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U.S. Says China, Russia, Cuba, Syria, Libya Abet Terrorism

Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM

That comment from Under Secretary of State John R. Bolton came in a Q&A session after a speech Monday in which he added Cuba, Libya and Syria to the list of rogue terrorist nations, second only to the "axis of evil” first described by President Bush in January when he bestowed that dubious honor on Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

"I only had a half an hour to give the speech,” said Bolton when asked why he didn’t come down equally hard on the two larger powers.

"I’d just like to hear from a single Russian who can say how a nuclear-equipped ballistic missile-capable Iran is in Russia’s national interest,” the under secretary told a group at the Heritage Foundation.

"Of course, there isn’t any answer. And that’s why we hope we can persuade the government of Russia to cease and desist.”

His boss, Secretary of State Colin Powell, has referred to China and Russia as U.S. allies and has

Though stopping short of including Russia and China in the "axis of evil” of rogue states, Bolton did say the U.S. expected them to abide by non-proliferation agreements.

It is not clear exactly when U.S. patience with these powerful nations will run out. But in his speech, the high State Department official said that those who do not become part of the U.S. effort against terror "can expect to become the target of it.”

Bolton did say the U.S. was working with the Chinese and the Russians on arms agreements and other cooperative efforts.

As forecast by NewsMax.com, Bolton came down hard on Cuba as a nation that provides "safe haven for terrorists” from around the world.

In so doing, he flatly rejected a Clinton administration report in 1998 that concluded Cuba did not represent a significant military threat to the U.S. He credited Cuba’s "aggressive intelligence operations against these United States” for keeping this nation largely in the dark about threats from the communist island 90 miles from the U.S. Last year’s arrest of a Cuban agent working for the Defense Intelligence Agency was cited as an example.

"The United States,” Bolton went on, "believes that Cuba has at least a limited offensive biological research and development effort.”

Biological and chemical warfare, along with harboring terrorists, pose a potential threat to the lives of millions of Americans. Castro has thumbed his nose at diplomatic initiatives for more than 40 years.

Castro "collaborates with other state sponsors of terror," Bolton said. Cuba has developed a sophisticated biomedical industry, and "analysts and Cuban defectors have long cast suspicion on the activities conducted in these biomedical facilities."

Last year Castro visited Syria and Libya, as well as Iran. The United States has called on Cuba to cease all bioweapons-applicable cooperation with rogue nations and to comply with all its international treaty obligations, Bolton said.

In answer to a question from NewsMax.com, Bolton declined to say when all diplomacy with Havana is likely to be exhausted. Any thought of military action, he reminded us, is a matter for the Defense Department.

Significantly, however, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security did say the U.S. would pursue diplomatic measures, international condemnation and uncover terrorist activities, "or otherwise bring a halt to their activities.”

The U.S., Bolton said, was determined "to prevent the next wave of terror,” and "will take whatever steps are necessary to protect and defend our interests and eliminate the terrorist threat.”

Libya and Syria are pursuing development or have the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction, sometimes in violation of international treaties to which they are signatories, he said.

"Beyond the "axis of evil," there are other rogue states intent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, particularly biological weapons," Bolton said. "Given our vulnerability to an attack from biological agents ... it is important to carefully assess and respond to potential proliferators.

"As the president has said, 'America will do what is necessary to ensure our national security.'"

Bolton called the potential spread of weapons of mass destruction "the gravest security threat" the United States and its allies face.

"The attacks of Sept. 11 reinforced with blinding clarity the need to be steadfast in the face of emerging threats to our security," he said. "The international security environment has changed, and our greatest threat comes not from the specter of nuclear war between two superpowers ... but from transnational terrorist cells that will strike without warning using weapons of mass destruction."

The United States suspects Libya has a "longstanding pursuit" of nuclear weapons, and since the lifting of U.N. sanctions in 1999, the regime of Moammar Gadhafi has been able to increase its access to dual-use technologies, Bolton said. It has been able to re-establish contacts with "illicit foreign sources of expertise, parts and precursor chemicals" for chemical weapons.

Libya, not a signatory to the chemical weapons convention, had produced at least 100 tons of chemical weapons at a facility that later closed but then reopened in 1995 as a "pharmaceutical plant." It is possible the plant could still be used to produce chemical weapons, Bolton said.

"Significantly for predictive purposes, Libya became a state party to the BWC [Biological Weapons Convention] in January 1982, but the U.S. believes that Libya has continued its biological warfare program," he said.

Just last week,

Syria, meanwhile, is believed to have a long-standing chemical warfare program. It has stockpiled sarin gas and is engaged in the research to develop VX, a more toxic nerve agent than sarin, Bolton said.

Syria's missiles, the official noted, are within striking distance of Israel, Jordan and Turkey.

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That comment from Under Secretary of State John R. Bolton came in a Q&A session after a speech Monday in which he added Cuba, Libya and Syria to the list of rogue terrorist nations, second only to the axis of evil" first described by President Bush in January when he...
Monday, 06 May 2002 12:00 AM
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