President Hosni Mubarak
Interview with NBC (partially edited)
September 15, 2001
President Hosni Mubarak has called for an international conference to fight
international terrorism and stressed that the battle against that phenomenon
calls for the cooperation of all parties of the international community without
the exception of one country or another.
In an interview with the American NBC television broadcast Saturday, President
Mubarak said that there should be no haste in making accusation against certain
parties and no accusation should be made against anyone now. "We should
not jump to conclusions because jumping to conclusions and making reference
to the Arabs "create extremely bad atmospheres".
Commenting on the explosions which took place in Washington and New York on
Tuesday, President Mubarak said that those who committed the crime should be
punished and retaliation should be based on very accurate calculations.
Egypt is against establishing coalitions. Replying to a question on the possibility
of defeating terrorism, particularly that Egypt is one of the countries which
suffered from this phenomenon, President Mubarak said: "We should cooperate
with all countries without exception. Those who do not want to cooperate should
be left aside, and at once.
President Mubarak said he was against the formation of a coalition of some countries
and leaving others. This would create division and push countries outside the
coalition to work against it.
The President explained that what he was calling for was to hold an international
conference to take decisions which should be firmly carried out and warned that
unless this is realised we shall not be able to live on earth as we should .
President Mubarak cautioned that war against terrorism will not take a day or
a short while.
It is a long war which calls for the cooperation of the entire international
community Asked about the telephone conversation he had with U President George
Bush, President Mubarak said he expressed once again his condolences.
The President had sent a cable of condolences the day the attacks took place.
The President said that he discussed with President Bush measures which should
be taken to fight terrorism.
President Mubarak asked President Bush to wait for results President Mubarak
cited the arrest of some citizens from the United Arab Emirates and then it
turned out that they were not from the Emirates. Suspicion pointed to people
who receive instructions in flying in Florida. But many Arabs receive flying
They are arrested and their homes are searched and then they are released.
President Mubarak asked" Why do you accuse Muslims? Did al the Muslims
commit those acts in the United States.
NBC News representative said that accusation was made against a certain faction
of extremists and pointed out that the President himself was the target of terrorist
acts in Addis Ababa. There were also terrorist act in Cairo.
President Mubarak said that he dealt with these acts asking for complete investigations
and those found guilty should be referred to trial. "I do not take revenge
myself. We have fair and independent judiciary."
CNN asked whether the United States will receive international backing, particularly
from the Arab world, if it declared war on terrorism, even if it was proved
that one of the perpetrators came from an Arab country?
President Mubarak said he did not want to give a judgment in advance of results.
But there is not a whole country which supported terrorism or took part in it.
Some countries has mountainous areas in which terrorists could hide and take
shelter. The President did not want to name any country.
"When investigations are complete and it is proved that certain person
has committed something for which he should be punished, we shall support the
United States in any stern measures it takes against terrorism," the President
NBC News pointed out that intelligence and investigation authorities in the
USA keep repeating a certain name, that of Bin Laden, who takes refuge in Afghanistan.
President Mubarak said that this was mere supposition and he did not want to
accuse Bin Laden and asked: What will you do if it turns out that these acts
were perpetrated by Americans? Let us wait and see. Do not make accusations
at random against Arabs or Muslims.
The President was asked whether terrorism should be destroyed?
President Mubarak said that there was a big difference between war and terrorism.
In war you know the goal and the two fighting parties and the mission which
should be accomplished through war such as liberating land or occupying a position.
Terrorism uses the world as a scene. You do not know from where it will come
or what is its target. No one country in the world can provide protection for
all its vital installations. Who could have imagined that airliners would be
used, with its passengers, in terrorists acts.
NBC: the United States is seeking to mobilize an international coalition against
terrorism similar to the coalition in the Gulf war. Would it be difficult to
mobilize a coalition to fight and resist terrorism?
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: setting up a coalition would divide the ranks of the international
community. No coalition can be established all over the world to fight terrorism.
It is not practical, at least from my point of view. Perhaps US Secretary of
State (Colin) Powell would have a different opinion.
I have said that setting up coalitions would divide the ranks of the international
community. What I have repeatedly called for was to hold an international conference
to fight terrorism under the umbrella of the United Nations, in New York, Geneva
or anywhere else.
It was agreed but some countries, including the United States, used veto as
a pretext gainst what it taking place between the Palestinians and Israelis.
The Palestinians say they are struggling for self-determination. The Israelis
say something different and created a big problem. Hence, the idea was set aside.
But in the light of the recent events in the United States holding an international
conference to fight terrorism has become an international necessity. No countries,
or group of nations should be exempted. But to set up coalitions would divide
the ranks of the international community in two or three fronts.
NBC: Are you ready to help the United States to track the perpetrators and inflict
punishment on them?
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: I did not say no. We shall help the United States with all
our ability. Punishing these people is a necessity.
NBC: Is what took place in the United States not connected with what is taking
place between the Palestinians and Israelis or is it an extension of it?
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: It is one of the reasons. I do not say all the reasons, but
one of the reasons.
I hope that the Israelis will not take this opportunity to create more troubles
with the Palestinians and wage a campaign against them because this would only
lead to more terrorism.
We do not wish to see the Israelis use this opportunity to kill Palestinians
and demolish their homes. This would only lead to more hatred.
President Mubarak said that if his advice to hold an international conference
to fight terrorism and issue decisive decisions is heeded, we would all live
NBC: What about countries which would refuse to abide by decisions taken by
The important thing is that firm decisions are issued and applied by all, big
and small, no country to be an exception.
They should apply on all countries, exception. They should apply on all countries,
even those which harbour terrorists and give them shelter.
These countries should be prevented from giving shelter to terrorists. Human
rights should not be used as a pretext. Human rights should not be applied on
those who commit terrorist acts.
NBC: can war be declared on terrorism?
PRESIDENT MUBARAK: War cannot be declared on terrorism. If they are 50 or 100
we cannot punish an entire innocent people.
If you do this you will be subjected to a sweeping wave of criticism and nobody
will side with you.
Retaliation should be preceded by very accurate calculations. We should not
say this is an Arab and this is a Muslim. The Americans began to mistreat Muslims
and Arabs in their country.
This is a wrong message and would divide people into groups: This is Muslim
and this is Arab. This is Asian and this is African. We should all cooperate.
Coalition would split the ranks of the international community. The way to stop
terrorism is to hold an international conference to fight terrorism and carry
out its decisions with accuracy.
This is the only means to fight terrorism. Otherwise we shall not be able to
live on our planet.