- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 2, 2002

NEW YORK Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told world business and political leaders yesterday that the United States would fight terrorism not only with guns, but also by battling poverty and repression.
"We have to go after poverty. We have to go after despair. We have to go after hopelessness," he told the World Economic Forum.
"We have to show people who might move in the direction of terrorism that there is a better way. We have to rededicate ourselves to freedom and democracy."
The gathering of 2,700 influential political, cultural, religious and business people moved its annual meeting here from Davos, Switzerland, this year to show its solidarity with the city that suffered the brunt of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Part of the battle against terrorism, he said, is the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Mr. Powell is the most senior of dozens of U.S. Cabinet members and lawmakers who are attending the five-day gathering.
Security remained tight around the forum, but there were few protests, and those that took place caused no disruptions.
Scores of speakers at the forum have been urging the United States and other members of the anti-terrorism coalition to see alienation and poverty as breeding the hatred that builds the bombs.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo told reporters yesterday that she believes the military war on terrorism is nearly completed and that resources could now be shifted to alleviate poverty.
"We are achieving something close to victory in the fight against terrorism, and I hope this unprecedented international coalition doesn't drift away," she said.
Saying that poverty is the "handmaiden of terrorism," she lamented that the money spent to rout al Qaeda from the caves of Afghanistan could have been spent years earlier on aid and development.
She said that Basilan island in the southern Philippines, where the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf is still active, remains the poorest province in the Philippines, with the highest rate of illiteracy and poverty and lowest life expectancy.
But helping countries overcome their troubles isn't always easy, Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill said at a panel on the role of the United States in the global economy.
"Over the last 50 years, hundreds of billions have been spent in the name of economic development, with so many of the countries that have been major recipients still not showing strong evidence of positive change," he said.
Mr. Powell scheduled a meeting later yesterday with Mrs. Arroyo to discuss the more than 600 U.S. troops just deployed in her country, as well as the global anti-terror coalition.
Mr. Powell also met privately with French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and South Korean Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo, who also serves as president of the U.N. General Assembly.
In his public remarks, Mr. Powell revisited many of the themes that President Bush emphasized in his State of the Union address Tuesday.
But he made it clear that the war on terrorism is not winding down.
"We have to look at those nations that proliferate weapons of mass destruction or other technologies to these states that might lend or provide these kinds of weapons to terrorist organizations," he said during a panel discussion.
"We can't just stop with a single terrorist or a single terrorist organization; we have to go and root out the whole system," Mr. Powell said.
Appearing with Mr. Powell on the stage of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel's Grand Ballroom, Mr. Vedrine said "unilateral diplomacy" on the part of the United States ultimately would harm international counterterrorism efforts. The remarks were a reference to Mr. Bush's State of the Union address that labeled Iran, Iraq and North Korea an "Axis of evil."
Constant drizzle for a second day dampened planned rallies by anti-globalization protesters, and the few street events were organized and peaceful, unlike many recent international conferences that have seen protests escalate into violence.
Outside the Waldorf, the area set aside for demonstrators was nearly empty yesterday afternoon.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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