Colin Powell Remarks En Route To Italy For G 8
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman (Rome, Italy) For Immediate Release July 18, 2001
Remarks By Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell En Route To Rome, Italy July 17, 2001
SECRETARY POWELL: Let me just start by noting the passing of Kay Graham who was something of a Washington legend, but to me she was a dear friend. I've known her for many years, when I first sort of sprung out of the army and showed up in Washington circles in 1987, she was one of the first persons who kind of took me in, and befriended me at that level and in that circle. And over the years she's just been a good friend that my wife and I got to know very, very well. And we visited with her many times and she shared important occasions in my life and she'll be greatly missed by, not only Alma and me, but I think by many, many people in Washington, and I'd just like to express my condolences to the family over their loss. Okay?
QUESTION: I'd like to start on missile defense. Two questions. The first is what are the incentives that you are offering the Russians to come along on this? There's been some thought -- perhaps relieving the debt has been one thought - are you pursuing that? And second of all, I see that Mr. Bolton is on the plane today. Is John Bolton going to be leading the talks that were agreed upon between Bush and Putin in Slovenia? Is he going to be one of the leaders of the American delegation?
SECRETARY POWELL: We are not trying to identify any particular thing, to use your word Jane, provide an incentive for them to come along on missile defense or to bribe them into missile defense. We think we can make a persuasive case that it is in their interest to do so and it is part of a much broader relationship with the United States that has trade elements to it, economic elements to it, the pursuit of common values with respect to human rights and individual freedoms, with respect to working together to resolve regional problems, and to review the entire strategic framework between the two nations, a strategic framework that for most of the last fifty years was based on a large number of offensive nuclear weapons pointed at each other, and an agreement that said "Thou shalt do nothing to defend thyself from these weapons."
And we believe that because the cold war is over and we no longer view Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union with these nuclear weapons, as an enemy, that we ought to find a new framework. And part of that framework is reducing offensive nuclear weapons, as has been done in Start I and Start II when it becomes confirmed, and the President has also said that he wants to go lower. He wants to go to lower numbers of strategic weapons. As part of that new framework, he also believes we should work on nonproliferation efforts to make sure we're not spreading this technology to new places, and also because some of the technology has spread and there are nations in the world that are pursing weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them with.
We should move forward and equip ourselves with limited missile defenses to deal with that threat. We think that this is a very sensible argument, one that we have made to the Russians before. We're now going to pursue it with greater vigor now that our reviews are being completed, now that we have a better understanding of the technologies available to us and now that we can begin to see more clearly the constraints that are in front of us as a result of adherence to the ABM treaty.
And I hope that we will be able to persuade the Russians that it is in our mutual interest and in the interest of the world and the interest of our overall relationship to find ways to move beyond the constraints of the treaty -- moving beyond it together, in some collaborative cooperative way. We both agree to move beyond it, without also pointing out to the Russians that we are so committed to moving forward that if we cannot find a mutual cooperative solution, it may be necessary for us to withdraw from the Treaty unilaterally. But we have time to consider the range of ways of getting beyond the constraints of the Treaty. And I will have this conversation again, with perhaps a little more detail, a little more comprehensive way with my colleague, Foreign Minister Ivanov, tomorrow, and I'm sure it will be a subject of discussion that the President will have with Mr. Putin over the weekend, as well as, with his other G-8 colleagues in the course of the G-8 deliberations.
The G-8, of course, is here really to talk about poverty alleviation and trade and economic relations, HIV/AIDs, and trade, and a variety of other issues concerning the undeveloped world and the disadvantaged people of the world. Mr. Bolton, as Undersecretary of State for these matters, will be playing a leading role in the discussions with the Russians. There will be lots of different channels of dialogue with the Russians, not just in arms control and defense issues.
As you know, Secretary Evans and Secretary O'Neill are heading over next week to talk trade and economics, and both State and Defense will be having discussions with the Russians on the strategic issues, whether it's proliferation, non-proliferation activities, the nature of our missile defense programs as we get further into those details, possibilities with respect to the ABM Treaty and what to do with it - lots of issues. Overall, the State Department remains the lead for this kind of dialogue with another nation, but underneath that overall umbrella, State and Defense will be represented on a variety of groups and I expect that, as the President has previously noted, Secretary Rumsfeld will have the lead on those issues that are uniquely defense oriented, with respect to the things that are in the Defense Department, such as the actual missile defense programs, confidence building measures, and transparency issues. And we're still working on exactly how to create and organize these working groups because we also want to hear from the Russians what their ideas are.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, you said the other day in an interview that the Russians were reviewing your proposals. Can you give any kind of blueprint as to what these proposals that you've given to the Russians are? And would you call it negotiations at this point? And do you see yourselves reaching middle ground in the near term?
SECRETARY POWELL: They are not specific proposals yet in the sense of, here is exactly what hardware program we are thinking of and it's at this precise stage of development, and it'll be at such and such a stage in a year - it's not that level of detail. And with respect to the ABM treaty and the constraints of that treaty, Foreign Minister Ivanov and I, and his Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Mamedov and Mr. Bolton, talked about this when they were in Washington some couple of months back. But we didn't get into rather specific discussions of how we can get out of the constraints. Beginning tomorrow, we will start making these discussions a little more specific, but obviously you will allow me the opportunity to present that to the Russians before I present it to the media.
QUESTION: A few weeks ago, several weeks ago, The New York Times reported that the Administration was in fact, discussing a package of incentives to propose to the Russians. Your answer suggests to me either that story was wrong, or that the Administration considered that idea and now has decided maybe momentum is with you, pressures are building and so you don't need to provide incentives to Russia beyond your assurances that you have talked about. And the other question is -
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know whether -- I don't remember the precise story, and I don't want to characterize it as being wrong or that it was right at the time but then we subsequently rejected it. What I'm trying to say is we are not looking for some silver bullet, gosh, if we do this in trade or we do that in economics, will that be enough to push them over the edge to give us what we want. I want to present this as something that makes sense and it helps the whole relationship and there are lots of different parts to the relationship, without looking for one particular -- I don't want to call it, let's stick with your word "incentive" without looking for one or two specific items that say we know you don't like what we are doing in this area but if we give you this, will you at least let us go forward without objection. That is not what we are trying to do.
What we are trying to do is persuade them that it makes sense to go in this direction and, by the way, it helps for the broader overall relationship, rather than look for a way to get them to do something that they otherwise don't want to do. I have a hunch that, you know, that when they hear us out, they will find that it is in their interest to move in this direction because we are moving in this direction, hopefully in a cooperative basis but if not, we are still moving forward. I want to make sure, in the course of my conversations tomorrow, and I am sure that it will be made sure after the President has visited in Genoa with Mr. Putin and the meetings that are coming up after that -- Dr. Rice in Moscow I think -- that there will be no doubt in their mind any longer that we are moving forward. The success of last Saturday night should have reinforced their understanding of that.
QUESTION: Your whole concept, the Administration's concept of a new strategic friendship has rested on two pillars: one, defense and the other strategic reductions, as you mentioned. And yet, you are moving forward on the defensive part of it very aggressively, very forthrightly and the reductions, the nuclear reductions are trailing far behind. Are you disappointed that those reviews aren't over? Do you feel that this is making your task a little harder, because you can't provide this other important piece?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, I am not disappointed. You know, my defense background, having been chairman and knowing all that stuff, I know what they are going through, and it is not just a matter of finding a number in cutting. It's the mix of the force, it's the character of the force, it's other things you have to worry about besides Russia. And so I think that all of these roads will come together at an intersection at an appropriate time, not tomorrow but some months down the road. Secretary Rumsfeld is working hard on the strategic weapons piece and they will come up with an answer, but it's not there yet. But the lack of an answer, specific numbers and specific reductions, and whatever mix of changes are required are not holding up our ability to have a healthy discussion with the Russians, on the defense part of it.
QUESTION: What's your opinion about the meeting two days ago between President Putin and the Chinese President in Moscow? Do you see it as an attempt to create a kind of common front against your missile project?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they did put out a statement. I have not read the whole treaty, I have only seen parts of it, thanks to the extract in The New York Times, but I will have it when I land. But there was language in there where the two of them together say that they would rather not see any changes to the ABM treaty as it currently exists. They believe, mutually, that it is a fundamental element of the strategic framework. That is their opinion and we hope that they will listen carefully to our views, and we hope that we can bring them around to a new opinion of what a new strategic framework could look like.
The treaty itself between the two sides, as you noted from Richard's comments yesterday, we do not see anything in that that should cause us a great deal of concern. It is not a new military alliance of any kind, and really they talked about mutual cooperation and economic activity and trade activity. And so it's not a treaty that is causing us any particular concern or any belief that it fundamentally changes what I think are positive directions in our relationships with both countries.
QUESTION: How would you characterize the talks that you are going to have tomorrow, and Bush will have with Putin, in this timeline of missile defense? You've had preparatory talks already with the Russians, and a few months down the line you say you're ready to (inaudible) bust away --
SECRETARY POWELL: I did not say that.
QUESTION: Well, I'm (inaudible) taking liberties --
QUESTION: -- go your own way. The United States is prepared to go its own way in several months, seems to be the message. Correct?
SECRETARY POWELL: I said there will come a time, and, I think I said this in a couple of articles recently, there will come a time when the constraints of the ABM Treaty will keep us from moving forward. I don't know when that specific time is. I don't know if it is a couple of months but I don't think it's a couple of years. But I think too much time is being spent trying to divine when Halley's comet is coming with respect to ABM Treaty constraints. This is a matter that Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Wolfowitz have spoken about, doing it again today before the Congress, as to when they reach that point.
But I know that point is out there and I know that it is not in the distant future. It is the relative near term, to mid-term, not far term. And when we reach that point, a judgment will have to be made by the President that " I have good news - we have an agreement with the Russians." Or, well, we haven't been able to get an agreement with the Russians and we can't delay this promising work any longer, so we will have to give notice that we're moving beyond the ABM Treaty and that means withdrawal.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) are you entering a middle period in your talks with the Russians, now?
SECRETARY POWELL: I could only say that to you -- what middle is -- if I knew what the end was. I know where the beginning was; it was 20 January of this year. And we're six months into this Administration, but I cannot tell you whether this is the middle or near the end or two-thirds of the way, but I think we're well along. I'm meeting with Mr. Ivan for the sixth time; it will be the sixth meeting in the last six months. So, we're meeting regularly, a personal relationship has been formed. We speak candidly with one another; we've gone through some tough issues. We've had some place where we've agreed and where we have not been able to come up with an agreement. And I expect to meet with him even more regularly in the months ahead. But I can't tell you whether we are in the middle, or near the end, or near the beginning.
QUESTION: Can I follow up on that? But if the treaty calls for a six- month notification, and you feel that your plans are going to bump up on the treaty before that, do you withdraw an anticipation of not reaching an agreement with the Russians in the next six months?
SECRETARY POWELL: Obviously, the Pentagon will have to look at it backward -- we say in the military -- backward planning. If they can see something coming that they believe they have to do and the treaty prevents them from doing that, I assume they will come forward and advise the President at least six months ahead of time to avoid violating the treaty. We will not violate the treaty, and I think Mr. Rumsfeld has said that clearly.
QUESTION: Another area where you sometimes have tough times with the Russians is Iraq. What do you expect, if anything, to come out of your meeting, moving the Russians along? And do you expect movement between President Putin and President Bush on this issue?
SECRETARY POWELL: It will be raised; I am quite sure it will come up between President Bush and President Putin. And I am sure that Foreign Minister Ivanov and I will discuss it tomorrow. I wish we could have gotten 15 of 15 votes for the smart sanctions resolutions as it was called, but weren't able to. The Russians had concerns of a commercial nature, and they also said they had concerns as to how Iraq ultimately got rid of the sanctions altogether. We weren't able to understand those concerns well enough to see if we could satisfy them. So I will spend time, I'm sure, with Mr. Ivanov tomorrow, hearing his side of it and seeing if there isn't some way to get a clearer understanding and deal with them in the five months that we have ahead of us.
The other side of that coin is that the sanctions that existed previously are still in place. I wish they had been modified but they have not been. But they are still in place with a 15 to zero vote, not contentious at all and, in fact, the sanctions that were contentious when we came in are still in place and have just been reaffirmed by the UN for another five months. I think there was a better way to have done that, but we did not succeed. But we got four out of five members of the Security Council, the permanent members, four out of five of the P5 and all of the others to agree with us, so we will continue to work it.
It is just interesting to me that, trying to do what the Russians had said for a couple of years we should do; and that is to get relief from some of the more onerous aspects of the sanctions and let civilian goods go in, they could not sign up to that at the end of the day and to give relief to the Iraqi civilians. It was the Iraqi government and the Russians who fought that the most, because the Iraqis like to use the sanctions as so-called alleged evidence for the rest of the world that we are trying to persecute them, when all we are trying to do is keep their weapons of mass destruction programs under control until they can be eliminated after inspection by UN inspectors. I think it is a pretty solid, noble purpose and we are going to stick with it. The Iraqis are not going to get off the hook as long as we have something to say about it.
QUESTION: I have a question about the Middle East. You have been working closely with Prime Minster Sharon for nearly six months now. What is your assessment of his policy? Are you disappointed by Prime Minister Sharon? What is your opinion (inaudible) his policies?
SECRETARY POWELL: There is nothing to be, what I am disappointed at is that we have not been able to get the level of violence down so that we can get started with confidence-building measures and then back to a peace process. That, of course, is a disappointment, to me. But we are working on it. With respect to Mr. Sharon, he was elected to office on a platform of security, on a platform of getting the violence down, out of the way, eliminated so that you can begin negotiations.
He has been consistent in the entire five months that he has been prime minister, that I have been working with him, and for the several weeks before then, that I began working with him before he became the prime minister. He has been absolutely consistent. His policy has been clear and he has an expression he uses, "I mean what I say and I say what I mean." Yes is yes and no is no - and I have to get the violence to a point of absolute quiet - his words - before we can move into the Mitchell plan. This has been his position consistently over time and I've been working hard, and not just because it is his position, but because it should be the position of all of us, to get the violence down to a point where we can start to re-build trust and confidence, to get the security coordination to get back to the process of peace.
QUESTION: The same question about Mr. Arafat - would you qualify him as a consistent person?
SECRETARY POWELL: I have been in constant conversation with Mr. Arafat; encouraging him to do everything he possibly can to bring the violence down, to control the organizations that are within his ability to control, and to speak out against violence. And I have encouraged both sides to not use language, which incites the other side, and I hope, and I think, there is still more that Mr. Arafat can do. And we are all encouraging him to do more to get the violence down, to make a greater effort so we can see greater results.
QUESTION: I am going to ask a question that is totally out of left field, so if you are not prepared and want to answer it at a later date, that's fine. Argentina and Turkey are both suffering from financial crises and people are now talking about the possibility for contagion. I wonder from a security, foreign policy standpoint, to what extent you have been dealing with this issue and to what extent you think the US or even more localized, Latin American foreign policy, NATO foreign policies, and equities, might be jeopardized because of this economic problem?
SECRETARY POWELL: I follow the issue very closely. I stay in close touch with Paul O'Neill, with Larry Lindsey, we have conference calls on a regular basis and we talk about it when we are together. It is not -- we do not yet see contagion that would affect the entire world, or the kind that we saw a couple of years ago. But it is a difficult situation and we think that Mr. Cavallo and the Argentine government have put forward some bold steps and they must execute those steps. And, as you know, we have been following the situation in Turkey very closely. These are friends and allies of ours, and we want to, we want them to be successful.
But that success really begins with them doing what they have to do to fix structural problems in their countries. And we stand available to give them advice, to give them help, to work with others in the international financial community, to assist them. I have not gotten any reports in the course of the day as to what has been going on in Argentina and Turkey since I left this morning, so let me not comment because it's better that I leave this with my colleagues in Washington, who are better able to make comments about such matter and not create other problems. But, yes, there is a national security and foreign policy dimension to economic and financial policy. The world is very inter-connected and no one stands alone any longer. But it does not necessarily mean that a problem in one part of the world has to affect the entire world. I think people learned quite a bit in 1997 from some of those problems, and I think everybody is trying to make sure that we don't see a contagious situation develop.