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Powell decries terrorism, cuts short trip to South America

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 11, 2001


LIMA, Peru (AP) - Secretary of State Colin Powell, in Peru for a special session of the Organization of American States, decried today's acts of terrorism on American soil.

"Once again, we see terrorism, we see terrorists, people who don't believe in democracy, people who feel that with the destruction of buildings, with the murder of people, they can somehow achieve a political purpose," he said.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York were hit by planes and later collapsed this morning. Within an hour, the Pentagon was hit by a plane, causing a section of the building to collapse, quickly spreading fear and chaos in the nation's capital.

"They can destroy buildings, they can kill people, and we will be saddened by this tragedy, but they will never be allowed to kill the spirit of democracy. You can be assured that America will deal with this tragedy in a way that brings those responsible to justice.

"You can be sure that as terrible a day as this is for us, we will get through it because we are a strong nation, a nation that believes in itself," Powell said.

He had joined 33 foreign ministers and ambassadors at the special session to help push through a pact he said would help nations learn how to behave like democracies.

The OAS held a moment of silence and approved a resolution condemning the attack.

Powell returned to the airport for his flight back to Washington under heavy security.

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