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A series of transcripts of US Network television interviews follows...

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Interview on NBC's Meet The Press With Tim Russert

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman (New York, New York)

For Immediate Release November 11, 2001

INTERVIEW OF SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN L. POWELL ON NBC'S MEET THE PRESS WITH TIM RUSSERT

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

10:45 A.M. EST

QUESTION: General Powell, welcome back to Meet the Press.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Tim. Good morning.

QUESTION: General Musharraf, is he safe? Is he secure? Are you satisfied that his government will remain stable during this war?

SECRETARY POWELL: I have spent a lot of time talking to President Musharraf and I am very impressed by him. I am impressed by the boldness and courage that he has displayed in this crisis. I think he is securely in place. He has the support of his key people. He seems to have a plan as to how to deal with some of the disturbances he has seen in his society. And I think as we see more success on the battlefield and as the fighting changes and perhaps goes down, it will be easier for him to control that.

He has had some economic difficulties which we are trying to help him with. But I think he is safe, I think he is secure, and I think he has been a very, very effective leader in this crisis.

QUESTION: No risk to the nuclear arsenal falling into the wrong hands?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I don't see any risk of that. I have had direct conversations with the president about this, with President Musharraf. And he understands the importance of keeping those components, those systems under control. And I think he takes it very seriously.

QUESTION: The General said the other day that Pakistan had ordered and purchased some F-16 fighter jets from the United States. We never delivered them because we imposed sanctions on their nuclear program, which was being developed. Will he get his airplanes?

SECRETARY POWELL: We have had a conversation with the President about this and there are no plans now to transfer those airplanes to Pakistan. The United States, over the last ten years, has compensated Pakistan for those planes, and we have a new military-to-military dialogue ongoing with Pakistan but, at the moment, it does not include the transfer of those F-16s.

QUESTION: Is he unhappy about it?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think he would like to see the planes transferred and we had a fairly candid discussion about it. He and the President had a candid discussion about it. We will set it under advisement, but there are no plans for those planes to be transferred.

QUESTION: He and his country also have a deep interest in Kashmir, a province that India and Pakistan have fought over for the last 60 years now, close to. Will the United States try to get involved in a settlement of Kashmir?

SECRETARY POWELL: The two sides have to settle that and there needs to be a dialogue between Pakistan and India. To the extent that the United States can be helpful in fostering their dialogue, fine. But we cannot become the mediator, the arbitrator or the intermediary between them.

QUESTION: How goes the war in Afghanistan?

SECRETARY POWELL: Right now, I think it is going rather well, compared to the kinds of reports we were seeing a week or so ago. It seems quite clear that opposition forces have taken Mazar-e Sharif, although we will have to watch that, I think, for another day or two to be absolutely sure. And it seems like they are on the move in other parts of the country as well, and they are now speaking of moving across the Shamali Plain toward Kabul. So I think there has been quite a turnaround in the war in the last week or so.

QUESTION: You do not want the Northern Alliance troops to physically enter Kabul. Why not?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the Northern Alliance does not want to physically enter Kabul. They have said so for weeks now. Their foreign ministry yesterday reaffirmed that they prefer not to enter Kabul. Although, as he also said, if there is a power vacuum, they will have to take another look at that. All of the countries in the region, the United States, Russia and, as you heard, Pakistan through President Musharraf last evening say, it's better that they not enter Kabul. There are too many uncertainties as to what might happen.

Entering a city is a difficult thing. You put people in close quarters. There are different tribal loyalties. We have seen what has happened previously when you had an uncontrolled situation and two forces arriving in Kabul at the same time, not meeting each well.

So we think it would be better if they were to invest -- if I can pull an old military term out of my background -- invest the city, make it untenable for the Taliban to continue to occupy Kabul, and then we will see where we are. But when we reach that point, and if we see the Taliban leave, the international community, especially the United Nations and others of us interested, have to be ready to move quickly toward a political action that would help the new Afghan elements coming together in some form of a government to go in there, or to have some kind of temporary administrative presence in Kabul so that we don't have the kind of vacuum that is concerning the Northern Alliance Foreign Minister.

QUESTION: Do you believe the Taliban will continue in control of Afghanistan through the winter?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think we know the answer to that question yet. I think it is becoming more and more difficult for them. They are under stress from all directions now. The Northern Alliance has demonstrated success. I think the southern tribes that give the Taliban their support are going to start taking a hard look at the losses the Taliban are suffering and what the Taliban regime leadership is costing their country.

And as we start to encourage those southern tribes, I think they might start deciding that there is a better life ahead by separating themselves from the Taliban and trying to help the Afghan people rather than keep this repressive, evil regime in place that supports Usama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

QUESTION: What is our exit strategy out of Afghanistan?

SECRETARY POWELL: Our strategy for Afghanistan -- let's not call it an exit strategy because this time we can't just exit, get up and walk away. We will be committed to help with humanitarian relief through the winter. And, after the demise of the Taliban regime, there will be a need for humanitarian relief. And we are committed to help with the reconstruction effort so that we can give the people of Afghanistan a sense of hope that the international community is not going to abandon them.

So our exit strategy, I would like to send all of our military people home and get the planes out; we all would like to see that. But the United States will remain engaged as part of the international community, building hope and a sense of a positive future, a new future to the people of Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Unlike 10 years ago?

SECRETARY POWELL: Unlike 10 years ago.

QUESTION: Let me turn to Usama bin Laden. The President said yesterday, again, we're going to get him. Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Advisor, had this to say on Thursday. She said, we're going to get him, period. Tommy Franks, the General who is prosecuting the war had this to say, we've not said that Usama bin Laden is the target of this effort. Is he or isn't he?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, he is. From the very beginning, we have said that we are going after the al-Qaida network. The al-Qaida network is located in dozens of countries all around the world and we are targeting all of the cells of al-Qaida. And the chairman and CEO of al-Qaida is Usama bin Laden, the man who now shows up on television and threatens the Secretary General of the United Nations, he threatens Muslim countries, he threatens the world. He claims he has weapons of mass destruction. He cannot be left free to run around.

So, sooner or later, we, the international community, all of us coming together are going to make sure that this network is ripped up and the leader of this network is brought to justice or justice is brought to him.

QUESTION: Let me show you a photograph of an interview done by this journalist, Hamid Mir of the Dawn English-speaking paper of Pakistan, with Usama bin Laden on November 9th, he claims. And this is what Mr. bin Laden had to say: "I heard the speech of the American President Bush yesterday, November 7th. He was scaring the European countries that Usama wanted to attack with weapons of mass destruction. I wish to declare that if America used chemical or nuclear weapons against us, then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons. We have the weapons as deterrent." Does he?

SECRETARY POWELL: I have no way of knowing, but I think it unlikely that he has any nuclear weapons. I can't say about chemical or biological. But this is the kind of threat that this evil person likes to toss around. It just shows you the nature of Usama bin Laden, the nature of his actions.

I mean, how can he profess to be a representative of a faith that preaches love and acceptance and nonviolence and say things like this? It seems to me this should be a wakeup call to Muslims throughout the world. Look at this man. This is a man who says he is going to use nuclear, biological and chemical weapons against anyone who gets in his evil way. This should be a wakeup call to Muslims around the world that this is not a man of faith; this is a man of evil, this is a man who means no good, clearly not to the United States, but he means no good to any civilized nation. He is the worst form of tyrant on the face of the earth.

QUESTION: You're convinced you'll get him?

SECRETARY POWELL: We'll get him.

QUESTION: This journalist found him. Got in his car, was blindfolded, was driven for five hours. Said it was a cool climate, he could hear battles in the background. He had a mud hut with windows. How can a journalist find him and we can't?

SECRETARY POWELL: Because he wants a journalist to find him, he wanted to bring a journalist to him. You can be sure he does not want to bring the United States armed forces to see him.

But you can be also sure that we are trying in every way possible to find him and to bring him to justice.

QUESTION: Ten years ago when you led our efforts against Saddam Hussein, Saddam threatened to use nuclear and chemical weapons and the government, the Bush Administration said, Mr. Saddam Hussein, if you do that, we will respond with chemical and nuclear weapons of our own if need be. Would you say the same to Usama bin Laden?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, ten years ago, we said we would respond, and I don't think we were much more specific than that. But we really didn't need to be much more specific than that. Saddam Hussein knew what we were talking about.

With respect to this wild boast and threats from Usama bin Laden, I think the answer is, against what, against whom? It's the kind of thing you don't toss around lightly.

We have many ways to deal with this kind of threat and with this kind of a military challenge we are facing. The President has every option available to him. But it is a stretch of my imagination to say we would ever use those kinds of options.

QUESTION: President Bush decided not to meet with Yasser Arafat, the head of the PLO, while in New York. Will you meet with Mr. Arafat?

SECRETARY POWELL: We are trying to arrange a meeting today. I talk to Mr. Arafat on a regular basis and we have met twice so far since I have become Secretary of State. And I hope that we can get our calendars to mesh this afternoon. I am anxious to speak to him and to discuss the situation in the region and how we are planning to move forward.

I am quite sure he has taken note of President Bush's statement in his speech yesterday with respect to our vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in this one land. And I am anxious to discuss that with him and to keep the process moving forward.

QUESTION: Our government has always avoided using the term "Palestine." Is it now our official policy that we will refer to this as "Palestine"?

SECRETARY POWELL: The President used it yesterday quite deliberately to show that if one is moving forward with a vision of two states living side by side, just as Mr. Sharon has that as his vision, something that he hopes will be mutually agreed upon, and the whole international community wants to do that on the basis of UN Resolutions 242 and 338, it is appropriate then, as we start to reach more aggressively toward that vision to call those two states what they will be: Israel, Palestine.

QUESTION: Why wouldn't President Bush meet with Mr. Arafat?

SECRETARY POWELL: The President felt that there may be a time in the future when it would be appropriate to meet with Chairman Arafat. But this weekend and this occasion was not the appropriate time. He is totally committed to the peace process, he is totally committed -- President Bush is -- to the Mitchell Plan and the Tenet work plan to get into the Mitchell Plan. He has given me my instructions to work as hard as the Administration can and I would represent the Administration to get this started, but he thought this was not the appropriate time to meet with Chairman Arafat, and he looks forward that that time will come in the future.

QUESTION: Saudi Arabia. They seem to be going out of their way to create anxiety or misery for us with some of their statements. Fifteen of the hijackers happened to be Saudi Arabians. They have not been particularly forthcoming in the investigation of those men.

And the other day -- this is a comment made by their foreign minister. He said that his government was "angrily frustrated the Bush Administration has failed to begin a promised new peace initiative in the Middle East." He said Mr. Bush's failure to commit personal prestige to forging a final peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians "makes a sane man go mad."

SECRETARY POWELL: I was with Prince Saud the same day and he wasn't mad when I had a pleasant evening conversation with him, nor was he mad the next day when he spoke to President Bush at some length. Prince Saud and the Saudi leadership are close friends and allies with the United States.

But the Prince was expressing the frustration that we all feel from time to time, that this process needs to have more energy, it needs to go forward. And we are trying to do that, and we have discussed this with Prince Saud. I think, however, he will find that President Bush is fully engaged, and I hope he noted that yesterday, in the President's UN speech, the very expression of this vision of two states living side by side, one of them called Palestine, is certainly an indication of the President's commitment. No Republican President has ever made a statement as forthcoming as that with respect to a future vision of the two states in that region.

And so all of us sometimes think we are going a little mad dealing with this issue in the Middle East. Some days I worry about it myself. But we all know, fine, get the anxiety out, get the frustration out, and then get back to the work at hand, which is to get the violence down to zero, get the incitement down to zero, and let's get into the Mitchell Plan, let's start confidence-building activities moving forward, let's get the trust rebuilt and let's get back to negotiations. That is our vision. I think the President gave it a jump start yesterday in his speech. And I will be following-up on that jump start. There are other things that are now happening in the region that I think we are going to see in the next day or so, and I believe I can build on those actions.

QUESTION: Many question whether Saudi behavior is that of an ally, with the hijackers, with the lack of cooperation in investigation, with the funneling of money to Usama bin Laden. Why do you think the Saudis are such good allies in light of that kind of behavior?

SECRETARY POWELL: Because there are a lot of other "withs." With Saudi elimination of diplomatic relations with the Taliban, with Saudi dismissing Usama bin Laden, taking away his citizenship. And in recent weeks, the Saudis have done a lot with respect to financial transactions that go through the kingdom that might be traced to Usama bin Laden. They have aggressively gone after those. And all of the things we have asked the Saudis to do, they have responded favorably. Well, there will be more we will be asking them to do.

As the President said in his speech yesterday, we're off to a good start, but we need to do more. And he challenged all nations of the world yesterday to do more in this campaign. And I'm sure the Saudis will do more.

Do they get frustrated? Are we expecting them to tow the line and agree with everything we say? No, that's not what you expect of an ally. You expect an ally to be there when you really need them at the end of the day, and the Saudis are there for us when we really need them at the end of the day.

QUESTION: You have been a military man all your life. What reaction within you, when you read criticism that Colin Powell is letting diplomatic niceties get in the way of a robust prosecution of the war, that he is slowing down our efforts?

SECRETARY POWELL: It is absolute nonsense. It's meddlesome nonsense for people who just want to find ways to jab the Administration. The military authority, Secretary Rumsfeld and his very, very competent team, under his very competent leadership, were the ones who came up with the military plan in the first place, and that military plan has been executed exactly the way the military wanted to execute it.

The State Department under my leadership, and both of us under President Bush's leadership -- it was my job to put a coalition together. Without that coalition, the military wouldn't have been able to present their forces into the region. So this is just meddlesome nonsense on the part of those who like to see if they can find fissures. But we are knitted up, the political and the military aspects of this.

QUESTION: Colin Powell, I thank you for joining us.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.

END 11:07 A.M. EST

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Interview on CBS News with Dan Rather

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release November 9, 2001

INTERVIEW Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On CBS News With Dan Rather

November 9, 2001

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thanks for doing this. A State Department official says, and I quote, that an accidental meeting or handshake between President Bush and Yasser Arafat could take place during the UN General Assembly in New York. What's that about?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, there is no plan for President Bush to meet with Chairman Arafat. If Chairman Arafat is in New York this weekend, I hope that I will be able to meet with him and we're working on that, so that we can continue our discussions about how we can get closer to a cease-fire and then get into the Mitchell peace plan process that will lead to negotiations. But there are no plans for the President and Mr. Arafat to meet.

QUESTION: I'm sure you're aware that there are reports circulating that the administration will be making a "major announcement" about the Palestinian question. Can you tell us anything about that?

SECRETARY POWELL: The President may touch on it in his speech tomorrow at the United Nations, but it won't be a comprehensive statement. We are looking at a comprehensive statement that we might make in the not- too-distant future.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, in your judgment, would US support for a Palestinian state be of an advantage to us in our present war effort?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, yes, I think it would, and I think it is. President Bush is the first Republican president to put it on the record that his vision includes a Palestinian state. Mr. Sharon has said the same thing. Foreign Minister Peres says it regularly, and I have said it on a number of occasions.

QUESTION: In the present circumstance, taking everything into account, what will that do to our relationship with Israel?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think it would improve our relationship with Israel. Because this Palestinian state would have to come into being by mutual agreement between the two sides in order for it to be viable, and that would suggest that the process is moving forward to the point where trust has been rebuilt, confidence has been rebuilt between the two sides and the level of violence has gone down to some very de minimus level so that they can move forward and accept some of the risks that might come with this arrangement.

QUESTION: If you could get Yasser Arafat to do one thing right away, what would it be?

SECRETARY POWELL: If I could get Mr. Arafat to do one thing -- and it depends on whether it is in his power or not to do this one thing, and there is debate about that -- is to end all the violence right away, and that would give us the circumstances and conditions that we could then say to the Israelis, fine, it's now time to begin all of the opening so that Palestinians can get to places of work, increase the level of confidence between the two sides, and get back to peace negotiations.

QUESTION: And if you could have Ariel Sharon do one thing just like that, what would that be?

SECRETARY POWELL: Right now, we have asked them to do one thing, and that is to as quickly as possible -- immediately if possible -- he will have to make that judgment, but immediately get the Israeli defense forces to withdraw from the Area A villages. They have made quite a bit of progress over the last week in doing that and I hope that, in the next several days, they will be able to remove their forces from those two remaining villages.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Dan.

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Interview On ABC News With Peter Jennings

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release November 9, 2001

INTERVIEW

Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On ABC News With Peter Jennings

November 9, 2001

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what did the United States do to facilitate this attack on Mazar-e-Sharif and do you think the Northern Alliance can hold the place?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I've heard reports that the Northern Alliance has arrived in Mazar-e-Sharif. And if that turns out to be the case, then I think that's good news. And if they have gotten that far, they clearly have cracked the defenses of the Taliban, and I hope they will be able to hold it.

Of course, we have advisors in the area, Special Forces people in the area, and we are providing decisive air power, first world air force there that, with each passing day, we are better able to integrate with the actions on the ground.

QUESTION: What makes you think the Northern Alliance can hang on?

SECRETARY POWELL: The Northern Alliance is not the Taliban, and they have the advantage of air power that can help them. And it's not clear that the Taliban, if they have been cracked at Mazar-e-Sharif, have the wherewithal to mount a counterattack.

QUESTION: Is the United States advising the Northern Alliance on what to do, vis-à-vis Kabul and when to move on Kabul?

SECRETARY POWELL: Our indications are and our thinking is that it might be best that they not go into Kabul but make Kabul untenable for the Taliban forces that are in Kabul. And, to be frank, there would probably be a high level of tension within the city if the Northern Alliance were to come in force and with a population in Kabul that may not at the moment be friendly toward the Northern Alliance.

QUESTION: But what's the difference between Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif in terms of the population?

SECRETARY POWELL: The population in Kabul, first of all, it's the capital of the country at the moment, and there could be some real difficulties if the Northern Alliance went in.

QUESTION: Many thanks, Secretary of State Colin Powell.

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Interview On NBC News With Andrea Mitchell

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release November 9, 2001

INTERVIEW Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On NBC News With Andrea Mitchell

November 9, 2001

1: 44 p.m. EST

QUESTION: Thank you, Maurice, and welcome, Secretary Powell. Thank you very much for joining us.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Andrea.

QUESTION: The Saudi Foreign Minister has rattled a lot of china here in Washington by saying that he is very distressed, "angrily frustrated," to use his words, with the Bush Administration decision not to have the President meet this weekend at the UN with Yasser Arafat. He said, "It is enough to make a sane man mad." These are very tough, blunt words from a Saudi ally. What's going on here?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I was with the Foreign Minister last night, and I can assure you he is quite sane, and has not gone mad, and he will be seeing the President this afternoon, and he can convey his views to the President.

What I do know is that Prince Saud, the Foreign Minister, is very supportive of everything that we are doing in the United States to try to move the peace process along. And he has been supportive of some of the work we have ongoing now to get the violence down to nothing, to ask the Israelis as quickly as possible, immediately, to remove their forces from Area A, and let's get back to discussions that will give us the cease-fire, get us into a state of non-belligerency so that we can get into the Mitchell peace plan, and ultimately get back to negotiations.

Anybody who works with the Middle East on any one day or another might feel the tendency to be extremely frustrated and angry and annoyed. It happens to me all the time. But we all are in this together and we are all going to move forward together to bring peace to this region.

QUESTION: The Saudis do seem very frustrated and very blunt. They don't usually speak this way. Part of it is clearly the continued reports, from inside the Administration and without, that they are not fully cooperating with this investigation. Why didn't the Saudis come forth immediately? You've got 15 out of 19 hijackers were Saudi. Why didn't the Saudis come forth immediately and try to give us names, identify the suspects, let the FBI interview their families? Why were they dragging their feet?

SECRETARY POWELL: Andrea, every day I hear the same report that the Saudis are not cooperating. They are cooperating. Everything we have asked of them, they have provided to us. Whether they have provided to us as quick as some might like, I don't know. But we are getting good cooperation. And so that story just does not go away. But we are getting good cooperation from the Saudis. They have been responsive. They are our strong friends and allies in the region, and we value the support that they have been giving to us. And as we have more requests to put before them, I expect that they will continue to cooperate in a similar manner in the future.

QUESTION: Well, it all depends on what the definition of the word "cooperation" is. But you've got FBI people in the field who have not been able to interview key members of these families.

SECRETARY POWELL: I will have to yield to the FBI as to what they have been able to interview in Saudi Arabia or not interview in Saudi Arabia. All I know is that from my perspective, and from the perspective of the President and my other colleagues who have worked this account every day, we are getting good cooperation from the Saudis.

QUESTION: Is this a case where the Saudi regime feels vulnerable because of the possibility of bin Laden's appeal to more radical people within Saudi Arabia? How vulnerable is the kingdom?

SECRETARY POWELL: It is a case that you are making, I'm not making. Obviously, they are interested in domestic unrest in the kingdom. That would not be unreasonable for them to feel that way. But remember, they are the ones who disowned bin Laden. They are the ones who said you can no longer be a Saudi citizen, and threw him off their rolls years ago. They are the ones who, since the events of the 11th of September, have cooperated with respect to the financial campaign, with respect to a lot of other things we have asked of them. They also broke diplomatic relations with the Taliban after the 11th of September incidents.

And so they are cooperating with us, and they are putting themselves at some domestic risk, but they are taking that risk. Their clerics are speaking out against bin Laden, and they have spoken out clearly about bin Laden and the evil he has committed, and the danger he presents to the civilized world, to include Saudi Arabia.

QUESTION: What would you like Yasser Arafat to do, Mr. Secretary, in order for him to get a meeting with President Bush, and is there any possibility they could have an informal meeting, one of those diplomatic dances in the hallway at the UN?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, there are no plans for a meeting over the weekend at the UN. As I do in every conversation and every meeting I have with Chairman Arafat and his people is to encourage them to do everything they possibly can to reduce the level of violence hopefully down to zero so that we can then get the Israelis to respond in an immediate fashion with respect to confidence-building measures, at removing the barriers, allowing Palestinians to get back and forth to their places of work, and getting going again into the Mitchell Plan, so that we can get back to negotiations.

QUESTION: And Mr. Secretary, just quickly, there is going to be a crucial meeting with Musharraf. He has been quoted as saying publicly that he wants a cease-fire during Ramadan. You have said that that is not possible militarily. What is the reality?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, he, of course, would like to see the air campaign, the whole campaign, over immediately. So would we all. But he understands that this campaign will have to run its course, until it has accomplished its mission. And he has said that he understands that. He hopes the mission is accomplished quickly. He knows that we may well have to continue this campaign through Ramadan. I am quite sure Usama bin Laden is not sitting over there, saying to his lieutenants, you know, fellas, Ramadan is coming; we better postpone anything we are planning to do to the United States or to Saudi Arabia or to Pakistan or any other civilized nation on the face of the earth. He is not taking a break for the Ramadan period, because he has no faith. He is an evil person and means us no good, means the civilized world no good, and I can assure you, he is out there trying to figure out ways to attack peace-loving, freedom-loving people who live in civilized nations around the world, to include the United States. And we are going to do what is necessary to go after him, and we are not going to hold back.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. We know this is a really busy time. We appreciate your joining us today.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Andrea.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you, and back to you, Maurice.

1:51 p.m. EST

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Interview On Fox News With Tony Snow

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release November 9, 2001

INTERVIEW Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On Fox News With Tony Snow

November 9, 2001

1: 22 p.m. EST

QUESTION: Thank you, John. And as you mentioned, we're joined by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Secretary Powell, there are press reports today that the State Department is going to introduce a 20-day waiting period, or at least extend by 20 days, the period for granting visas to people from a series of Arab and Muslim countries. Is that true?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, as you know, Tony, we are always adjusting our visa policy to make sure that those who come into the United States we've run a check on, to make sure that we are safe. And so in a number of countries we are putting in place a temporary measure that will give us the time we need to make sure we're checking all the relevant databases back here in the United States.

We hope it will be a temporary period, because we are putting together a more elaborate system where we can make that instantaneous check of all of our intelligence and law enforcement databases.

I want to assure everybody, however, that the United States remains an open country. We want people to come to our shores. But at the same time, we have to protect ourselves. And so this will be a temporary inconvenience in a number of countries, and then we hope we will get through it rather quickly.

QUESTION: A number of these nations are allies of ours in the fight against terrorism. Has there been any diplomatic response from Saudi Arabia or Egypt or India?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the policy hasn't been implemented yet, so we will see in due course. I've just seen so far today press reporting on the policy. But we are hard at work on that, and we are sensitive to how it would affect some of our friends and allies around the world. And I hope they will understand that this temporary measure is needed for our security, and we will assure them and reassure them and again reassure them that the United States remains an open country. We welcome those who want to come to our country to visit, to go to school, to take a look around, for whatever purpose. We are that kind of a society.

But at the same time, in this time of tension and crisis, we also have to make sure we know who is coming to the country, and we have checked them through our intelligence and law enforcement databases.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, next week you are going to be meeting with counterparts from Iran. There are press stories again today, and there have been in recent days, that Iran may in fact emerge as an ally of ours, or at least somebody who is going to be helpful in the war against terror.

In addition, there have been a series of riots in recent weeks that seem to be pro-American in nature in Iran. Do you foresee the day, sometime soon, when Iran once again could be an ally of the United States?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I wouldn't use the word "ally" in any either near-term or long-term period with respect to Iran. Some interesting things are happening there. We are willing to explore opportunities with Iran. We have made it clear that if they want to be a member in this campaign against terrorism, then it has to be against all forms of terrorism, and not just the terrorism that they happen to condemn today. They have a choice to make. And we are exploring those opportunities and those openings with Iran, and I hope to do so over the weekend at meetings in New York.

With respect to pro-American demonstrations in Iran, I think that is an interesting development. I have always known, over these many, many years, that we have had these poor relations with Iran, but there was a well of friendship among the Iranian people for America and Americans.

And so we'll see where this takes us. You have two factions at work in Iran, the supreme leaders and of course the president, represent I think a more moderate strain of the Iranian political culture and elite. So we'll see where this takes us, but it's an interesting development.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the President is not going to be meeting with Yasser Arafat this weekend in New York. What must Mr. Arafat do to get a meeting with the President?

SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I think in due course, when the time is right, Mr. Arafat will have a chance to meet with the President. We hope, over the weekend, that I will have an opportunity with Mr. Arafat -- he and I to get together and talk, and I hope to meet with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres if he is there, to see if we can get a little closer toward the cease-fire that we all are anxious to see come into effect so we can go forward into the Mitchell Plan.

And if I have an opportunity to meet with Mr. Arafat, and he is there, of course, then we will talk more about additional actions he might take to reduce the violence down to nothing, zero -- get it as quiet as possible -- so that we can start to restore trust and confidence. And as we start down that road, in due course, I'm sure that there will be appropriate meetings at all levels between both sides.

QUESTION: Should he repudiate explicitly a number of terrorist organizations, specifically Hamas, Hizballah, and Islamic Jihad?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think these organizations are clearly terrorist, and we have listed them as such in our various documents for a number of years. And I think he should reject the kind of actions they take, the terrorist activities they perform, because those activities have just kept the region in turmoil and are not consistent with an organization, a political organization, that is trying to achieve a peaceful resolution to the difficulties that exist in the Middle East.

QUESTION: And what steps can Israel take in the short term?

SECRETARY POWELL: We are hopeful that Mr. Sharon, Prime Minister Sharon, will find it possible to remove the Israeli Defense Force from the remaining villages in the West Bank that they are located in. And I know that he and Foreign Minister Peres will be talking to one another over the weekend on the outline of a plan to move forward into a cease-fire, and into non-belligerency agreements with the Palestinians. And I hope, as a result of their conversations and conversations I'm sure I will be holding with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Israel, we will have a jump-start that will get us closer toward implementation of the Mitchell Plan.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Colin Powell, it sounds like you have a busy weekend.

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, indeed. Thank you, Tony.

QUESTION: Okay, thanks for joining us.

1:28 p.m. EST

###

***************

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release November 9, 2001

INTERVIEW

Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell By Aaron Brown On CNN

November 9, 2001 Washington, DC

1:15 P.M. EST

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, good afternoon.

SECRETARY POWELL: Good afternoon, Aaron. How are you?

QUESTION: I'm fine, thank you.

Sir, as specifically as you can, what is it you want out of the United Nations that you are not now getting?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we've gotten a lot from the United Nations. They have responded with a Security Council resolution immediately after the attacks of 11 September and then a General Assembly resolution. They have passed other resolutions dealing with financial attack against the terrorist financial infrastructure.

Tomorrow, I think President Bush will make his first appearance before United Nations General Assembly and he will thank them for what they have done. He will also take note of the fact, I think, that the United States is doing a great deal for the UN. We have paid our arrears and that is good news.

At the same time, he will, however, tell them that the job is not yet done. It isn't enough just to sign up initially for the coalition but we expect all coalition members to give more than just rhetorical support, to give real support, more intelligent support, chasing the financial infrastructure. Some members are able to provide military support. But I think he will challenge the international community to continue to pursue this campaign against terrorism to its end, the destruction of terrorism as a challenge to the civilized world.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, is it possible that as this coalition gets more complicated as the campaign expands, that countries that may be supportive against al-Qaida might not be so supportive against Hizballah or HAMAS or groups like that?

SECRETARY POWELL: That's possible. Every nation is sovereign and free to choose what it will do. What is most striking about this coalition is that, despite all of the claims that it would start to weaken, it would fall apart, it wouldn't last, guess what? We're two months into this and the coalition is stronger than ever, it has prevailed. We have more and more countries coming into the financial aspects of this, chasing down terrorist financial infrastructure, we have more countries that are offering up military troops for use in the post-Taliban peacekeeping arrangements that might be necessary.

The President has had a steady stream of visitors this week, President Chirac, Prime Minister Blair, Prime Minister Vajpayee just finished his visit here, all of them showing their support for what we are doing and congratulating President Bush on the leadership he is showing in pulling this great coalition together.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I would like to ask you about some comments the Saudi Foreign Minister made, unusually blunt, it seemed to me. He said he was angrily frustrated by the administration's failure of a new peace initiative in the Middle East, enough, he said, to make a sane man go mad. Do you want to react to that?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I was with the Foreign Minister last evening. We had a good conversation. He and I stay in close touch on this. And I can tell you, the Middle East can produce frustrations in one way or another every day. But he knows that we are totally committed to trying to move forward with the peace process. I look forward to having conversations with a number of foreign leaders in New York this weekend. We're committed to getting to the Mitchell plan. I'm in touch with both the Israeli side and the Palestinian side. And I know that the Foreign Minister will be there to support us as we move forward.

President Bush is totally committed to remaining engaged on the peace process, getting through the security piece we have to get through, getting a cease fire in place and then moving through the confidence- building measures, ultimately back to negotiations under the basis of 242 and 338, two UN resolutions that provide land for peace. That's what we have to get to. We remain committed despite the frustrations, despite the setbacks that we encounter from time to time.

I have seen some progress in recent days, and I hope over the weekend to improve upon that progress and keep it moving.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary of State, it's always a pleasure to talk with you. Thank you for your time this afternoon.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Aaron.

1:20 P.M. EST

###


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