- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2001

From combined dispatches
AL SHA'AFA, Oman British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in Oman for a morale-building visit to British troops, assured allies yesterday that the U.S.-led war on terror would not spread beyond Afghanistan without full consultation.
A top aide to Mr. Blair went further, playing down speculation that Washington and London might shift their sights to Iraq in their campaign against violent extremists.
Elsewhere among members of the anti-terror coalition, Canada announced its largest overseas military commitment since the Korean War, but Russia said it would not allow its airspace to be used for attacks on Afghanistan.
Mr. Blair told Reuters Television that the first phase of action in response to the attacks on the United States was aimed solely at bringing those responsible to justice.
He identified them in an interview as "the terrorist networks operating out of Afghanistan, sheltered and helped by the Taliban regime."
"The second phase is where we look at where else international terrorism is operating," said Mr. Blair, who is also using his trip to shore up Arab support for the war on Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terror network.
"If there were evidence that a country was actually helping terrorists, that would be important, but before we take any action, we will deliberate and discuss with other allies," Mr. Blair said, before rolling up his sleeves and striding into the desert to visit British troops.
"You never know when you are going to be called upon to fight, to put your lives at risk," Mr. Blair told nearly 200 soldiers who crowded around him in the desert. "We are defending certain values, certain things we believe in, our own way of life."
Canada has also embraced a role in the U.S.-led campaign, pledging to send its largest combat force abroad since the Korean War.
"Canada Goes to War," trumpeted a front-page headline in the Ottawa Citizen. There were similar declarations in other newspapers after the nation announced its role on Monday.
Defense Minister Art Eggleton said the contribution included four naval frigates, one destroyer and one supply ship, along with four military transport planes, two surveillance planes and a special-forces unit trained in anti-terrorism techniques.
More than 2,000 military-force members are to take part.
"The free and civilized nations of the world have joined hands to press the first great struggle for justice of the 21st century the struggle to defy and defeat the forces of terrorism," Prime Minister Jean Chretien said at the final session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Ottawa.
Russia, however, repeated yesterday that it will not allow U.S. warplanes to use its airspace to attack Afghanistan, despite its strong support for the strikes against the Taliban.
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told the Federation Council upper house of parliament that only transport aircraft ferrying relief supplies to zones affected by the strikes would be granted air corridors.
"Russia is ready to make air corridors available only to transport aircraft, I would like to stress this. There is not, and cannot be, any question of warplanes," Mr. Ivanov said in remarks carried by state-run RTR television.
Mr. Ivanov was making the first statement to parliament by a government minister since Russia sided with Washington in the war on terrorism initiated by President Bush.
President Vladimir Putin discussed the crisis in a 30-minute telephone conversation with Uzbek President Islam Karimov yesterday, the Interfax news agency reported.
A group of senior Russian generals also left for Tashkent and Dushanbe, the capitals of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, respectively. Tajikistan said that U.S. forces can use its bases for strikes in Afghanistan.
Uzbekistan has said it would make one airfield available for humanitarian purposes.

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