|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Maher El Sayed
Remarks to Members of the African Diplomatic Corps
Washington, D.C., August 11, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
AMBASSADOR MAHER: Madame Secretary, thank you for receiving us. Before reading the statement by the African ambassadors, may I say that we all share this sad moment of grief where, as you just said, we are all in this together. This grief at this tragic moment does not decrease our determination to work together in eradicating this horrible scourge of terrorism, and to continue to do what is right, what is good for our peoples and for humanity.
May I read now the statement by the African ambassadors in the United States of America:
"We, the heads of the African diplomatic missions accredited to the United States of America, wish to express our profound sorrow for the cowardly, criminal and tragic acts of Friday, August 7, 1998, in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
"On behalf of our continent, Africa, we express our deepest sympathy and convey our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and to the entire American people. We also wish a speedy recovery to the injured. We express our heartfelt gratitude to President Clinton for having conveyed his condolences to the peoples of Kenya and Tanzania.
"Terrorism is inconsistent with our African history, our tradition, our culture and our beliefs. We, therefore, condemn in the strongest terms this heinous and unacceptable act which has been perpetrated against the peoples of America and Africa. Africans have died side by side with their American brothers and sisters in this tragedy. We wish to reaffirm the commitment of our governments to continue to fight terrorism. Americans and Africans need to strengthen their cooperation in this universal battle. We trust that the perpetrators will be found and severely punished for this horrible crime."
Once again, our condolences.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Ambassador Maher, Excellencies, on behalf of the United States, I deeply appreciate your expression of condolences and support during this sad and difficult time.
As you know, I will leave tomorrow morning for Germany and will bring home the bodies of the 10 of the 12 American victims of the explosion in Nairobi. I hope also to meet with some of the injured being treated there -- American and Kenyan. Around mid-day on Thursday, we will have a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base. The President will speak, and I hope many of you will be able to attend.
Weíre mindful that a large majority of the victims of these crimes were Kenyan and Tanzanian; and I have been in touch with Foreign Minister Godana and Foreign Minister Kikwete to express our sorrow at the tragedy that their people have suffered. We have all watched this horror on television and have seen the sufferings of the Kenyan and Tanzanian people who were injured in huge numbers and have been great friends, great supporters and are the innocent victims of this horrible crime.
The United States was pleased to provide search and rescue equipment, blood and other medical supplies and doctors. At the same time, Americans have been deeply impressed by the courage shown by the rescue workers -- especially in Kenya, where the carnage was the worst. It seems that a Kenyan security guard, doing his job well and with bravery, prevented what could have been an even more disastrous explosion. For that, we are most grateful.
I look forward to visiting both countries as soon as that can be done without further increasing the burdens on our people there. I have been in touch with the embassies specifically on that subject. I made clear that I wanted to come when it was not a burden, because they have enough burdens.
Last Friday, President Clinton called the bombings abhorrent and inhuman, and said that the United States will use all the means at our disposal to bring those responsible to justice, no matter what it takes and no matter how long it takes. I want to reaffirm that statement today.
The explosions are a reminder that terrorism is indiscriminate. It is the tool of cowards. Itís victims are most often good, innocent people who are just trying to go about the business of their lives. Terror is not a form of political expression. It is certainly not a manifestation of religious faith. It is murder, plain and simple; and those who perpetrate it, finance it and otherwise support it must be opposed by all decent people.
Thatís why Iíve been heartened by the close cooperation we have had with authorities in Kenya and Tanzania from the moment the tragedies occurred. And itís why I want to thank you for the help that your governments have provided by sharing information and tightening security at our embassies in recent days. And itís why Iím so encouraged by your words of support and commitment here this afternoon.
These attacks may have been directed at America; but if so, it is because America stands for peace in the world and for law and prosperity and democracy. I know that these are the goals of Africans, as well. As President Clinton made clear during his trip last March, we are determined to work towards these objectives together.
Rest assured that these bombings will not cause America to back down or retreat. We will not be intimidated. We will maintain our presence in Africa and elsewhere where we are welcome or needed. And we will maintain our commitment to building a strong, new relationship with a new Africa.
There have been disturbing events in recent months in the Horn, in Angola, in Sierra Leone and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have much to be concerned about and much to do: settling differences without violence; gaining approval of the Desertification Convention and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act; building democracy; expanding trade; fighting poverty and disease; and, especially now, cracking down on the forces of terror.
In the newspaper this morning, thereís a quote from a man who was pulled from the Ufundi Cooperative building after 36 hours of being trapped in the rubble. He said he survived because "the courage of the mind is greater than the body; I never gave up hope."
It is vital that we all act on that basis -- driven not by fear, but by hope; by the conviction that we can forge a future better than the past. So let us go forward with the faith to meet together the array of challenges we face as partners and as friends.
Thank you, once again -- all of you -- for making this visit to the State Department today. I hope that the next time we see each other, it will be under happier circumstances, because we do all have an awful lot of work to do together and itís easier to do when weíre all smiling.
[End of Document]
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