WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has been in contact with Sudan and Cuba -- both on the U.S. terrorist list -- in search of cooperation in last week's terrorist attacks, the State Department said Tuesday.
Secretary of State Colin Powell called Sudanese Foreign Minister Osman Ismail Mustafa and took note of Sudan's offer of cooperation in combatting terrorism.
It was the highest level communication between the two countries in years, and State Department spokesman Richard Boucher called the conversation a good beginning.
Boucher also said a U.S. official visited Cuba's diplomatic mission in Washington and asked for whatever information Cuba may have about the terrorist attack. Cuba has strongly condemned the Sept. 11 disaster.
The United States lists Cuba, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq and North Korea as supporters or sponsors of terrorism. The United States has contacted only Cuba, Sudan and Syria in investigating the attack.
Boucher said the there was no promise of U.S. assistance for Pakistan in exchange for that country's cooperation in American efforts to hunt down those responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
''It was entered into without any demands, without any conditions, without any quid pro quos,'' he said. ''Our friendship with Pakistan and desire to be helpful to them on economic matters or other things has not changed. And we'll work on those issues, certainly, but it was entered into without conditions and without quid pro quos.''
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., said the United States should lift trade sanctions on Pakistan and back World Bank loans for economic development in Pakistan, ''so the population can see a positive reason to engage with the United States.''
Sanctions against Pakistan were imposed in response to its nuclear weapons program and to the October 1999 military coup that installed Gen. Pervez Musharraf as president.
Meanwhile, South Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo met with Powell on Tuesday and pledged full cooperation for U.S. efforts in ''eradicating the crimes of terrorism.''
The meeting took place amid Bush administration hints that the surrender of prime suspect Osama bin Laden might not by itself prevent U.S. military action in response to last week's terrorist attacks.
With Powell at his side, Han said he was making the pledge of support in the spirit of South Korea's role as a defense treaty ally of the United States.
''We strongly condemn the heinous act of terrorism,'' Han said, referring to the hijacking and crashing of four commercial jetliners and the loss of thousands of lives.
''We, the Koreans, are with you in this hour of national distress and anguish,'' said Han, who is president of the U.N. General Assembly.
Han was the first of a number of foreign leaders who have scheduled visits here this week. French President Jacques Chirac was arriving in the afternoon for a meeting and dinner with President Bush.
Also scheduled to visit after Tuesday are British Prime Minister Tony Blair, top officials of the European Union and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Russia, Germany, China and Italy.
Saudi Arabia could be a key player in any U.S. military operation.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld raised doubts Tuesday about whether the surrender of bin Laden by the Taliban militia that control Afghanistan would be enough to avert a U.S.-led military campaign against terrorism.
''Clearly you begin on a journey with one step, and he would be one step,'' Rumsfeld said on CBS' ''The Early Show.'' But he added, ''If bin Laden were not there the organization would continue doing what it's been doing. So clearly the problem is much bigger than bin Laden.''
Bush, meanwhile, discussed the terrorism issue with U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan and with Brazilian President Fernando Enrique Cardoso. He also called Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien to express his gratitude for Canada's support for the United States in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
Administration officials said they don't hold out much hope for a Pakistani effort to persuade Afghanistan's Taliban movement to surrender bin Laden, perhaps to a third country.
The State Department also issued a warning for Americans to consider their safety before traveling to Pakistan. The warning notes that neighboring Afghanistan is harboring bin Laden and that Pakistan has militant groups that support the suspected terrorist.
Peninsula Clarion ©2014. All Rights Reserved.