighting you and we will carry on martyrdom operations in and outside the United States until you stop being unjust," warned the audiotaped "message to the American people".

"We reserve the right to retaliate at the proper time and place against all countries that take part in this unjust war (against Iraq), namely Britain, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan and Italy," announced the taped voice of the man blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.


In an interview with Aljazeera, Muwafaq al-Rubai, a member of Iraq’s Governing Council, called upon Usama Bin Ladin not to interfere in the Iraqi issue or use it to get even with the United States.

“I call upon Shaikh Usama to stay away from Iraq and its people, as it is already a complicated place with its various religious and national trends,” al-Rubai said.

“The people of Iraq have more than enough problems to deal with, particularly the US occupational presence in their country,” he added.

An Iraqi political analyst, Abd al-Razzaq al-Na’as, told Aljazeera, “Bin Ladin attracts a wide audience in Iraq.”

“In his message on Saturday, bin Ladin used effective expressions to address the Iraqis, particularly the Sunnis,” he said.

Despite this, he conceded that bin Ladin was in a weak position and that his comments would make little difference to events inside Iraq.

'Terror' priority

The White House has called on APEC foreign ministers, meeting amid tight security before the summit on Monday and Tuesday, to agree that crushing "terror" is essential to ensure economic growth.

Several nations on the Asian side of the Pacific want APEC to stick to the agenda of boosting prosperity that has been its main goal since its inauguration in 1989.

"APEC leaders are painfully aware that security and prosperity are inseparable," Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told business leaders. "What is important is to strike the right balance between security and efficiency."

Several APEC members are struggling to contain armed groups operating within their borders, including Indonesia, Russia and the Philippines.

US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has said tackling security is inextricable from bolstering growth.

Last year's bombings on Indonesia's Bali island that killed 202 people and devastated its economy have been cited as a prime example of such a link.

N Korea crisis

The deadlocked crisis over North Korea's nuclear ambitions is also expected to be on the agenda, with South Korean president, Roh Moo-Hyun, saying on Sunday that he expected "tense discussions" on the topic.

While the US will ensure that security issues top the agenda, the urgent need for the revival of global trade talks, which foundered in Cancun, Mexico, last month will also be a priority at the Bangkok talks.

World Trade Organisation (WTO) chief, Supachai Panichpakdi, warned on Sunday that a total collapse of the talks could force recession.

APEC's foreign and trade ministers agreed here on Saturday to breathe new life into the multilateral negotiation process, saying "a successful outcome is essential" to strengthen the global trading system.

The Doha round of WTO talks in Cancun, aimed at pushing trade liberalisation forward, became bogged down amid bickering over market access, farming subsidies and tariff structures.


Hundreds of banner-waving demonstrators marched through Bangkok to protest against the visit by Bush, who arrived in the city late on Saturday on the latest leg of a six-nation Asian tour, after a brief state visit to the Phillippines.

Thailand has thrown a tight security net over its sprawling capital, in fear that Bush and other leaders might be the targets of Islamic guerilla groups.

A force of 20,000 Thai police were mobilised and F-16 fighters patrolled the skies.

Thai PM Thaksin has ensured the usually chaotic capital has been scrubbed and sanitised to impress the VIP visitors, with campaigns to clear the city of beggars and stray dogs.

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