Video: Head of Arab League

msnbc.com
updated 8/11/2005 5:45:04 PM ET 2005-08-11T21:45:04

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in London and Egypt, there have been increasing calls for leaders in the Arab world to condemn the activities of extremists.

On Monday, MSNBC's Rita Cosby sat down with Amre Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League, for an exclusive interview. The two discussed a number of topics, including his reaction to the attacks and the situation in Iraq.

"We're angry, sad.  We feel we're all in the same boat, regardless of whatever -- where you are, in Europe, in Africa, in the Mideast, in America.  We're all in the same boat," Moussa said when asked about the recent bombings. "So, we cannot live with terrorism, waves of terrorism.  That has really sown havoc in many cities.  And the casualties are always innocent civilians."

Moussa called the terrorists "criminals," and noted their ignorance, but said it's most important to concentrate on prevention.

"We cannot defeat terrorism only through security measures.  We have to have a political understanding of the seriousness of the situation, the causes behind that, the effects, the organizations.  So, we must have a comprehensive approach," he said.

Moussa, an Egyptian, said he disagreed with the U.S. State Department's recent advisory that Americans not travel to Egypt and noted that people in his country  are not anti-American.

"It is anti-certain American policies," he said. "There is a huge, strong, solid opposition to the policies of the United States, especially when it comes to the Middle East and the bias in its policy between -- towards Israel, at the expense of the other side.  But this is a policy that could change and that should change."

Moussa said another policy that needs to change is the U.S. presence in Iraq.

"The best thing for Iraq is to have a plan, a reconciliation among all members of the Iraqis fighting, not to exclude any of the groups, so, reconciliation, a time frame for the withdrawal of the forces.  A time frame -- it's not a question of, you should withdraw today or tomorrow, but a time frame, an agreed time frame," he said. "That would send a message to the people in Iraq and around that it is not a question of, we are not coming to stay, but we are going to leave."

"You have to start," Moussa added, speaking of a U.S. pullout. "You have to start, because this is one of the reasons of the agitation in Iraq."

To watch the complete interview between Moussa and Cosby, click on the "Launch" button above and to the right. Watch 'Hardball' each night at 7 p.m. ET on MSNBC. 

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