- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

NEW YORK — Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf yesterday condemned acts of terrorism, but exempted Kashmiris and Palestinians from reproach, saying their struggles against oppression is justified by U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Speaking at an antiterrorism conference on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly debate beginning today, Gen. Musharraf told a dozen world leaders and foreign ministers the United Nations must find a definition of terrorism that does not include such movements, which “cannot be equated with terrorism.”

“Mostly state terrorism targets people seeking freedom from foreign occupation — as in Palestine and Kashmir,” he said. “Their oppression through state terrorism is all the more unacceptable because they were assured self-determination by no less than the U.N. Security Council.”

The criteria would seem to offer cover to Iraqi guerrilla attacks against U.S. and other coalition soldiers. Pakistani officials in Washington and New York declined to elaborate on his remarks.

Security Council Resolution 1483 describes the U.S.-led administration in Iraq as an “occupating” authority and calls for the restoration of sovereignty to the Iraqi people.

Gen. Musharraf was one of several speakers at yesterday’s conference to reject the West’s belief in a strain of “militant Islam.”

“The fact is that today most of the unresolved political disputes and issues involve Muslims,” he said. “Their demands for justice are often brushed aside. This has given rise to hopelessness, frustration and desperation.”

The conference was organized by the International Peace Academy, a New York-based think tank, and the government of Norway.

Most of the speakers stressed that a military reaction alone will not win the war on terrorism. Instead, they said, long-term approaches must be undertaken to alleviate poverty and increase understanding of foreign cultures. However, they stressed, poverty alone is not an excuse.

“We … delude ourselves if we think that military force alone can defeat terrorism,” said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, just hours after a second car bomb exploded near the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.

“It may sometimes be necessary to use force to counter terrorist groups. But we need to do much more than that if terrorism is to be stopped.”

The United States was represented by Sen. Richard G. Lugar, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Indiana Republican, speaking from prepared remarks, concentrated on the military aspects of counterterrorism and homeland security, including a “reshaped military,” improved intelligence and better diplomacy.

He also singled out a number of nations for attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including Pakistan, India, Syria, Iran, North Korea and Iraq. Several speakers later complained about the exclusion of Israel, which is a presumed nuclear state.

“The United States cannot lift every person out of poverty, cannot cure every disease,” Mr. Lugar said in an apparent rejoinder to calls for increased assistance.

French President Jacques Chirac suggested September 11 be adopted as an international day of antiterrorism.

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan pleaded for international assistance to combat terrorism and praised his countrymen for resisting the Taliban’s grip.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa complained of an international double standard that protects Israel from nonproliferation and counterterrorism efforts, and said that poverty is as much a crime as terrorism.

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