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Colin Powell and Javier Solana Remarks - March 4

Remarks with High Representative of the European Union Javier Solana

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release

March 4, 2002


Remarks By Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell and High Representative For Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Javier Solana After Their Meeting

March 4, 2002 C Street Entrance Washington, D.C.

(3:40 p.m. EST)

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It has been my pleasure to again receive my good friend and colleague, High Representative Solana. Today we had a good consultation on a variety of issues: Macedonia, Montenegro, a number of other European issues, and of course we spoke about the Middle East, as we often do.

I'm very pleased at the level of consultation that exists between the United States and the European Union, both with its presidency -- as you know, Foreign Minister Pique was here, who heads the presidency of the EU through Spain right now; he was here just a few days ago -- and now to have my good friend Javier Solana back.

We had a good discussion of the Middle East. We took note of the terrible situation we find ourselves in, with this violence that seems to be escalating, and we committed ourselves to redouble our efforts in our conversations with parties in the region in using all the measures at our disposal to do everything we can to end this terrible violence.

At the same time, we took note of some developments that have come along that perhaps give us some optimism that we might be able to find a way forward. And among these especially I would note Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia's statement of a vision last week, which we read in Mr. Friedman's column, and we are sure will be expanded upon in the days and weeks ahead.

I think the Crown Prince's statement was an important one, but at this point it is a vision that we all have to examine, and hopefully it's a vision that all Arab nations and Israel will look at, and that all of us together in the European Union, the United States and other leaders around the world will look at this vision and see what we can do to make this vision a reality. And so it is my pleasure to welcome High Representative Solana, and I would invite him to say a few words.

MR. SOLANA: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, very much. I think in the last three months I have been here in this house four or five times, so as you can imagine, this is not new. This is the type of relationship we have constructed between the United States and the European Union, in trying to tackle together the important problems that we have in the international arena.

As the Secretary of State has said, we have touched upon several issues, but no doubt the most important one is the situation of these days in the Middle East. We are very concerned about the level of violence, and we're going to make together all the effort to lower the level of violence, and from there on, as he has said, take advantage of each window of opportunity that may be in front of us.

As you know, I had a meeting with Crown Prince Abdullah in Jeddah, and I saw him determined to put his ideas forward. And we have to work and to work together, to work with him, so that the summit that will take place in Lebanon, of the Arab League, may be a success, an important step toward what we want, to want peace in the Middle East. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the Egyptian President, who you saw earlier, began last week, or maybe even earlier, floating the idea of he hosting a summit between Sharon and Arafat, and I wondered what you thought of the idea; could it be useful? Do you think Arafat, at this point, is still a player, can be effective in negotiating?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I did discuss this with President Mubarak earlier, and I appreciate the continuing interest he has shown in trying to find a solution. His idea is an interesting one, but of course it's up to the two individuals, Mr. Arafat and Mr. Sharon, to decide which forums they would participate in. I think that Chairman Arafat is still the elected head of the Palestinian Authority and seen by the Palestinian people as their leader, and that is the reason we continue to work with him and deal with him and his representatives. And I spoke to Chairman Arafat last weekend, and we'll continue to stay in touch with him.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, did you discuss the issue of ESDP and the problem with the agreement of Greece to the Ankara Agreement with Turkey? And Mr. Solana also, if you can say a few words about it.

SECRETARY POWELL: We did have a brief discussion on it. It's a problem we have been working on for some time, and I hope we may be closer to a solution, but I would yield to my colleague to talk to it.

MR. SOLANA: As the Secretary said, yes, we have talked a little bit about it, and we are determined to see if we can find a solution before the summertime arrives.

SECRETARY POWELL: I've got to go, because I'm getting sicker by the hour. (Laughter.) Not because of you.

3:48 p.m. EST


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