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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release October 10, 2001 INTERVIEW
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On NBC's Today Show with Matt Lauer
October 10, 2001
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, good morning to you.
SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Matt.
QUESTION: Do you mind if I start by reading you a portion of a statement that was made by a spokesperson for Usama bin Laden's al-Qaida network? Here is what was said: "America must know that the battle will not leave its land until America leaves our land, until it stops supporting Israel, until it stops the blockade of Iraq. The American must know that the storm of airplane will not stop and there are yet thousands of young people who look forward to death, like the Americans look forward to living."
Those are chilling words. What's your response to them?
SECRETARY POWELL: Chilling words from a terrorist. The kind of words you expect to hear from an evil person who has no good intention in mind. We are in the Persian Gulf area, we are in Arab lands at the invitation of Arab nations, and our presence there is dictated by the fact that Iraq invaded one of its Arab neighbors. So we are not there as invaders, the way the Taliban has allowed al-Qaida to invade Afghanistan.
So it is a chilling challenge but, I assure you, we will meet that challenge. We will pursue this campaign until that spokesman will no longer have any reason to make such boasts.
QUESTION: As you know, those words are being broadcast to millions of Muslims around the world. They are stirring some very strong emotions in certain parts of the world. Are you concerned that those emotions will boil over and get out of control?
SECRETARY POWELL: I am not concerned yet, because the overwhelming response to the campaign that we launched after the events of 11 September, the overwhelming response has been positive. All of the international organizations have come together, all nations in the world who have a concern about terrorist activity have come together and joined this campaign against terrorism.
There have been some demonstrations in various countries, Indonesia and Pakistan. But from what I can tell, those demonstrations don't represent the views of the entire population and I think, as we go forward, as we explain the purposes of our campaign, and as we point out the evil nature of these terrorist actions, I expect that we will be able to manage that.
The leaders themselves are solidly in support of the campaign that we are pursuing under President Bush's leadership.
QUESTION: Let me talk about one of those leaders. You are going to Pakistan later in the week. General Musharraf there recently demoted several key military associates. These are extremists, but they are also people who helped him gain power back in 1999 in his coup. How secure, how stable is his regime, and can he remain in power?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think President Musharraf is very secure and stable. The actions he took with respect to his generals, I will leave up to him to make explanations for that. But I think he took some very bold and courageous steps over the last month to put Pakistan firmly on the side of those nations who were against terrorism. And I congratulate and compliment him for those actions, and I am looking forward to seeing him next week.
I am also looking forward to visiting India which has -- India has also come forward in the campaign against terrorism and we appreciate the kind of support and effort that they are making as well, so I look forward to visiting two of those very, very important countries.
QUESTION: What will you see -- very important, because as I don't have to tell you, these countries have nuclear weapons. If they become destabilized, the whole region and the world should be very concerned about that. What will you say specifically to the leaders of India and Pakistan?
SECRETARY POWELL: First, I will thank them for their support of this campaign and their participation in it. Then I will hopefully have an opportunity to speak to both leaders about the continued need for restraint, for them to begin dialogue, a dialogue that really has been ongoing. And, as you noticed, the two leaders spoke to each other in the past 24 hours. And I will remind them of their responsibilities as states that do possess nuclear weapons to show the level of caution and restraint with respect to their activities befitting nations that have that kind of power available to them.
But I think both nations at this moment are obviously stable and are obviously anxious to do their part in this campaign against terrorism.
QUESTION: Let me ask you quickly about Israel. Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister, said recently he wants the United States to make sure they aren't selling out Israel in their courtship of Arab nations for this coalition. Does he have a point, Mr. Secretary? Do we now owe certain debts to Arab nations for cooperating with us?
SECRETARY POWELL: Israel is a strong friend of the United States. We will always support Israel, its security. And it is the democratic nation in that region that we absolutely treasure as a friend. So there should be no concern on the part of any Israeli citizen or leader that the United States would ever do anything to "sell them out" or to trade away their security.
QUESTION: What happens when the bombing stops in Afghanistan, Secretary Powell? There is going to be a vacuum created if the Taliban loses power. Who or what do you want to see fill that vacuum?
SECRETARY POWELL: We want to see eventually arise in Afghanistan a government that represents all the people of Afghanistan, that is prepared to take care of the needs of its people, not to repress its people. And so we are in touch with all of the different factions to start to see how such a government could arise if the Taliban were to collapse and go out of power.
QUESTION: Are you relying on the former King, the 83-year old King?
SECRETARY POWELL: We're also -- if I may finish? We are also working closely with the United Nations. The United Nations might well have to play a very, very important role in a post-Taliban world.
With respect to the King, we are in touch with the King. Our diplomats in Rome have met with him and a member my staff, a senior member of my staff, Ambassador Haas, met with him last week. So we are keeping in touch with all the parties to make sure we have them all moving in the right direction and beginning to cooperate with each other more than they have in the past.
QUESTION: The Northern Alliance or United Front, depending on the name you go by, they hate Pakistan. Pakistan hates them. Is it possible after the Taliban, we could see less stability in that region, as opposed to more?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think we would see more stability, and that would be our goal as we work with Pakistan, the other nations that are neighbors to Afghanistan, to make sure that we don't leave the kind of instability that unfortunately has been left there in the past, which gave rise to the Taliban.
I think it is important for all of us to recognize that, in a post- Taliban Afghanistan, we will have important work to do, humanitarian work, economic development, helping the people of Afghanistan, and putting in place some level of stability that has so far eluded Afghanistan in recent years.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Colin Powell. Good luck with your trip, sir.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Matt.
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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release October 10, 2001
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On ABC's Good Morning America
Washington, D.C. October 10, 2001
7:04 A.M. EDT
MR. GIBSON: Mr. Secretary, I apologize, something as mundane as the phone system apparently in your building is giving us problems. Can you hear me?
SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Charlie. I think the State Department phone system was working just fine. I'm not sure about yours, however. (Laughter.)
MR. GIBSON: We will check into that and find out, sir, after it's all over -- although it could very well be our phone system as well, but I heard the other in my ear. But let me turn to the situation, obviously, because it's all very serious.
Military officials say we have now exhausted targets in Afghanistan, that essentially we are ready for the next phase, the next phase being?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I don't know that military officials have confirmed that we have exhausted targets. I think there are still targets that are being examined for re-strike and there are additional targets that I know Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers and General Franks are looking at.
We shouldn't see this campaign just in terms of discrete phases; one ends and then something else begins. It is a continuing campaign that will really never stop in any of its phases: the financial phase, going after financial institutions that support terrorist organizations and getting hold of their money; intelligence collection; the humanitarian aspects to make sure that people are relieved from suffering; what we are doing with respect to law enforcement and other activities; and the military activities that we have seen over the last several days.
So although the military activities may shift in focus, that will be an essential part of the campaign as we move forward.
MR. GIBSON: And everyone in the Administration is very circumspect and careful to say this is all part of a very wide-ranging campaign. You mentioned all the elements of it. But as far as the military actions in Afghanistan are concerned and that particular part of it, I have been asking people -- and it's a question that keeps recurring in my mind -- how does the public judge success or failure in what's going on in Afghanistan? Is it simply that we are there to wipe out the leadership and the infrastructure of al-Qaida?
SECRETARY POWELL: What we are trying to do is make it harder for al- Qaida to operate in Afghanistan, and if we also succeed in wiping out the leadership, that would be fine as well. But as you saw from the Pentagon briefing yesterday, we have destroyed terrorist camps so that they will not be used again, cannot be used again. We have gone after Taliban airfields and other air defense systems so that we have free range over the skies of Afghanistan. And we will continue to look for terrorist facilities so that we can destroy them and make them unusable for future terrorist planning, training or actions.
MR. GIBSON: But why don't we say, Mr. Secretary, straight out we want to get bin Laden and kill him and his infrastructure, his top lieutenants as well, and get rid of the government that supports him, the Taliban?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have made clear --
MR. GIBSON: If we want to make it hard for them to operate, isn't that the right way?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think we have denied or avoided saying that what we are after is destroying the al-Qaida network. And Mr. Usama bin Laden is the head of that network, so we're after him too. But let's not deceive ourselves into thinking that if we get rid of one individual or one network, then this campaign is over. It is not.
It is a campaign that is directed against all terrorism, and that is why it has drawn such broad support from nations around the world. That is why President Bush's leadership challenge to the world that we have to see this as a long-term campaign that will go on in many dimensions for many years to come until we can all feel safe in our societies again because terrorism has been eliminated, or certainly reduced to a level where we don't have to be fearful in our daily lives.
MR. GIBSON: Mr. Secretary, let me turn to the situation in Pakistan because I know you are about to go there. President Bush and General Musharraf seem to have something of a disagreement going on at long distance, General Musharraf saying yesterday that he had promises from the Americans that the bombing campaign would be short in duration, and the President yesterday said, "I don't know who told him that."
Were there any promises made?
SECRETARY POWELL: I am not aware of any promises. No, no promises were made. I am sure that President Musharraf obviously would like to see a short campaign. We all would. But it's more important that we have a campaign that does the job. I am sure that Secretary Rumsfeld and his colleagues at the Pentagon are examining every day what they need to be doing and what they should be doing as part of this military campaign. And I look forward to discussing this with President Musharraf when I am in Pakistan next week.
MR. GIBSON: But the longer this goes on, isn't the greater the chance that General Musharraf could lose control of his military forces, and indeed that his government could become precarious?
SECRETARY POWELL: If anything, President Musharraf has demonstrated in recent weeks the strong control that he does have over his military forces and over his country. He is in a firm political position. He made a courageous stance in deciding that he had to be on the side of the world that wants to rid itself of terrorism, and we compliment him for that.
And so even though he has had to deal with some unrest, that unrest is rather limited. When you look at the size of Pakistan and how much unrest could be there, it is rather limited, even though it fills the television screen from time to time.
MR. GIBSON: One other thing I wanted to ask you about, which is the letter that the US Ambassador to the United Nations delivered in recent days. He said, "We may find that our self-defense requires further action with respect to other organizations and other states." What is he saying there?
SECRETARY POWELL: It's just a statement of the obvious. It's a statement of what President Bush said from the beginning: that we will seek our terrorists wherever they are located; we will work with other nations that have terrorist problems; and if we find nations who are providing havens for terrorists or support terrorists, they will have to pay the consequences of such support.
So the letter that Ambassador Negroponte presented to the UN had that added sentence, but it should not come as a shock or surprise to anybody. It reflects positions that we have taken since the beginning of this effort on September the 12th, the day after the events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
MR. GIBSON: The Secretary General of the United Nations said he was disturbed and others were disturbed by those words, though. What would you say to him?
SECRETARY POWELL: I would say there is nothing to be disturbed about. We understand our obligations under Article 51 of the United Nations charter, and we will consult with our friends as we move forward. But as we have always said, the United States and the President of the United States has to retain the authority to do what is necessary to protect US citizens and to work with nations around the world who are threatened by terrorist organizations.
So I think there is much more attention being given to this particular sentence than really is warranted. The letter that Ambassador Negroponte presented was a routine letter required at a time like this, consistent with our Article 51 responsibilities.
MR. GIBSON: But as those words may pertain to military action, is it safe to say that the situation in Afghanistan needs to be resolved before we would move anywhere else?
SECRETARY POWELL: The President retains all of his options. And as he said, our first phase of this campaign is to direct our energies, direct the world's attention, to the al-Qaida network that exists in dozens of countries around the world and whose headquarters is located in Afghanistan. That is why the focus is on Afghanistan right now, but as we continue with the campaign we will be after this network wherever it exists.
And we are very pleased that nations around the world, nations in Europe and other parts of the world, have taken action against those elements of the al-Qaida network that exist in their countries. They realize that those network elements are a threat to their country, just as much as they were a threat to the United States.
Eighty nations lost citizens at the World Trade Center. This isn't just an assault against America. It was an assault against the world, and the world is responding.
MR. GIBSON: And, Mr. Secretary, the UN Ambassador from the United States made an unannounced visit to the Iraqi mission here in New York recently, and apparently had some rather blunt words to them not to take any precipitous action while this is going on, not to try to take advantage of the times.
How blunt was he with the Iraqis?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we thought it was useful at this time to remind Iraq of its obligations under various UN Security Council resolutions. They have taken no precipitous act in the days following September 11th, and we thought it would be useful to remind them that that's the right course of action. And they accepted Mr. Negroponte's presentation. They responded in the usual vitriolic fashion, but through all of their angry words it was clear they understood the message.
MR. GIBSON: Mr. Secretary, good to have you with us, as always. Thank you for joining us, and I am delighted that your phones and our phones apparently worked throughout the interview.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thanks, Charlie.
MR. GIBSON: All the best to you, and safe travels, Mr. Secretary. Thanks.
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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release October 10, 2001
INTERVIEW Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On CNN with Paula Zahn
October 10, 2001 7:11 a.m.
QUESTION: The Secretary of State is taking time out from his very busy schedule to join us this morning. Welcome, sir. Good to have you with us.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you. Good morning, Paula.
QUESTION: Sir, let's talk a little bit about the concern the Administration has over this latest taped statement from the al-Qaida network. Do you believe it has a coded message in it?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I don't know. That's why analysts are looking at it. But I think it is responsible on the part of CNN to shade that a little bit, so we don't have it coming full force at us, and with the potential of perhaps conveying some kind of message. So I congratulate CNN for taking that step.
QUESTION: On its surface, though, are you able to tell us what concerns you the most?
SECRETARY POWELL: What concerns me the most is that there is still this terrorist organization called al-Qaida that is at work but, at the same time, I am very, very satisfied that the campaign President Bush has put together and is leading, that has been joined by so many nations around the world, so many international organizations, is correctly aimed at the heart of al-Qaida, to make sure we rip this network up, not only in Afghanistan but wherever it is located around the world, and that we get to the leader of this organization, Usama bin Laden.
But remember, it is also a campaign against all forms of terrorism. And that, I think, is what has been especially useful in pulling the whole world together, this recognition that terrorism is something we all have to attack wherever it occurs throughout the world.
QUESTION: And, Mr. Secretary, as you have gotten through the first phase of this campaign, a letter was sent to the UN Security Council reserving the right to strike against other countries in the war on terrorism. And yesterday, Senator John McCain was on the air here, where he says it is a possibility the US and its allies could be striking Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan among other nations. Can you comment on that this morning?
SECRETARY POWELL: I am not going to speculate on what might happen in the future. I don't think that would be useful. The President has clearly said that the first focus of this campaign is on al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan and in the other places where al-Qaida is located throughout the world. But the President has reserved the right to follow terrorism to its sources. And to those nations that harbor or provide haven to terrorists, they do so at their risk. And that is where we have placed our policy, and I think it is on a sound foundation. We will see what comes in the future.
With respect to that particular sentence in the letter that we presented to the UN, it is merely a statement of policy that has been there from the very beginning. The President reserves the right to examine what else might be necessary to go after worldwide terrorism.
QUESTION: So if you believe the letter was routine, did you know that letter was going out to the UN?
SECRETARY POWELL: I was aware that we were providing a letter to the United Nations consistent with our responsibilities to do so under Article 51.
QUESTION: And are any other nations in the coalition concerned about what is stated in this letter?
SECRETARY POWELL: Some nations were not expecting that particular sentence, but it is not a source of any friction or problem with the members of the coalition.
QUESTION: So are there any weak links in the coalition this morning?
SECRETARY POWELL: No. None. No weak links. I think the coalition is in good shape. People keep saying it is going to fracture, it's going to come apart, it's going to get weaker. But, in fact, it has been getting stronger. More and more people recognize that this is a threat not just against the United States but against all civilized nations. And I am very pleased that in the four weeks we have been working on this, the coalition has come together with expressions of support.
Some nations can only give expressions of support. Others want to commit their armed forces to the military part of the campaign. All are contributing with respect to going after financial institutions that provide access to funds for terrorists, and so many are contributing to intelligence sharing. So every member of the coalition has a role to play. Sometimes, it is a very active role, including military contributions. Other times, it is support within international bodies.
QUESTION: Mr. Boucher was hard pressed at a news conference yesterday to come up with an example of support that has been given the United States from Arab or Muslim nations since these military attacks. Can you name some countries this morning, which have publicly stated or at least privately stated to you their support for this ongoing campaign?
SECRETARY POWELL: President Hosni Mubarak stated his support for it yesterday, and support is manifested in many ways. Many of the countries in the region have provided us over-flight, have provided us access to facilities and bases. So I think that's very, very important and that is certainly a sign of their support.
QUESTION: You will be traveling to India and Pakistan next week, and some Pakistani officials have expressed some concern about a long campaign. What kinds of reassurances does Pakistan need right now to ensure the stability of its government?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think the government is quite stable. President Musharraf made a very bold and courageous decision to join the coalition and to work against terrorism. He has paid something of a political price. There are demonstrations in Pakistan. But those demonstrations are quite manageable and don't reflect what's happening throughout the country. And I look forward to meeting with him next week and reassuring him of not only the support of the United States, but the support of the international community to the courageous steps that he has taken and the path that Pakistan has put itself on.
And I also look forward to visiting India where I will have a chance to speak to the Indian leadership, to Prime Minister Vajpayee, about the important role that India is playing in the coalition as well.
QUESTION: Coming back to Pakistan for a moment, President Musharraf indicated earlier this week that he was told this campaign would have a limited time span. Is that the case?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know of such a conversation. I am sure he hopes it has a limited time frame; everybody does. But it's not how long it is in time but whether it accomplishes the mission we have for it. And the mission is to do everything we can to destroy al-Qaida bases, to make sure that Taliban military does not interfere with any of our operations, and to do the job that we are intending to do, which is to rip up the al-Qaida network.
So it would be the wish of anyone to see it be a short campaign. But the more important point is that it will be an effective campaign that will do the job that is intended.
QUESTION: I know you've got to be careful about what you tell me now, but can you share anything that you might be talking to the Indian Government about next week in terms of the dispute over Kashmir?
SECRETARY POWELL: I am sure Kashmir will be a subject of discussion. But I think I would prefer to have those discussions with the leaders of India and Pakistan first. And then I'm sure I will have an opportunity to report on the results of that discussion, those discussions.
QUESTION: We'll hold you to that and bring you back, maybe sometime next week.
Thank you again for your time this morning, sir.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Paula.
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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release October 10, 2001 INTERVIEW
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On CBS's The Early Show with Jane Clayson
October 10, 2001
QUESTION: Good morning, Secretary Powell.
SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Jane.
QUESTION: What is the purpose of your trip?
SECRETARY POWELL: I will be going out to consult with the leaders in both Pakistan and India. Both of them have been very forthcoming in terms of the support they have given to us in this campaign against terrorism. Pakistan is on the front lines of it, really, because of their proximity to Afghanistan, and President Musharraf has done quite a number of very, very important things. The Indians have also been very forthcoming with the support that they have given.
So I want to go consult with the leaders in the region, get their assessment, and let them know of American support for their efforts and American interest in the issues that affect those two very, very important countries on the subcontinent.
QUESTION: You say they have been forthcoming with support. But, as you know, India and Pakistan have long been at odds. Are you concerned that India might try to take advantage of the situation and ignite a conflict while the world is distracted?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think that will be the case. In fact, we have been in touch with both governments, and they both realize the volatile nature of this situation and I think both of them understand this is not the time for provocative action, which would cause the situation in the region to become unstable. I am pleased that the two leaders spoke to each other within the past few days, and we are in touch with the foreign ministry officials in both countries as well.
QUESTION: Outside of India and Pakistan, our Arab allies, Secretary Powell, have been relatively silent during these air strikes. How would you characterize their level of support of our actions this morning?
SECRETARY POWELL: They have been very supportive. President Hosni Mubarak made a positive statement yesterday. Our friends in the Gulf region have been supportive in terms of providing access and other facilities that we needed, and were very responsive to our requests.
They all have internal domestic situations that they have to keep very much in mind, but we are very satisfied with the level of support we have received from friends not only in the Persian Gulf area but throughout that part of the world and, frankly, our friends and allies throughout the world. It is a remarkable coalition that President Bush has been able to put together.
QUESTION: But as we expand this military operation to other states that harbor terrorists, how do you hold together that coalition then?
SECRETARY POWELL: The coalition is holding together very well right now, and I think what is important is that the coalition recognize, as did President Bush from the very beginning, that this is not just a campaign against al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden; it is a campaign against terrorism, terrorism that affects nations and civilizations and cultures all around the world. So all of us have an interest in participating in a campaign that goes against terrorism wherever it is found. That is the nature of this coalition we are putting together, the nature of its mission, and I am very pleased that the world is responding to it.
QUESTION: Late yesterday, one of Usama bin Laden's lieutenants appeared on Persian Gulf television to praise the September 11th attacks and to threaten more of the same. What was your response, Secretary Powell, to his defiance?
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm not surprised that they would threaten more of the same. They have always been planning more of the same, and that's why we are going after them. But for anybody to take credit for the murder of over 6,000 innocent citizens from 80 countries, that is outrageous. It is despicable. It is evil. It represents no faith, no religion, and the whole world should condemn that kind of statement, those sorts of claims. It just put the lie to the nature of the al- Qaida network. They are terrorists. They are murders. They believe in no faith other than power and their own irrational actions.
QUESTION: You have formally complained about al Jazeera, the station that broadcast those statements. Was there a specific concern about what he said?
SECRETARY POWELL: I didn't hear his overall statement. We have raised with Qatari authorities some of our concerns with respect to al Jazeera. Al Jazeera covers a large part of the Arab world and it is an important station. I have appeared on it. I have given an interview on al Jazeera and I would hope to do so again in the future.
Our concern, however, is that they give an undue amount of time and attention to some of the most vitriolic, irresponsible kinds of statements, and we have called that to the attention of the authorities in Qatar, and others nations have as well.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld told Dan Rather last night, Secretary Powell, that he would be very surprised if the Taliban stays in power in Afghanistan. Is it the Administration's policy at this point to replace the Taliban dictatorship?
SECRETARY POWELL: At this point, we would like to see leadership arise in Afghanistan which represents the interests of all the Afghani people. The Taliban regime has taken action in being in concert with al-Qaida that now puts them at risk of survival because they are not taking care of their people. They are oppressing their people. They are not even getting food to their people. The United States is the biggest food donor to the people of Afghanistan.
And so the world is closing off routes of opportunity for the Taliban to join the world that's moving forward, and if the regime collapses as a result of it, it is their own fault.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Colin Powell, our best to you, sir, as you move forward. Thank you.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Jane.
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