07 August 2003
Powell: U.S. Will Not be Defeated in War Against Terror
Discusses world issues in briefing for foreign
The United States is determined to unite the civilized world in
a campaign to rid the world of terrorism and will not be deterred
or defeated in this effort, Secretary of State Colin Powell said
August 7 in a question and answer session with journalists at the
State Department's Foreign Press Center in Washington, and via
satellite at the New York and Los Angeles centers.
"We're seeing our friends around the world understand the seriousness
of this issue," Powell said.
He pointed to arrests in Saudi Arabia of suspected terrorists
and the uncovering of caches of munitions there, and similar actions
in other countries.
Despite continuing acts of terrorism like the one earlier in the
day at the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad and the day before at the
Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Powell said a lot of progress is being
made in the war against terror.
"[T]he terrorists need to know that we will not be deterred. We
will certainly not be defeated. And we are ever more determined
to go after them wherever they are, until this scourge is dealt
with," he said.
Powell condemned the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy. He said
he telephoned Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher to convey
U.S. regret over the injuries to Jordanian Embassy staff members,
and the deaths of Iraqi police officers and others at the scene.
Powell said that over time coalition forces will be able to deal
with Baath party holdouts and others who he said are trying to
deny Iraqis peace and a better life.
"As time goes by, they will learn more and more and more about
the nature of the threat that's out there, who's responsible for
these attacks," he said. "And slowly but surely, they will isolate
them, get them, and bring the security situation under control."
Powell predicted that Saddam Hussein will be located "in due course," though
he cautioned that this in itself, like the deaths of his sons in
July, would not solve the security situation.
Powell said "the removal of a despot from office in Baghdad" and "the
ascension of Prime Minister Abbas to prime ministership of the
Palestinian Authority" has created "a new strategic situation" in
the Middle East.
These events, he said, "allowed us to get started on the road
map" for peace -- sponsored by the United States, Russia, the European
Union, and the United Nations.
"We have seen some progress since the summits at Sharm el-Sheikh
and Aqaba," he said, "but we need to see a lot more."
Powell urged "a concerted effort on the part of the Palestinian
Authority to go after those organizations within the Palestinian
community that have the capacity of conducting terrorist acts --
organizations such as Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad."
"We can't have a situation where during a time of a cease-fire,
those organizations are improving their capability, testing new
weapons, or creating new factories in order to build more weapons," he
said. "So, we're looking for a concerted effort on the part of
the Palestinian security officials to go after the infrastructure,
the terrorist infrastructure that exists within the Palestinian
Regarding the responsibility of the Israelis, Powell said the
United States is in conversations with Israeli officials about
prisoner releases, about the nature of their settlement activity.
"[W]e want to see settlement activity ended," he said, and "there
is a discussion ongoing with the Israelis about the fence that
is being put up, and in certain places the fence is actually a
wall. We have concerns about that fence. We have problems with
it. We have expressed our concerns to the Israelis, and the Israelis
are considering the problems that we have identified to them, and
we expect that dialogue to continue until we can find a solution."
On the question of U.S. loan guarantees to Israel, Powell said
the United States has not made any decisions or announcements about
this yet. "But we have to be faithful to the congressional direction
that we had with respect to how to use these loan guarantee monies," he
On relations between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir
Putin, Powell said the two "have worked very closely together over
the last two years, have become good friends and talk about a wide
range of bilateral issues and international issues. And even when
there is disagreement, such as there was over Iraq, we recognize
that the broader relationship is such that we can work our way
through these disagreements without seeing a relationship go off
On North Korea, Powell said "there should be ways to capture assurances
to the North Koreans from not only the United States but, we believe,
from other parties in the region that there is no hostile intent
among the parties who might be participating" in a multilateral
discussion with North Korea.
"[W]hen one comes up with such a document or such a written assurance,
there are ways that Congress can take note of it" through a resolution
of some kind, he said, "without it being a treaty or some kind
On Liberia, Powell said the Bush administration expects Liberian
President Charles Taylor to leave the country. "If Mr. Taylor leaves
Liberia, as we expect him to do in the very near future, and is
given asylum in Nigeria, this does not remove the indictment" against
him by the United Nations tribunal for Sierra Leone, Powell said. "It
then becomes a matter between Mr. Taylor" and the tribunal, Powell
said. "And we support the indictment. He certainly has allegations
against him which I think clearly warrant him appearing before
On the situation in Venezuela, Powell said "We are pleased that
a mechanism was found where the government, under President Chavez,
and the opposition could have this referendum to allow the people
of Venezuela to speak and to be heard with respect to the nature
of their government.
"We support democracy in Venezuela, we support the constitutional
process in Venezuela, and we have found a constitutional way to
deal with the conflict, the disagreement between the government
and the opposition. And it is up to the people of Venezuela to
determine how they will be governed. And as long as it is done
in a free, open, democratic and constitutional way, the United
States will be supportive."
On U.S. relations with Africa, Powell said President Bush returned
from his recent visit to Africa "deeply impressed and moved" by
the vitality and promise he saw in Africa, "and also, moved by
the challenges he saw."
"And so, he came back from Africa reassured that the approach
that he has taken to Africa since the beginning of this administration
is the correct approach: engage, be visible, have real programs
and make sure that our policy is one that is based on real substance
and not just style."
Following is a transcript of Powell's remarks:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
August 7, 2003
PRESS BRIEFING SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN L. POWELL
The Washington Foreign Press Center
Thursday, August 7, 2003
11:30 a.m. EDT
MR. BALLARD: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to
the Washington Foreign Press Center. A special welcome to our journalists
at the L.A. Foreign Press Center and at the New York Foreign Press
We are delighted to host today a man who, a few months ago from
this podium, promised to be back soon. Here he is, keeping his
promise, the Secretary of State.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, and it is a privilege to
be back at the Foreign Press Center, as I said to you the last
time that I would be back soon. And I say to you again today that
after this appearance, depending on how well you behave -- (laughter)
-- I will be back again. But I do look forward to these encounters
and I enjoyed our last session very much.
I will keep my opening comments very brief so we can get to your
questions. I might mention that earlier this morning I called the
Foreign Minister of Jordan, Foreign Minister Muasher, and expressed
my regrets on the incident that took place in Baghdad earlier today
with the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy, and regret the injuries
to Jordanian personnel as well as the loss of life of innocent
Iraqi citizens who were just out in the street going about their
business when this terrorist act took place.
When you think of that terrorist act, when you think of what happened
in Jakarta at the Marriott Hotel, when you think of the other incidents
that we have seen in recent times, it reminds us, once again, that
we all must come together, the civilized world must come together
to defeat the scourge of terrorism in whatever manner it manifests
We cannot move into this 21st century and work hard to provide
hope to people as long as these kinds of incidents take place.
The President has made it clear that he will stay with this campaign
against terrorism and we will unite the world in this campaign
against terrorism. And I think we have seen a great deal of progress.
We are seeing our friends around the world understand the seriousness
of this issue. We have seen what has happened in Saudi Arabia lately
with all of the arrests that have taken place and the uncovering
of caches of munitions. And we have seen similar actions in other
The terrorists need to know that we will not be deterred, we will
certainly not be defeated, and we are ever more determined to go
after them wherever they are until this scourge is dealt with.
At the same time that we worry about these kinds of incidents
and we see them on our screen, we should also acknowledge that
we are living in a time of hope and promise. In Iraq, a dictator
is gone; a people are free. They are returning to schools. They
are opening their universities. The power is being restored. The
infrastructure is being rebuilt. The economy is starting to function.
We have a Governing Council that has been put in place and has
elected -- selected a rotating presidency so that this Governing
Council can be represented to other institutions around the world,
and this is an important first step on the road to that point where
we return full sovereignty of Iraq back to the Iraqi people, which
is our goal.
As the President and Ambassador Bremer and all of my colleagues
in the Administration have said, we intend to not stay any longer
than we have to, but we will stay long enough to make sure that
we allow the Iraqi people, permit them, empower them to put in
place a representative form of government that will make sure that
the wealth of Iraq is used to benefit the people of Iraq. We are
making good progress in that regard even though, as we see on our
screens today, there are still difficulties ahead.
But the very brave young men and women of the coalition forces
and the other nations that are now joining that force, they are
determined to do their job and they are competent to do the job
-- restoring security throughout Iraq and then allowing the Iraqi
people to decide how they wish to be governed, and to make sure
that the treasure that is in their oil is for the purpose of benefiting
the people of Iraq.
There are many other positive things happening in the world today.
The President's recent trip to Africa gave us a chance to highlight
what we are trying to do with our campaign against HIV/AIDS, what
we are trying to do with our Millennium Challenge Account to help
those nations that are committed to democracy to improve their
infrastructure so that they can attract aid.
Our trade initiatives around the world, the recent passage of
the Chile-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the Singapore Free Trade Agreement,
what we are trying to do in Central America, the Free Trade Area
of the Americas -- all intended for the purpose of breaking down
barriers to trade in order for goods to flow and jobs to be created,
and wealth to be created that will benefit all the peoples of the
So these are exciting times, interesting times, challenging times,
but, above all, they are promising times. The President and I had
a good chance over the last 48 hours, down at his ranch in Crawford
with Dr. Rice, to reflect on all of these issues and the opportunities
that are ahead of us, as well as the challenges that are there.
And as you know, the President is spending a good part of his
vacation time talking to members of his National Security team,
and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld and the Vice President will
be down there this evening to have discussions, along with the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on defense transformation
issues and other defense issues.
With that, I'll just stop and open myself up to your questions.
MR. BALLARD: Okay, I would like to remind you of three things:
first, wait for the microphone for your question; second, please
identify yourself and your news organization; and, third, take
your two- and three-part questions and turn them into one-part
questions, please. (Laughter.)
But, first, we are actually going to the L.A. Foreign Press Center
for a question there. L.A.?
QUESTION: Good morning, Secretary Powell. My name is Mochtar Balde
and I come from Guinea, which is a neighboring country to Liberia.
My question is about Liberia. And will it be politically correct
to say that there is an argument between Nigerian authorities and
the U.S. Government to grant Taylor asylum in Nigeria instead of
handing him over to the United Nations for war crimes? Is this
action due to the fact the U.S. is opposed and did not ratify the
Thank you, sir.
SECRETARY POWELL: No, it bears no relationship to the ICC or International
Criminal Court. This was the special tribunal for Sierra Leone
that placed the indictment on Charles Taylor. It is an indictment
that we understand and support.
If Mr. Taylor leaves Liberia, as we expect him to do in the very
near future, and is given asylum in Nigeria, this does not remove
the indictment in any way; it then becomes a matter between Mr.
Taylor and the Sierra Leone tribunal, the UN Tribunal for Sierra
Leone. And we support the indictment. He certainly has allegations
against him which I think clearly warrant him appearing before
MR. BALLARD: Now we move to New York for one question, and then
we'll come here. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I am Paolo Mastrolilli, correspondent for the Vatican
radio and the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa. My question is
regarding the peace process in the Middle East. I know that this
issue is still down the road, but I would like to know if the U.S.
Government is open to the possibility of considering an international
status for the holy sites in Jerusalem or any kind of an international
verified solution for this issue?
SECRETARY POWELL: There have been many suggestions over the years
for an international solution manifesting itself, first perhaps,
in an international stabilization force or international monitors
or peacekeepers of some kind or another, or internationalization
of the holy sites.
We are not engaged on those issues right now. The issue before
us right now is to keep moving forward in this first stage of the
roadmap that was put forward by the Quartet under the leadership
of the United States. We have seen some progress since the summits
at Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba. We have seen Gaza and Bethlehem turned
over to Palestinian control from Israeli control. We have seen
the level of terror and violence go down significantly, and there
can be no dispute about that. There have been some prisoner releases.
There have been some unauthorized outposts removed by the Israelis.
But we need to see a lot more. We need to see a more concerted
effort against the capacity for terrorist activity on the Palestinian
side. It is not enough just to have a ceasefire, a hudna, as it
is called, which could be ended any day. What we really need is
a concerted effort on the part of the Palestinian Authority to
go after those organizations within the Palestinian community that
have the capacity of conducting terrorist acts, organizations such
as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
We can't have a situation where, during a time of a ceasefire,
those organizations are improving their capability, testing new
weapons or creating new factories in order to build more weapons.
So we are looking for a concerted effort on the part of the Palestinian
security officials to go after the infrastructure, the terrorist
infrastructure that exists within the Palestinian community.
On the Israeli side, we are in conversations with our Israeli
colleagues about prisoner releases, about the nature of their settlement
activity. As the President has said, we want to see settlement
activity ended. And as you know, there is a discussion ongoing
with the Israelis about the fence that is being put up. And, in
certain places, the fence is actually a wall.
We have concerns about that fence. We have problems with it. We
have expressed our concerns to the Israelis, and the Israelis are
considering the problems that we have identified to them, and we
expect that dialogue to continue until we can find a solution.
MR. BALLARD: Let's go with him, and then we'll come to (inaudible).
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary of State, Ian Pinel from BBC News. I'd
like to talk about Iraq and the security situation there. You played
a lot of detail about the civilian successes. But after today's
bombing and the deaths of two more U.S. servicemen -- two parts
of, I guess, the same point -- first of all, is it safe to assume
that the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein have not generated the
security that was hoped?
And, secondly, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez says that the
U.S. military is dropping its iron-fisted approach to security.
So what is the approach to security?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think anyone should have expected that
just the death of the two sons would have completely resolved the
security situation. And when, in due course, we learn the fate
of Saddam Hussein, I wouldn't expect that, in and of itself, to
solve the security problem.
There are still individuals within Iraq, leftover Baathists, Fedeyeen
-- there are some who are coming in from outside -- who are determined
to deny the Iraqis their desire for peace and a better life and
for a new country. So we will continue to deal with the security
threat and use whatever techniques are appropriate.
As the General said this morning, it may not always be the best
technique to flood an area. It may be what you want to do is stand
back a little bit more and let Iraqis, local officials -- we have
started to create security forces -- Iraqis have started to create
security forces that will protect installations, so that you don't
need a coalition military organization protecting that installation.
And I think what the General was saying is that we have to be
nimble, flexible, as we say in American slang, "call audibles," and
change as the situation changes. I think as time goes by, and just
knowing all these generals and knowing how they go about their
business, as time goes by, they will learn more and more and more
about the nature of the threat that is out there, who is responsible
for these attacks; and slowly but surely, they will isolate them,
get them, and bring the security situation under control through
the use of coalition military force, with the use of the other
peacekeepers coming in, the stabilization force coming in, and
through the creation of Iraqi police, military and other sorts
of police units that can guard stationary facilities and not tie
up coalition forces doing that. So the General is being flexible
and responding to the threat as the threat changes.
MR. BALLARD: Okay, let's go with Reha.
QUESTION: Reha Atasagan with the Turkish Public Television, TRT.
Mr. Secretary, on the deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq. When
our Foreign Minister was here two weeks ago, you said you would
like to have a decision as soon as possible. Any progress since
And are you facing any opposition from the Iraqi Kurdish groups
on this matter and also on the cooperation with Turkey to end the
presence of PKK and KADEK in Northern Iraq? Thank you.
SECRETARY POWELL: When Foreign Minister Gul was here two weeks
ago, I communicated to him that we would like to see a Turkish
contribution and we hoped that they would be able to move quickly.
And they had just received the request, and he assured me that
it would be given every consideration. And I think it will take
them some time to analyze this within the Turkish Government, but
we are satisfied that the request will be given every consideration.
We are also confident that any Turkish contribution can be managed
in a way that would be acceptable to all parties in Iraq and would
not cause any strains with the Kurdish population.
And, of course, with respect to PKK and KADEK, we work with our
Turkish friends to try to end this threat through assimilation
of people back into normal society so that our Turkish friends
are not under any kind of terrorist threats from these sorts of
So, in all three areas that you touched on, I think we are having
good discussions with our Turkish colleagues. I am very pleased
with the level of cooperation and exchange that takes place, both
within political/diplomatic channels and within military channels.
MR. BALLARD: Okay, let's go to Sonia and then Ben.
QUESTION: Thank you. Sonia Schott, Globovision Venezuela. My question
is on Latin America, on Venezuela specifically.
In the coming days, the possibility of a recall referendum will
decide the future of the Venezuelan democracy. Venezuelan democracy
was once the most stable in Latin America. Do you have any comment
And my second, very short. They announced -- the American Government
announced they granted yesterday the first asylum to one of the
participants of the coup of the April 11 of the last year. Does
that mean any change of position?
SECRETARY POWELL: Let me just take the first one, in the interest
We are pleased that a mechanism was found where the government,
under President Chavez, and the opposition could have this referendum
to allow the people of Venezuela to speak and to be heard with
respect to the nature of their government.
We support democracy in Venezuela, we support the constitutional
process in Venezuela, and we have found a constitutional way to
deal with the conflict, the disagreement between the government
and the opposition. It is up to the people of Venezuela to determine
how they will be governed, and as long as it is done in a free,
open, democratic and constitutional way, the United States will
MR. BALLARD: Let's go with Ben, and then Said on the follow-up.
Right here, Ben.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. My name is Ben Bangoura, Washington-based
What impact would President Bush's last trip to Africa have on
the relations between United States and the continent?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think that the President's trip to Africa
was an historic trip. It was historic in the sense that it was
the first time a Republican President had visited Sub-Saharan Africa.
The President came back from that trip deeply impressed and deeply
moved, impressed and moved by the vitality he saw and by the promise
he saw in Africa, and also moved by the challenges he saw in Africa.
He has charged us to redouble our efforts to see what we can do
to work on those challenges: first and foremost HIV/AIDS problem
that is just ravaging Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Sub-Saharan
Africa; the Millennium Challenge Account -- a number of African
countries will be eligible for those funds; making sure that I
do a good job of defending our normal foreign assistance budgets
before the Congress -- the Congress has been very generous -- so
we can help African nations through our bilateral program; and
doing everything we can to help African nations put their political
systems on a firmer foundation of democracy and the rule of law
and the end of corruption.
So he came back from Africa reassured that the approach that he
has taken to Africa since the beginning of this Administration
is the correct approach: engage, be visible, have real programs,
and make sure that our policy is one that is based on real substance
and not just style.
MR. BALLARD: Said for a follow-up, and then the gentlemen in the
very far back. Let's go to the back after this.
QUESTION: I have a question on the wall, Mr. Secretary.
Sir, it was suggested that the wall -- Israel can build the fence
if it sees fit, but it is not helpful. How does that juxtapose
itself against the President's vision for a viable Palestinian
And also on the issue of the loan guarantees, how -- what mechanism
will the Administration use to actually deduct the cost of the
wall from whatever loan guarantees to -- given to Israel?
And I am Said Arikat from Al Quds newspaper. Sorry.
SECRETARY POWELL: Were those two, three or one? I couldn't --
With respect to the fence, all of us put fences up when we feel
a need for a fence on our property, and we try to do it in a way
that does not prejudice anyone else's property or anyone else's
rights. In the case of this fence, Israel felt there was a need
to put up such a fence for security purposes, and the President
has said that we understand that.
It is when the fence begins to intrude on land that is not on
the Israeli side of the green line, or starts to intrude in a way
that makes it more difficult for us to make the case for a viable
Palestinian state, or starts to cut off certain towns and villages
or in other ways interfere with Palestinian activity in Palestinian
towns and villages, then is it appropriate for us to say to our
Israeli friends, "Look, we have a problem here," and particularly
as they are getting ready for the next stages of this fence construction
And that is what we are doing. We have identified some problems
with the subsequent stages of the fence, what's going on, and we
are going to be discussing those problems with them.
With respect to loan guarantees, we have not made any decisions
yet, and certainly have not made any announcements yet. But we
have to be faithful to the Congressional direction that we had
with respect to how to use these loan guarantee monies.
MR. BALLARD: Okay. The gentleman in the back, and then we'll come
to Andrei here.
QUESTION: Choi, working with MBC Television of South Korea on
And you reportedly said that some form of security assurance in
North Korea could include the Senate confirmation or legislative
procedure. It is according to transcript, but State Department
yesterday denied and made the correction on what you said.
Sir, would you clarify the verbatim what have said? And then did
you dangle some security assurance idea to North Korea to make
them come to the multilateral -- the formula?
And the second one, when you --
SECRETARY POWELL: That's a long enough one there. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY POWELL: Let's see. The State Department disagreed with
me yesterday? (Laughter.) That's what happens when you leave town
for a day. (Laughter.) I think I can square what you are calling
What I have said previously is that we won't do non-aggression
pacts or treaties, things of that nature. But the previous administration
had provided security assurances to North Korea over the period
of the Agreed Framework from 1994 on. And President Bush has said
on more than one occasion that we are not planning to invade North
Korea; we are looking for a peaceful solution.
When the President was in South Korea last year -- both at his
DoSan train station speech, as well as in comments he made at the
Blue House -- made it clear that his greatest concern is the welfare
of the people of North Korea, as well as the fact that, by developing
nuclear weapons, North Korea is presenting a threat to South Korea
and to the rest of the region and to the world, and that should
be of concern to us.
In trying to understand the concerns of the North Koreans, what
we have said is there should be ways to capture assurances to the
North Koreans from not only the United States, but we believe from
other parties in the region, that there is no hostile intent among
the parties that might be participating in such a discussion.
I think what I have said -- and I wouldn't say you haven't read
my transcript, because you obviously have read it more recently
than I have -- but what I think I said -- (laughter) -- you are
not going to get me into that ambush. (Laughter.) But what I think
I said is, when one comes up with such a document, of such a written
assurance, there are ways that Congress can take note of it without
it being a treaty or some kind of pact. A resolution is something
like that -- taking note of something.
MR. BALLARD: Andrei and then the gentleman there.
QUESTION: Andrei Sitov, TASS News Agency of Russia. Sir, thank
SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I'm sorry.
QUESTION: Yes, I'm sorry, sir. Andrei Sitov, TASS News Agency
of Russia. The question about the upcoming summit, what should
we expect from the summit? What may be some of the deliverables?
Also, if --
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm sorry. From?
QUESTION: From the Putin visit, President Putin visit.
SECRETARY POWELL: To?
QUESTION: To Washington.
SECRETARY POWELL: To the United States? Yes, okay.
QUESTION: To Camp David, actually. Right. So what's on the agenda
for the American side? What should we expect? What may be some
of the deliverables?
Also, is the United States moving to resuming nuclear testing
and may it become one of the issues?
SECRETARY POWELL: On the second question, no, I don't think nuclear
testing will be one of the issues. The President has no intention
of testing nuclear weapons. We have no need to. And we have been
consistent for some time on that issue.
All nuclear-holding powers have a responsibility to make sure
that their stockpiles are safe and reliable; and that is what we
all are obliged to do, and we see no need to test in order to do
that at the moment. We can't rule it out forever. We have no plans
to test, so I don't expect that to be a subject of discussion.
I am confident that when the presidents are together, they will
review the state of U.S.-Russian bilateral relations, which I think
are very good. I think they will review the situation in Iraq,
and I am confident they will also talk about Afghanistan, where
we are making quite a bit of progress although there are still
some difficulties there.
I think they'll talk a great deal about trade. Increasingly, the
conversations between President Putin and President Bush relate
to trading and other kinds of economic issues.
SECRETARY POWELL: Jackson-Vanik usually gets discussed at some
point in those conversations, yes. Also, chicken quotas -- (laughter)
-- export quotas get discussed.
But it is fascinating, and when I reflect on my history of negotiations
and discussions and meetings with my Russian colleagues over a
period of 15 or so years, we have gone from negotiating how to
get rid of intermediate-range nuclear weapons, SS-20s and Pershings
and ground-launched cruise missiles in 1987 and '88, we have gone
from the CFE Treaty that pulled these two massive armies apart
from one another, to now, we are arguing about how can we expand
trade. That is progress.
And they meet as two gentlemen who have worked very closely together
over the last two years, have become good friends, and talk about
a wide range of bilateral issues and international issues. And
even when there is disagreement, such as there was over Iraq, we
recognized that the broader relationship is such that we can work
our way through these disagreements without seeing the relationship
go off track.
MR. BALLARD: Okay, this gentleman here, and then we'll go to Thomas.
QUESTION: Thank you. Oscar Underwood, Voice of America, Latin
Mr. Secretary, the U.S. is engaged on several fronts right now
fighting terrorism. Yet we keep hearing reports that some of the
money that the terrorists are using is coming from the "tri-border" of
Is the U.S. paying attention to this or do you think it is leaving
its southern flank virtually unguarded or exposed?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, we are spending a great deal of time on
this. Our Andean Counterdrug Initiative is alive and well. Just
a few weeks ago, I went up on Capitol Hill and spent a great deal
of time with leaders on Capitol Hill encouraging their full support
of the initiative.
My Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador
Marc Grossman, was in the region last week doing in-depth work
with Colombia and others in the region to make sure they were aware
of our steadfast commitment. We are hard at work. And, hopefully,
in the very near future, we will have the air interdiction program
back up and running.
And so, no, I can assure you, we have not ignored this obligation
that we have in our own neighborhood. As you know, I attended the
OAS meeting not too long ago, and then had an opportunity to visit
with my Chilean colleagues and the new president and foreign minister
And we have a steady stream of Latin American visitors that have
come to the United States and into the Oval Office to see the President,
where he reassures them of our commitment and our understanding
of the problems that exist in our own hemisphere.
MR. BALLARD: Okay. Thomas, and then we'll come here to you.
QUESTION: Thomas Gorguissian, An Anhar, Lebanon.
Mr. Secretary, after the war in Iraq, you said that your message
for Arab neighbors is that there is a new reality, and they have
to make new strategic choices. How do you see the response -- their
response -- from the Arab neighbors, Arab League in general and
Syria in particular? And what is next in conveying and pursuing
SECRETARY POWELL: I think there is a new strategic situation in
the region and the two major events -- one, the removal of a despot
from office in Baghdad and new hope for the Iraqi people, and with
the ascension of Prime Minister Abbas to the prime ministership
of the Palestinian Authority that allowed us to get started on
the roadmap, which all the Arab nations bought into through representatives
at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, and then we saw it again a day later
in Aqaba with King Hussein and the other leaders there, and now
we are seeing slow but steady progress on the roadmap.
We would all like to see it go faster. We would like to see more
accomplished in a shorter period of time, but nevertheless we are
moving forward. And so those are the two major elements in this
strategic change. What we have said to our friends in the region,
especially our Syrian colleagues, is that you need to see this
and adjust your own policies.
And so in my discussions with Syrian leaders, and in my visit
to Damascus, I conveyed to the President of Syria that we really
believe that Damascus should no longer be allowed to serve as a
headquarters for terrorist organizations who were determined to
defeat the roadmap, who were determined to deny the Palestinian
people the opportunity for a better life in their own state. Organizations
that have found a place to do their business in Damascus are against
peace, are against the desires of the Palestinian people, the needs
of the Palestinian people, and we believe Syria should do everything
to shut them down.
We also believe that Syria should not be participating in any
transshipment of weapons or other materiel to Hezbollah, and a
number of other issues that were presented to Syria. They have
responded on some of them and I know they are considering other
of the items that we presented to them. We are still not satisfied
with the performance that we have seen so far, and we are communicating
that on a regular basis to our Syrian colleagues.
With respect to Iran, we have made the same point. It is time
now to end state sponsorship of terrorism when we have two sides,
Israel and Palestine, Palestinians -- Israelis and Palestinians
working together to get us to that point where both peoples can
live in peace. And why should Iran be continuing to support terrorist
activities and organizations that are determined to destroy that
And we will continue to make that point. And we will continue
to encourage all of our Arab friends in the region to do their
part, as they said they would at Sharm el-Sheikh -- stop funding
organizations that are sponsoring or could be sponsoring terrorist
activities; speak out strongly for reform; assist the Palestine
people; be prepared to work with the Palestinian people and Israelis
to help this roadmap work.
Because if this roadmap doesn't work, if it fails, if it falls
apart -- and I don't think it will
-- but would it fall apart, if it were to fall apart, then where
are we? We have got too much going in the right direction now to
lose this opportunity, and that's the message we consistently give
to our Arab friends.
One more point: The Arab League Working Committee recently met,
and I know part of your question, and they took note of the new
Governing Council in Iraq. I wish they had made a stronger statement
of welcome and support. But we will be working with the Arab League
over the next several weeks as they get ready for their September
meeting to make the point that we are on the road in Iraq toward
a representative government. And this Governing Council should
be seen as an important step and encouraged in their work.
Secretary General Kofi Annan made an important statement the day
before yesterday about the need for the United Nations to show
its understanding and recognition of this important development.
They were at the UN two weeks ago with Mr. De Mello, and I have
my delegation at the UN in New York working with the Secretary
General and other members of the Security Council to see how best
to provide this kind of recognition of the Governing Council.
MR. BALLARD: Okay, the last question here. Unfortunately, this
will be the last question.
QUESTION: Can I have a follow-up on the last one?
MR. BALLARD: No, we've got to go move ahead, I'm sorry.
QUESTION: I'm here. Dubrovka Savic, Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti.
Last week, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic was visiting
you. During that visit, it was reported that he offered Serbian
troops to join these missions. So what is your comment on that?
SECRETARY POWELL: We are very -- he did make an offer. I think
it shows a responsible attitude on the part of the Serbian leadership
that they want to be involved in stabilization and peacekeeping
operations in the world. It shows a new maturity that was welcomed,
and I welcomed the offer.
We didn't accept the offer yet because we are still working to
see what our needs are and what their capacity to provide those
troops is. And it wasn't an immediate availability. It was an availability
toward the latter part of the year.
So I expressed my appreciation, welcomed the offer, and we will
be working with our Serbian friends in the months ahead.
MR. BALLARD: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you to the
Secretary of State. We hope to have him back soon.