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Audiotape from al-Qaida's No. 2 airs

By Associated Press
Published June 12, 2004

CAIRO, Egypt - A purported audiotape from al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri broadcast Friday says regional reforms will come through "the determination to resist," an apparent reference to a U.S. plan to promote democratic reform in the Middle East.

The comments, aired on the Arab satellite station Al-Arabiya, came after the Group of Eight industrialized nations agreed on the plan at a summit this week.

"The real reform project starts within us. It starts by implanting the will to resist, in our souls and the souls of our children and the next generations," said the voice on the tape.

The station said it played just a small portion of the tape. Editor in chief Salah Negm refused to say how Al-Arabiya received the 10-minute audiotape.

The CIA and other intelligence agencies are analyzing the tape to determine if it is al-Zawahri.

Middle East reforms have been a dominant topic recently, climaxing this week with the Group of Eight agreement. Most Arab countries were cool to the U.S. proposal, insisting that reforms must not be imposed by the West.

[Last modified June 11, 2004, 23:46:13]

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