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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Bush calls halt to terror funding
A total of 27 individuals and organisations are being targeted
Individuals and organisations are being targeted
The United States has moved to cut off the flow of money to Osama Bin Laden, his al-Qaeda network and other groups it suspects of involvement in terrorism.

Money is the life-blood of terrorist operations. Today, we're asking the world to stop payment

George W Bush
President George W Bush announced he had signed an executive order freezing the US assets of 27 individuals and organisations, as the country prepares for military action in response to the suicide attacks on New York and Washington.

Mr Bush described the list - which includes Bin Laden, America's prime suspect for the attacks, and al-Qaeda - as "the financial equivalent of law enforcement's most-wanted list".

"They include terrorist organisations, individuals, terrorist leaders, a corporation that serves as a front for terrorism and several non-profit organisations," he said.

In other developments:

  • Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement admits it has lost ground to opposition forces in heavy fighting in the north of the country

  • Taleban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar says Washington cannot resolve the current crisis by killing either himself or Bin Laden.

  • Russia's President Putin offers the US and its allies the use of former Soviet airbases in central Asian republics

  • A US military delegation arrives in Pakistan to discuss logistical co-operation in possible strikes against the Taleban

  • Share prices in the US and Europe post strong gains, recovering some of last week's hefty losses

  • UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw travels to Iran to seek Tehran's support for the anti-terrorism campaign

The president's executive order also allows the US Treasury Department to freeze the US financial assets of foreign banks that refuse to co-operate in shutting down the financing operations of militant groups.

Describing the order as a "strike on the financial foundation of the global terror network", Mr Bush said this was the opening shot of a war against terrorism that would be waged on several fronts.

George W Bush
Bush has declared war on terrorism
"Money is the life-blood of terrorist operations," the president said during a news conference in the White House Rose Garden. "Today, we're asking the world to stop payment."

However, BBC Washington correspondent Paul Reynolds says the White House seems to have retreated on earlier pledges to publish evidence it says it has against Bin Laden.

Mr Bush spoke about the need to protect classified information and it now appears that no document will be published, although some evidence will be handed to friendly governments.

Last Friday, Japan said it would curb the financial dealings of people linked to Afghanistan's ruling Taleban militia and Bin Laden, who is being harboured by them.

Washington is also using financial incentives to reward supporters of the "war against terrorism".

The US has lifted sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan in the wake of the two countries' 1998 nuclear weapons tests, and rescheduled hundreds of millions of dollars of Pakistani debt.

Prof Barry Rider, Inst of Advanced Legal Studies
"It is a legal device that has been used in the past"
The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"America is determined to do whatever it takes"
Leon Fuerth, Former US National Security Advisor
"It is essential that it is not just the United States that is doing this"
See also:

24 Sep 01 | Americas
US to produce Bin Laden evidence
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
22 Sep 01 | Business
Terror attacks shares probe
19 Sep 01 | Business
Following the money trail
24 Sep 01 | Business
Will Bush's asset freeze work?
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