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Colin Powell Explains ME Peace Policy On TV/Radio

Colin Powell Explains US Policy On Network TV/Radio

Interview on NBC's Nightly News with Tom Brokaw

Interview on NBC's Nightly News with Tom Brokaw

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC June 25, 2002

MR. BROKAW: Mr. Secretary, when Yasser Arafat faced reporters today, they said to him, "Was the President referring to you when he called for a change in the Palestinian leadership?" And he responded, "Definitely not." Did he not get the message?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think he got the message. And of course the President did not specifically refer to Chairman Arafat in his speech yesterday, but he was certainly talking about the leadership that Chairman Arafat has provided, making the point that we need a change in leadership and we need to see new leaders come up so that we can have more diffused leadership where others have responsibility; it's not all in the hands of a single executive.

But the President was rather clear that he did not believe that the current leadership has been taking the kinds of actions appropriate to the situation, not clamping down hard enough on terror and violence, and not doing what is necessary to move the Palestinian people in the direction of a Palestinian state, which is what the President wants for them: a state living in peace, side by side with Israel. That's his vision. And we're going to work to get that vision, and we hope that the Palestinian people will put in power new leaders that will work more aggressively toward that vision.

MR. BROKAW: You have been saying all day long that the response from the other Arab nations has been very positive. Egyptian President Mubarak said it was a good speech, but he said, "I didn't see anything in that statement that referred to Arafat."

If Arafat is reelected by the Palestinian people, you have no choice but to deal with him, do you?

SECRETARY POWELL: We will see what the Palestinian people do in the election, and I don't want to answer right now in a hypothetical and --

MR. BROKAW: But why couldn't you answer that, Mr. Secretary? I mean, after all --

SECRETARY POWELL: Because the election hasn't been held. And let's see what happens after we put in place, as I believe the Palestinians are preparing to do, new constitutional procedures; hold elections which are free and fair; and let the Palestinian people make a judgment on the circumstances they find themselves in, where they are not able to get to work, they are not able to live normal lives; and let them evaluate the leadership that has produced these conditions and the leadership which has not moved them closer to the their desire for a state of their own. And we'll see what judgment they make, and then of course if it is that kind of an election, free and fair, then we will respond to what the outcome of that election is.

MR. BROKAW: A prominent Arab official told me today that it's impossible for the Palestinian people to meet all of these conditions while they are being occupied by Israeli Defense Forces, and that there was not enough pressure put on the Israelis at this time to pull out of the Palestinian territories so the constitutional process can go forward.

SECRETARY POWELL: Let me answer two ways. First, with respect to what the President said about his expectations for the Israeli side, as we move forward, his expectations are rather high: end to the occupation, end to settlement activity, return of revenue, open up all of the communities, and negotiations to end the occupation that began in 1967 on the basis of Land-for-Peace. So that's a pretty firm vision, and he wants to do it within three years, and he has put his full weight behind that.



Interview on Fox's Special Report with Brit Hume

Interview on Fox's Special Report with Brit Hume

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC June 25, 2002

MR. HUME: So, how does the US keep Yasser Arafat from controlling the election process and being reelected under the President's plan? To answer that question and others, we are pleased to be joined by Secretary of State Colin Powell from the State Department.

Mr. Secretary, what about that question? Suppose that you have the election; this is the one you've called for, he's even called for. He wins. Then what?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll see what happens as a result of that election. We hope the election will produce a number of leaders. I hope that we'll have elections that will produce a leadership arrangement for the Palestinian community that will disperse power, diffuse power, so that we don't have the kind of situation we have now where it's all controlled by one person and a few associates.

A new constitution is being written, and my contacts with the Palestinian community and my contacts with Arab leaders suggest that people understand that there is a need to make the government more broadly based. But at the end of the day, we're asking for a democratic election. And we will see what the outcome of that election is, and we'll respond to it when it takes place.

MR. HUME: There isn't any doubt though, sir, is there, that you would prefer that the next elected leader not be Yasser Arafat?

SECRETARY POWELL: We would prefer that the leadership that comes up as a result of the election and the new government that will be formed will be representative and will reflect the views and the will of the Palestinian people not to continue down the road of terror and violence; that will reject those violent organizations, the terrorist organizations, and will reflect the will of the Palestinian people to have a state of their own. That's what they want. They don't like this situation. They don't like being trapped in their communities. They realize that the policies that have been followed in recent years have not brought them any closer to that vision. I hope they realize that anyway, and I hope they will vote on that realization.

MR. HUME: When did it become clear, from our perspective here, Mr. Secretary, that Arafat was no longer the man, that we had to move away from him?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, you know, Brit, for a year and a half I have worked with Chairman Arafat and the other parties in the region, and we tried to get things started many times. We had the Mitchell plan. We had the Tenet plan. The President at the UN last fall called for a Palestinian state by the name of Palestine. We sent General Zinni over. And every step along the way we were disappointed in the reaction that we got from the Palestinian side. Terror bombs always seemed to derail the process. And we could not persuade the Palestinian leadership that they simply had to do more, both in word and deed, to get that situation under control.

When we had the Passover massacre at the end of March and we had the Israeli response to that, and I went to the region at President Bush's direction, I met with Chairman Arafat. And I said to him that there wasn't much more we could do going in this direction; he really had to make a strategic choice to bring this under control and to use all the power of persuasion that he has and to use all the instruments at his disposal to bring this kind of action to an end and to diffuse his government and to give us other people we could work with.

And I told him at that point he had to make that kind of strategic choice, and we did not see that choice being made. And so the President, with all of his advisors participating in the most intense discussions over the last couple of weeks, made a judgment that we had to say clearly to the world that the Palestinian people needed new leadership and were deserving of new leadership in order to achieve that vision that they have for themselves and we have for them and the international community has for them of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel.

MR. HUME: Now, the Saudis have not reacted. Other Arab states have -- some positive, some less so. The Saudis have said nothing. What's going on?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they're looking at the speech, I'm sure. And I expect I'll be talking to them within, oh, the next 12 hours or so, and we'll see what they say. I don't want to speak for them.

MR. HUME: What do you expect?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think I'll wait and see what they say. I expect it will be a positive response. That's what I'm expecting. All of the other Arab nations that have spoken have given positive responses. There are questions they have raised, and as President Mubarak said today, he thought it was a positive speech but he has questions; he's looking for details, and those details will be forthcoming.

MR. HUME: There was one question, issue, detail issue, that was raised. There seemed to be a question about what mechanism, what process, what framework you're going to be operating in to bring about all these things that you hope and trust will happen. What is the mechanism?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we're going to be designing that mechanism. I mean, for example, George Tenet visited the region recently, laid down a very specific plan on security, how we could move forward in security. Even without the change of leadership that we believe is necessary, there are people within the Palestinian leadership that, if they were given the authority, could be working with Israel right now, working with others right now, to do something about the security problems that are there.

And so there are things that can be done right now, even while we are looking for that new leadership. And we are in contact with Palestinian leaders. I'll be working with the Arab leaders in the region to see how they could play a more active role, and they have suggested they want to play a more active role in moving forward.

MR. HUME: And thanks to Secretary of State Colin Powell for that interview.


Interview on CNN's Connie Chung Tonight

Interview on CNN's Connie Chung Tonight

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC June 25, 2002

MS. CHUNG: Secretary Powell, the President has called for a change in the Palestinian leadership, but have the Palestinians privately agreed to some sort of structure; for instance, putting Arafat in a symbolic presidency?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I haven't had that communicated to me yet from any Palestinian leaders, but I sense that there is debate within the Palestinian movement now as to the nature of the leadership they've been receiving, and whether or not they need a different form of leadership where more people hold power, as opposed to just one individual with a few close associates.

And so I think there is movement in the Palestinian community. I have been quite impressed by some of the steps that have been taken with respect to reform -- the writing of a constitution, new ministers that are coming in that show some promise. And so I think there is enough churning going on within the movement that people will be anxious to move forward, and perhaps will have an opportunity to have a more broadly based government for the Palestinian people that will bring a stronger commitment to democracy and a stronger commitment to fighting terrorism and moving forward.

MS. CHUNG: You reportedly talked to Arafat and told him that his days were numbered, but just today a reporter asked Mr. Arafat if he could react to President Bush's speech, and Arafat said he didn't think that the President was referring to him. Does Arafat not understand what is occurring now?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, you'll have to ask him that more directly, I think. But it was some ten weeks that I spoke to him, and I made it clear to him that the direction he was taking is leading nowhere and that he had to make a fundamental strategic choice as to whether he was going to continue to tacitly and actively support the Intifada, with the --

MS. CHUNG: Well, then doesn't what he has said --

SECRETARY POWELL: -- with the terrorist acts that it spurned, or whether he would make a strategic choice to move in a new direction. So far, we have not seen him make that strategic choice.

The President never mentioned Yasser Arafat's name in his speech yesterday, but I think the implication is clear --

MS. CHUNG: Why not?

SECRETARY POWELL: Because he didn't want to personalize it. He wanted to talk to the Palestinian people, and he wanted to talk to all Palestinian leaders and say to them that the direction in which you are going now with the leadership that you now have and the leadership organization and government that you now have is not moving you in the right direction; and you need to bring up new leaders and put in place new ways of doing business that will bring terrorism to an end, bring the Intifada to an end, realize that the whole international community is standing by waiting to help you achieve this vision of a Palestinian state.

And then the President laid out that vision and put a timeline on it that we are anxious to move down and get this state in a rather short period of time, and the President put his full weight and authority behind that goal. But now we need responsible leadership coming out of the Palestinian community that we can work with.

MS. CHUNG: Isn't it obvious, though, that the President was referring to Arafat? You said he didn't want to personalize it, but in fact hasn't it become rather personal? President Bush would not meet with Arafat. And doesn't that make your job all the more difficult?

SECRETARY POWELL: My job is difficult under any circumstances, and it was difficult before the speech and it will be difficult afterwards. This is one of the most challenging foreign policy issues before us. And we have been in touch with Chairman Arafat. I have spoken to him regularly. My people are in touch with his people now. And he knows --

MS. CHUNG: And is it your feeling that he understands what is occurring?

SECRETARY POWELL: There is no way for him to misunderstand the message that the President gave yesterday and the message that I delivered some ten weeks earlier, which said to him you must make this kind of a choice. He has not made that kind of a choice.

And so the President, I think correctly, speaking not against the Palestinian people but for the Palestinian people, to encourage them to use the electoral process to bring in other leaders, responsible leaders, diffuse power, make it more democratic, go after terrorists, end this violence which is doing nothing but denying your dream for a Palestinian state.

We will see in the days and weeks ahead whether the Palestinian people respond to this message and provide that kind of government. If that kind of government is provided democratically through the elections, then they will find the United States and the international community willing to work with them to help them achieve that vision of a Palestinian state and work with the Israelis to open up the closures that currently exist, to end the occupation, to end settlement activity, to return their revenues -- all the things that the President spoke about yesterday -- as we move toward a Palestinian state, with perhaps a way station of a state that has provisional boundaries and other provisional aspects, but ultimately on the way to a final settlement.

MS. CHUNG: When will the United States make more demands of Israel; for instance, dismantling the settlements rather than just freezing?

SECRETARY POWELL: We think all of that has to be a part of a settlement. And as we move down this road, we have, as you know, always been calling for the freezing of the settlement activity. But it has continued. And that will be an issue that will come on the table rather quickly, just as it was going to come up on the table rather quickly if we had been able to get into the Mitchell Report process of last year. Settlements were going to be an early issue to be dealt with and to be discussed. And it will be one of the toughest issues.

MS. CHUNG: All right. Finally, when will you be going to the Middle East? Next week? Next month?

SECRETARY POWELL: When it's appropriate to go. Everybody is very interested in my travel plans. I've spent a lot of time in the last few days working with the leaders in the region, talking with leaders, getting their reaction to the President's speech. And so I need a little bit of time to get these reactions in, to analyze them, determine what the next steps are, what the appropriate next steps are, in order to make sure that when I do go, it will be a trip that will have purpose and we'll be able to accomplish something on that trip. Whether it's in the next several days or in the next couple of weeks remains to be determined, but it won't be in the too distant future.

MS. CHUNG: All right. Thank you so much, Secretary Powell.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Connie.


Interview on CBS's Evening News with John Roberts

Interview on CBS's Evening News with John Roberts

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC June 25, 2002

MR. ROBERTS: I asked the Secretary if President Bush's blunt call for Yasser Arafat's removal amounts to a victory for administration hardliners.

SECRETARY POWELL: No, and you really shouldn't always try to make a box score out of this. We all work very hard on this policy and we all support it totally. There's strong message to the Palestinian people about the kind of leadership they need to bring in place. We put Mr. Arafat on notice repeatedly, and I'm the one who did it repeatedly, and especially during my visits to Ramallah two months ago.

MR. ROBERTS: Have you now, as the President has, given up on Yasser Arafat?

SECRETARY POWELL: I am trying now to not give up on anybody. What we're trying to do right now, what the President is trying to do, is to encourage the Palestinian people to use the electoral process that they have available to them, to use a revised constitution to bring in new leaders that will perform in a more democratic way, be more vigorous in going after terrorists and terrorism as a strategy, to end the Intifada.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Secretary, is there anybody out there currently who could beat Arafat in an election and who meets the criteria that the President has laid out?

SECRETARY POWELL: There are other leaders in the Palestinian movement, and I think more leaders would surface if they believed there was going to be an open, democratic election, and there was the prospect of spreading power out so that it all doesn't reside in the hands of one or two individuals.

MR. ROBERTS: Both the United Nations Secretary General and Senator George Mitchell have said that the prospect of elections could actually install people who are even more militant in power in the Palestinian Authority. A concern for you?

SECRETARY POWELL: I hope that the Palestinian people, when given the opportunity to make new choices, will realize that radicalization does not lead anywhere. They have accomplished nothing as a result of the actions of these radical terrorist elements except to obtain the condemnation of the world, and made it more difficult for the United States to help them in their quest for peace and their quest for a state.

MR. ROBERTS: Secretary Powell, thank you for your time, sir. Appreciate it.



Interview on ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings

Interview on ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC June 25, 2002

MR. JENNINGS: Mr. Secretary, yesterday the President said Yasser Arafat must be replaced as the Palestinian leader before the US will support a Palestinian state. White House officials said it did not matter if Mr. Arafat won free and fair elections. Today, you and your spokesman say the US will respect whatever Palestinians decide in free elections, and you still acknowledge Mr. Arafat as a leader. Which is it?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I don't think there's any inconsistency, at least not in the mind of those of us in the administration. First of all, the President has made it clear that he does support the creation of Palestinian state. He wants to see that Palestinian state come into being as quickly as possible.

And he believes that the way to get to that state as quickly as possible is for the Palestinian people to exercise their right to make another choice with respect to who their leaders might be.

MR. JENNINGS: Let me just seek some clarification, sir. Why do you think a White House official said no Mr. Arafat, even in fair elections? Are you saying, sir, that if Mr. Arafat wins free and fair elections you will acknowledge him as the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people?

SECRETARY POWELL: What I'm saying is let's have the free and fair elections and see what the Palestinian people say to us, and let's not prejudge the outcome of those elections. I don't know about the official you're citing, but let's have free and fair elections. And when we have the results of that election, clearly we'll make a judgment as to how to respond to that new government.

MR. JENNINGS: Thank you, sir. If you are at all confused about this, there is more of the interview of the Secretary of State at .


Interview on Radio Sawa with Mouaffaq Harb

Interview on Radio Sawa with Mouaffaq Harb

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC June 25, 2002

MR. HARB: This is Mouffaq Harb. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary

SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Mouffaq. How are you?

MR. HARB: Good. Thank you, sir. The President said yesterday that peace requires new and different Palestinian leadership. Do we understand that from now on you will suspend any high-level contacts with the Palestinian leadership?

SECRETARY POWELL: We will remain in touch with the Palestinian leaders. As you know, we still have a chargé there, and we are in touch with different Palestinian leaders as recently as yesterday, before the President's speech as well as after.

But the President has made it clear, and we will make it clear, that we believe in order to go forward we really do need to see a fundamental transformation within the Palestinian government, within the Palestinian Authority. We know that work is ongoing with respect to transformation that includes writing of a new constitution, consideration of elections, and an understanding that what we have seen in recent years frankly has been no progress toward peace and intensification of terrorist activity which has not been brought under control.

The President is committed -- committed -- to finding a solution that will allow two states to exist, living in peace and harmony with one another. He is committed to doing everything he can for the Palestinian people to relieve their suffering and give them control over their own destiny and their own state. But he believes to move forward he needs to see more responsible leadership for the Palestinian people, and that is the reason for his speech, and also in his speech to hold out the promise for the Palestinian people of what is ahead if they take these steps: a state that could come into being within three years if we move quickly.

And I would call your attention to the President's sentence toward the end of the speech after he talked about the three-year timeline. He said, you know, "I and my government will work toward that goal." That's a positive commitment on the part of the President.

And I hope your listeners also take note of the requirements we will have as we move forward to end the occupation, end settlement activity, return revenues to the Palestinian government, and to make life better for the Palestinian people.

So I think it's a speech that is designed to move the process forward and is a responsible statement, and I hope it will be seen as such in the region.

MR. HARB: When was the turning point, or what was the major incident that made you reach that conclusion that the current Palestinian leadership is no longer a peace asset?

SECRETARY POWELL: You know, I have been the Secretary of State for 18 months, and I have worked very, very hard to try to get the peace process moving forward. And every initiative we took, everything we tried to do, kept crashing against the rocks of terror and violence. And I had many, many conversations with Palestinian leaders and with Chairman Arafat about this problem, imploring them to do more, not to say more but to do more.

And as we entered into the last two-month period where the violence was increasing, and there did not seem to be enough of an effort to bring it under control, I said to Chairman Arafat when I saw him in the Muqata two months ago when he was being surrounded by Israeli forces that it couldn't continue this way and a strategic choice had to be made to move in a new direction. And I pleaded with him to make that choice, but unfortunately we have not seen enough action from the current leadership of the Palestinian Authority that did anything to bring things under control, even within the reduced security assets that they have.

And after all of our work in the last two months -- consulting, resolving the situation at the Muqata, resolving the situation at the Church of the Nativity, getting the Israelis to at least pull back from where they were -- we still found that that was responded to with even more terrible acts of terrorism, and we did not think that the current leadership was doing enough and was sufficiently empowered to do enough to bring this under control. So we found that there was no other solution that we could see, other than have the international community stand by ready to assist, but it must begin with reform within the Palestinian leadership.

MR. HARB: Mr. Secretary, over the past few weeks, the President and yourself met with several Arab leaders, including Crown Prince Abdullah, King Abdallah of Jordan, and President Mubarak, who said that Chairman Arafat deserves another chance. Is there a disagreement between friendly Arab states and your assessment of the situation?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't want to speak for any of the leaders, but in our discussions with all of them, we came to a collective judgment on our part here that they recognize that the current leadership was simply not getting the job done; there was no progress. And we sensed a frustration in the region with the current leadership, although they were perhaps not quite as ready we are to step forward and say it has to be changed, and I understand that. But there was enormous frustration.

And we also sensed that even within the Palestinian community there was a sense that the current leadership was not taking them anywhere because they are more deprived than ever. They are living under a level of restraint and occupation that is not allowing them to go to work, to get to health care facilities, and they're wondering what they were getting as a result of this leadership and what was being accomplished by terror action.

I recognize that this is a very complex situation, but I sensed that there was a level of dissatisfaction within the region over the current leadership as well, although within the region they probably would not have taken quite the steps that the President has taken. But we think we can explain this step to the leaders in the region and hope that they will understand the need for this kind of change.

MR. HARB: From your speech in Louisville to the President's statement yesterday, now we have a clear idea how the final solution may look like. Any idea about the road map? How are we going to get there?

SECRETARY POWELL: A number of people want to see the details: How do we get there? And there will be some very difficult steps ahead and very difficult negotiations ahead as you try to find an answer acceptable to both sides with respect to return of refugees or the final status of Jerusalem or borders and things of that nature. These are difficult issues, and I think it's a little unreasonable to expect us to -- or anyone right now -- to have a precise road map as to how you get there.

And that will all come in due course, but it is absolutely clear to me that the first stop on that road map has to be reformed leadership that can then bring the terror under control, condemn it totally, go after those organizations and individuals responsible for it, distribute power more broadly within the Palestinian leadership, so that we have more people to work with and greater accountability. That will be one of the first stops along the way, and there are other stops along the way, and that's why we proposed a state with provisional borders and other provisional aspects to it so that you don't have to wait for all the final settlement issues to be resolved.

But the road map will emerge as we get started, and I don't think we should linger too much on what are the details. The details don't make any difference if we never get started.

MR. HARB: Mr. Secretary, if there is any single step that the Israelis and Palestinians could each do to get this process going and move ahead to achieve the President's vision, what would that be -- a single step that each side could take?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know that there is any one single step. But to not duck your question, the most important thing right now is to end the terror attacks. There are organizations who are claiming credit for these attacks -- Hamas, the al-Aqsa Brigade, others of that ilk. They must be spoken out against. Every Palestinian leader must not only condemn them, but make sure they are receiving no support whatsoever.

We are calling on Arab nations, as the President said yesterday, to cease all support for these kinds of organizations. The Palestinian people should be told by their leaders that these kinds of activities and organizations will not move us in any positive direction.

So both sides should speak out against this kind of terror and violence, and if it can be brought under control, then I think both sides can begin to talk to one another. And the most important first step then is to get the violence down and restore security consultations and discussions between the two sides to keep the violence down.

Now, this doesn't mean total quiet. I'm not sure that will ever be achieved, and then we are not successful with that. But there certainly has to be something other than constant bombing going on if there's going to be any hope of moving forward.

MR. HARB: Mr. Secretary, what does Syria have to do to help achieve the President's vision?

SECRETARY POWELL: Syria, I think, as the President said yesterday, has to play a role in that they will ultimately be part of the comprehensive settlement to all of this. And what they have to do is foreswear terrorist activity, stop supporting those organizations that are committed to terrorist activity or actually conducting terrorist activity, very often based in Syria. So Syria does have a role to play, and I've had a number of discussions with the Syrian leadership about this.

Syria also has to do everything it can to keep from opening or allowing Hezbollah to open a second front on the northern border of Israel, which would just complicate the situation even further.

MR. HARB: Mr. Secretary, last question. Could you say something about the future of the Middle East peace conference?

SECRETARY POWELL: We know that there will be a need for a meeting or a conference in due course. I had hoped that we would have seen enough progress by now to schedule something early in the summer. But in light of the continuing bombings that were on a daily basis last week, with large loss of life, and the Israeli response, I need to take some time now to assess the situation, see if we can get things stabilized, and also measure the reaction to the President's speech and consult with members of the international community, as well as Arab leaders, before deciding how to move forward.

There's no question that sooner or later a meeting or a ministerial level conference will be required in order to pull these pieces together, but frankly we have been set back by the inability to achieve a reasonable level of quiet that will give people confidence to move forward and sit around a table and start to discuss issues related to security, to humanitarian support and economic development, as well as a political horizon.

MR. HARB: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for speaking to Radio Sawa.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much. Bye-bye.


Interview on NPR's Morning Edition with Bob Edwards

Interview on NPR's Morning Edition with Bob Edwards

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC June 25, 2002

MR. EDWARDS: Joining me now is the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Good morning.

SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Bob. How are you?

MR. EDWARDS: Good. On April 9th in Cairo, you said: "The United States recognizes that the Palestinian people view Chairman Arafat as their leader. I have said this repeatedly. It is up to the Palestinian people to decide who their leader will be." You have changed your mind?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, what I said at that time was that Mr. Arafat had been anointed; but what we're saying this time, and what we have come to the conclusion on, is that he is not giving the Palestinian people, and his associates along with him are not giving the Palestinian people, the kind of leadership that they deserve, that they need really, to move forward and find peace. And it was reluctantly that we came to this conclusion, but it was the only conclusion we could come to.

And so the President and all of his advisors, considering the situation we were in where the violence is not getting any better and we did not see the right kind of action on the part of Palestinian leaders, and recognizing that Palestinians themselves in some areas were calling for reform and other nations were calling for reform in the region, we decided it was the right thing to do for the United States to make the clear statement that the Palestinian people should elect new leadership, find new leadership; and if they were to do so, then the United States stands ready to work with them and to work with Israel and with other parties in the region and the international community to move aggressively forward to create a state for the Palestinian people.

The President believes in this. I believe in it. I spoke to Mr. Arafat in April right after that statement that you just quoted that I made, and said to him that he had been moving in the wrong direction and it was time to make a strategic choice for his people. And unfortunately, that strategic choice has not been made. And we weren't going to keep -- we weren't going to move in positive direction unless changes are made, and the President called for those changes yesterday.

MR. EDWARDS: If the United States wants to support Palestinian democracy, how can it possibly say it won't recognize a state under Arafat's leadership, even if he is chosen in a free and fair election?

SECRETARY POWELL: What the President said, and what the United States says, is we do support democracy, but we don't believe that we are seeing the right kind of democracy, or democracy in action, now. It took Chairman Arafat six years to sign the basic law called for by the constitution. We see corruption in the Authority. We regrettably see that they have not taken strong action against terrorist organizations, even when it's within their capacity to do so.

And so as hard as we have tried to work with the leaders of the Palestinian Authority -- and I think I am second to no one in my efforts and the energy I've put into it -- it was not producing the kind of results needed, not just simply for peace, but for the Palestinian people. And so we have called on them to have elections. They are in the process of rewriting their constitution, and I sense that there is movement within the Palestinian community for new leadership and taking a look at the situation they are currently in. And we will see what they decide they want through these elections, and the United States will respect whatever they say as a people when these elections are held.

MR. EDWARDS: The President says he wants a Palestinian leader uncompromised by terror. Who in the Palestinian leadership would the United States consider uncompromised by terror?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll wait and see what constitutes the Palestinian leadership after they have rewritten their constitution and have their elections. I am not in the leastwise, nor was the President, suggesting that every Palestinian leaders is compromised by terror. I am confident that there are people within the Palestinian community who are responsible, who are committed to peace, who are against terrorism which is destroying their dream of a homeland. And we hope those leaders will emerge.

MR. EDWARDS: If Arafat is not replaced, then what?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll just have to see how that plays out. I mean, we will deal with the circumstances as we find them. But we hope that with the President's strong statement yesterday, and not just his strong statement with respect to the need for change in the Palestinian leadership, but what comes from that if we have responsible leadership that will crack down on terror, that will simply abandon these terrorist organizations in every way possible, and is willing to move forward with the United States and with Israel and with Arab nations and with the international community, there is a state waiting for them, which is what this is all about.

And the President went so far as to say that he would work to make it on a provisional basis as we moved forward toward a final settlement. And in that final settlement, the President said that the occupation would be ended, settlement activity would be stopped -- these are the requirements that we would place upon Israel -- and access would be opened up, and it would all be negotiated on the basis on the land-for-peace proposals in UN Resolutions 242 and 338.

An important sentence that the President had toward the tail end of his speech when he talked about the vision of a Palestinian state with final arrangements within three years, he said, "I and my government will work toward that goal." And that is President George Bush stepping up and making a personal commitment to the Palestinian people and to the people of the region, both peoples. The Israelis and the Palestinians need peace. They need to find a way to create a Palestinian state. It is as much in Israel's interest to have such a state as it is in the interest of the Palestinian people.

MR. EDWARDS: Is enough being asked of Israel here?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think quite a bit is being asked of Israel. But what is important here is that Israel has to have a responsible partner that is committed to cracking down on terrorism, ending terrorism, and negotiating in a responsible way without any suggestion that they are participating or supporting terrorist activity in any way.

Israel has made it clear -- and this is not the slightest bit unreasonable; we feel the same way -- that is it very difficult for them to move down a path to peace when bombs are going off every other day. It does not create the kinds of conditions.

And those who are setting these bombs off are not only trying to kill innocent Israelis, they're trying to kill the dream of a Palestinian state. And that is why we believe it is so much in the interest of Palestinian leaders, the Palestinian people, to reject this kind of strategy, reject these kinds of organizations, and bring in responsible leadership that will reject this categorically and crack down on it.

MR. EDWARDS: And when will you be returning to the region?

SECRETARY POWELL: I'll make a judgment on that in the days ahead. We've got a few things that we have to do first. The President, as you know, is going to Canada today to be with the leaders of the other industrialized nations, and they want to get a response from them. And I will be in contact with leaders in the region by telephone over the next several days and make an assessment of when I should return to the region, and for what purpose. And so there is some work that has to be done before I return, but I can assure you we're hard at work, beginning this morning, on moving forward on the President's vision.

MR. EDWARDS: Mr. Secretary, thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you. Bye-bye.


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