Powell to the Press After UNSC Session On Terror
Remarks to the Press After the United Nations Security Council Ministerial Session on Terrorism
New York, New York
January 20, 2003
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good morning ladies and gentlemen. We’ve just, just concluded a Security Council meeting and I was quite pleased at the commitment that my colleagues showed to campaign against terrorism and I’d like to thank my colleague from France, Minister de Villepin, for coming up with this idea and for leading it as presidency of the Council. You have followed the proceedings and you will see the resolution, so I’ll take whatever questions you might have.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you think the United States has to come back to the Security Council for another resolution to act militarily, and if I can ask a second question --
SECRETARY POWELL: No, let’s do one at a time. As 1441 lays out clearly, Iraq has an obligation to provide to the inspectors all the information that they need to do their job. Iraq has an obligation to have submitted a complete, accurate declaration. Iraq has an obligation to create conditions within Iraq so the inspectors can do their work and not guess at where things might be. And so far, Iraq is not complying with the obligations it has under 1441.
I noted that today that Dr. Blix and Dr. El Baradei have made a statement that they’ve gotten a little more from Iraq, but it’s just more of the same. Only under pressure does Iraq respond. And so we will anxiously await the chief inspectors’ report next Monday, and then I think the Council has to examine Iraq’s behavior against the requirements of 1441 and make a judgment as to what should happen next. I will not say now, I will not prejudge now what the Council might do with respect to a second resolution, or what have you. Let’s wait and see what the inspectors say.
QUESTION: You just made a few comments about appreciating Pakistan for its role in the, as a front-line ally in the, against terrorism. But the fact is, the people of Pakistan don’t think that they are being rewarded or they are being appreciated more than lip service in this matter. Pakistanis in America are being targeted as reparations for filing for immigration purposes and all that. Is that the reward to an ally who has been on the front line twice against Afghanistan?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think we have done a great deal for Pakistan over the last roughly 16 months since 9/11. We have removed a lot of obstacles to trade, we have provided Pakistan with additional access to markets, we have provided Pakistan with economic assistance and various forms of relief, we have been in close touch with the Pakistani government. I think we provided some assistance in defusing the crisis of last year between Pakistan and India. I do know, however, that our registration procedures, NSEERS, that applies to a number of countries is having a negative effect.
I have discussed this with President Musharraf and with Foreign Minister Kasuri, but I think one has to appreciate that the United States has an obligation to secure our borders and the purpose of these procedures is not to target anyone or to intimidate anyone. It’s to get a better understanding of who is in our country, and we welcome people coming, we welcome people to America. We have to secure our border, but we want to make sure our doors are open. And so those individuals who are here, and who are here legally with proper documentation, have nothing to fear from these registration procedures. There are some who do have concerns and I encourage them to step forward, register and resolve whatever out of status situation they may be in. There is a certain risk for that, but nobody should see this as something targeted against Pakistan. It’s an effort to know who is in our country and to secure our borders.
QUESTION: Your words in front of the Security Council today sounded like an ultimatum to the members of the Security Council, sort of fish or cut bait. Are you telling everyone that the U.S. will go unilaterally, and did you mean to make an ultimatum to the Council members?
SECRETARY POWELL: What I was responding to were some comments that have been made by other Security Council members in the course of the debate, and the point I was making was that the Security Council has a responsibility under 1441 to bring Iraq into compliance with its obligations to the international community. And I wanted there to be no mistake about this, and time is running out.
There’s no question that Iraq continues not to understand the seriousness of the position that it is in, and this is the time for it to realize that we will not just allow Iraq to frustrate the will of the United Nations, of the international community. If the United Nations is going to be relevant, it has to take a firm stand with respect to Iraq’s continuing disregard of its obligations under 1441 and other resolutions.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Mr. Blix and some other Council members, and today the Chinese Foreign Minister, said that this is just the beginning that today’s finding of more chemical warheads, this agreement and the 27th report is just the beginning. How do you reconcile this with --
SECRETARY POWELL: It’s very easy to reconcile. This is not the beginning. They have known for years how many chemical weapons, warheads they have. And so we had to discover, the inspectors had to discover, another cache of them last week. And then suddenly today or yesterday, the Iraqis say, “Oh by the way, we found four more.” They know what they have. It is their obligation to come forward. And we cannot let them dribble this information, and dribble these items out for as long as they choose to in an effort to thwart the will of the international community.
QUESTION: On another issue, if I could, while we have you. On North Korea, what are you hearing from the people across the table? When would you like the Security Council to get involved in North Korea and how are you going to assuage the fears of their neighbors, specifically China, perhaps Russia that this issue is not yet right for the Security Council?
SECRETARY POWELL: There is solidarity within the international community reflected in the vote of the board of governors of the IAEA tow weeks ago, 35 nations condemning North Korea for its actions with respect to nuclear proliferation. I saw that solidarity reflected in the conversations that I’ve had here today. North Korea has chosen to ignore the resolution from the IAEA and to dismiss it and I think the IAEA therefore has an obligation to refer the matter to the Security Council for the Security Council to make its own judgment as to what it wishes to do.
I’m in close consultation with all of my colleagues in the region as well as on the Security Council and we are pursuing diplomatic approaches to the solution of this problem. As President Bush has said repeatedly, we have no intention of invading or attacking North Korea and we’re looking for a diplomatic solution and there have been some interesting elements that have come forward.
QUESTION: (inaudible) a few months ago, when President Bush came to the United Nations, to what extent is your department under pressure from other parts of the Administration to take a more stringent line on Iraq now?
SECRETARY POWELL: We are unified within the Administration. We made it clear; the international community said bring this to the United Nations. President Bush did that. He did that in a powerful speech in September that was followed by Resolution 1441. The pressure is on Iraq. Iraq has the responsibility right now to avoid a conflict, to avoid a war. It would be a very simple matter for this regime to come clean, recognize that we will not be deterred from our obligations to the world to disarm this regime from of its weapons of mass destruction. So all of the eyes of the world should be on what Saddam Hussein and Iraq does in order to comply with the will of the United Nations. There is no disagreement within the American Administration.
QUESTION: There seems to be a lot of disagreements here among you, Mr. Foreign Secretary of Germany, of France, about second resolution, about compliance from Iraqis. How are you going to deal with this? And a second question --
SECRETARY POWELL: Let’s take one, because there’s a lot of people here. No, no, one. Let me answer that question. We will deal with it in the matter that we have laid out in the resolution and in our discussions. Next Monday, the two chief inspectors will report to the Council. The Council will consider what they present to the Council and then there will be a debate beginning that day and then another debate, or a continuation of the debate, on the 29th. And I can assure you that in the days after that there will be many conversations between me and my colleagues in the Security Council and I suspect between heads of state and government to determine what the next step should be and to make a judgment as to whether or not Iraq is disarming.
If Iraq is disarming then there may be a solution to this crisis without conflict. But if Iraq is not disarming, the United Nations cannot simply turn its head away and ignore this lack of respect that Iraq has for the United Nations and the international community and we must not be afraid to meet the challenges that are ahead.
One more. I gotta go. You got it.
QUESTION: Mr. Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, said over the weekend that the Europeans are biased against Israel and are pro-Palestinian. Do you have a point of view on that? And he said also that the only ones Israel agrees with is the Americans.
SECRETARY POWELL: We are fully supportive of the Quartet, which we helped create, which consists as you know of the United States, the Russian Federation, the United Nations and the European Union. We have worked very hard to develop a roadmap that we believe will give us a way forward and will lead us onto a path that will result ultimately in the creation of a Palestinian state. That is President Bush’s objective and we look forward to moving ahead with our efforts when the Israeli election is over.
I think there will be an opportunity to put new energy into the peace process and to do something about the terrible situation that is affecting both people, both the Palestinians and the Israelis. Both sides are suffering and we have to find a way forward and we remain committed to the work of the Quartet and we remain committed to the roadmap we believe provides a way forward.
you. Thank you.
Released on January 20, 2003