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Powell & Jack Straw After Their Meeting - 15 Oct.

Remarks with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw After Their Meeting

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
October 15, 2002

[audio; DSL/cable; dial-up modem]

(11:30 a.m. EDT)

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It's once again a pleasure to have my colleague, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, here. We have just begun our discussions and we'll be continuing them over lunch.

We talked, as you might expect, about the terrible tragedy that took place in Bali over the weekend, and our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives. And the United Kingdom lost a number of citizens there, and it once again reinforces our determination to prosecute this war against terrorism. And we will not be deterred, and we will do everything we can to remove this scourge from the world, and we are reunited in that purpose once again.

We also, as you might expect, have begun our discussions with respect to the UN resolutions that are being considered, whether it is one or two. Some think it should be two. We continue to believe that one resolution would suffice. But it's a process of consultation and we are in close touch with other members of the Security Council and the negotiations are intense but they are continuing, and I am hopeful that we will find a solution. I am sure that in the course of our lunch we will talk about a number of other regional issues -- the Middle East situation as well as the situation in India in Pakistan, upcoming NATO summit and the usual bilateral issues that we always touch on.

But it's a pleasure to welcome Secretary Straw, and I would invite him to say a word.

FOREIGN SECRETARY STRAW: Thank you very much, and it's a real pleasure, Secretary Powell, for me to be here for these discussions. As Secretary Powell has said, our discussions so far have touched on or been about the appalling atrocity in Bali and the discussions within the Security Council about Iraq.

As far as Bali is concerned, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair has just given an oral statement in the House of Commons condemning the atrocity and giving further details about the numbers of casualties that we believe has occurred there. We believe that at the moment there are about 17 confirmed dead and up to a further 13 reported missing, likely, almost certainly I'm afraid, to be in due course confirmed dead, on top of the 27 who were reported injured on Sunday.

We in the British Foreign Office are doing everything we can to assist those who are injured in terms of medical evacuation and medical care, and also for the relatives of the dead and missing and injured to enable them to travel to Bali or to the region on the same basis as the arrangements we put in place after September the 11th.

So far as Iraq is concerned, as Secretary Powell has said, discussions about a resolution or resolutions continue. But one of the things I am clear about is that in the period since President Bush made his historic speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September the 12th there is a much better and greater understanding worldwide, as I have noticed when I've been on my visits around the world, about the evil nature of the Iraqi regime and the paramount need to deal with the Iraqi regime's weapons of mass destruction.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, we keep asking how close you are to moving on a resolution, but maybe I can vary it a bit. Would the US go ahead with a resolution just to make a point, even if you don't have the votes?

SECRETARY POWELL: I wouldn't comment on that. I think what we have to do is continue the discussions that are underway. We were in touch with the French yesterday. They had some ideas. We'll be responding to those ideas and we'll see how things unfold. And I don't think I want to start speculating as to what we might or might not do under hypothetical circumstances.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary and Foreign Secretary, don't events in Bali show that your focus on Iraq is just a distraction from the war on terror and the campaign against al-Qaida?

SECRETARY POWELL: Not in my judgment. It shows that terrorism can raise its head in many different ways. And I think when we talk about the campaign against terror, we're going after those responsible for what happened in Bali, those who were responsible for 9/11, and those regimes that are supporting terrorists and developing weapons of mass destruction. And that nexus between developing weapons of mass destruction and supporting terrorist activities is focused in Iraq, and that's why I think Iraq is very much a part of this overall campaign.

FOREIGN SECRETARY STRAW: I share this view, and I'm making a speech later on today in Chicago in which I am talking about three linked threats to international security: from weapons of mass destruction; from rogue and failing states, rogue states like Iraq, failing states like Afghanistan; and from international terrorism. And if you want a safer and more peaceful world, we have to address and deal with all three threats together.

SECRETARY POWELL: One more, and then I think --

QUESTION: How serious do you think Indonesia is being about the al-Qaida threat? What more should Indonesia be doing and what will the US be doing to help move them in that direction?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll be working with the Indonesian authorities and President Megawati. Clearly, I think this has been a very sobering experience for the Indonesian leadership when they see this kind of tragedy.

I think it's also appropriate at this point to express out particular condolences to Australia for the large number of citizens that they lost. As Prime Minister Howard has said, this is Australia's 9/11. So we now can see that you are not exempt from this; you cannot pretend it doesn't exist in your country, and it can exist everywhere where the conditions are ripe and where this kind of terrorist organization can thrive. And that's why we have to go after them wherever they are, and I hope this will reinforce Indonesian determination to deal with this kind of threat.

Thank you.

FOREIGN SECRETARY STRAW: Thank you very much.


[End]

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