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U.S. official: Iran, Syria 'against all of us'
Updated: 2005-03-03 08:44

The United States kept up the pressure on Iran and Syria on Wednesday as a senior White House security official urged the international community to demand that Tehran and Damascus stop supporting terrorism.

"State sponsors of terrorism such as Iran and Syria are with the terrorists and therefore against all of us," said Frances Townsend, homeland security adviser to President Bush.

"From this day forward the community of nations must be united in demanding a complete end to the state sponsorship of terrorism," she told the Club of Madrid, a group of former government leaders, in a luncheon speech.

The United States accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons and is pressing Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon after a car bomb killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri last month.

Syria rejects accusations that it supports terrorism and Iran contends that its nuclear program is solely for civilian purposes. The two countries vowed last month to form a common front to face threats against them.

The Club of Madrid is holding an international meeting on democracy, terrorism and security in Madrid next week to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the March 11, 2004 train bombings in the Spanish capital.

Townsend praised Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which some American critics say have not done enough to fight terrorism, as "ever stronger partners in the war against terror."

She added: "Their continued good efforts must be acknowledged and applauded."

Partnerships with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others were essential to ensure that al Qaeda and other extremist groups did not find a sanctuary, she said.

"If you write a check, if you provide a safe house, if you allow your laws to remain weak and if you fail to pass critical information to your neighbors about terrorists ... if you knowingly allow terrorists to move freely through your country -- you have sided with extremism and against the free world," Townsend said.

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