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Powell Remarks with Canadian Foreign Minister

Remarks with Canadian Foreign Minister William Graham After Their Meeting

Secretary Colin L. Powell C Street Entrance Washington, DC January 30, 2003

(11:15 a.m. EST)

SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Let me wait a moment for the plane to go over, if I may.

Good morning, bonjour -- and it's a great pleasure, as always, to welcome my Canadian colleague, Minister Bill Graham. We meet on a regular basis. In fact, it was just a little over a month ago when I was up in Canada for bilateral discussions. And this morning, we covered a range of bilateral issues that exist between our two nations. We talked about border control and security and some of the visa issues that I know are of concern to our Canadian neighbors. We talked about some trade issues.

And then we talked about the multilateral international issues of the day. We had a good and full discussion about Iraq and North Korea. And I value the opportunity to hear from Minister Graham with respect to the Canadian position and I gave him a foretaste of what's coming up in the next few weeks with my presentation at the Security Council next Wednesday, and then continuing consultations after that to see what action the Security Council chooses to take. And then of course the two chief inspectors will be back before the Council on the 14th of February.

So once again, Bill, welcome. It's always a pleasure to have you back in Washington.

FOREIGN MINISTER GRAHAM: Thank you very much, Colin. Appreciate your warm bonjour envoyez message au Canada -- but I appreciate very much your hospitality, of course, and our frank discussions on the issues that you've already covered.

Clearly, we are concerned that our border remain one of the most open borders in the world. It is today. Let's keep it that way for the benefit of our fellow citizens in terms of their prosperity and in terms of their openness and relations with one another.

As you say, we discussed other issues. Primarily that was Iraq, for obvious reasons. And I want to express to you, Mr. Secretary, the admiration of Canada and Canadians of the way you've been -- you brought, with the President, this matter to the United Nations and made a clear determination that we're going to work through the United Nations as the way in which we can ensure the security of the world in the future, and also the best security for the United States. And we understand that you intend to keep to that path. I want to encourage you to keep to that path.

Canada has made it clear that if there is a United Nations authorization, the Prime Minister has said we, of course, have always supported that multilateral approach, we would be there. We will be watching. We are working on this. We had a debate in our House of Commons last night -- all parties, a frank exchange amongst Canadians as to how we feel about this. There's very clearly a recognition that 1441 is the way to go -- 1441 speaks of a process which is still ongoing and of consequences if that process demonstrates certain things. It isn't over yet because that process isn't complete and a demonstration has yet to be made, but we look forward to you doing that on February the 14th. We look forward to hearing what Dr. Blix has to say on the 14th, and we will remain engaged with you to make sure that this is brought to a conclusion in a way that strengthens the international institutions and strengthens our chances for peace in the world.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, do you believe that Canada will end up backing the U.S. if it goes to war without the United Nations endorsement?

SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I would not wish to speak for Canada. Minister Graham can do that.

I do know that Canada will do just as the Minister said, and as the Prime Minister has said over the weeks and months: study this very carefully, recognize the significance and the importance of this issue. I think Canada is committed to the disarmament of Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and we all hope it can be done with the full support of the international community. And we'll stay in close touch in the weeks ahead to make sure that we have a complete understanding of each other's views.

QUESTION: Mr. Minister, is Canada still opposed to using force? It sounds like you're not ready to join any coalition to use force.

MINISTER GRAHAM: No --

QUESTION: What are you -- can you tell us what you're waiting for?

FOREIGN MINISTER GRAHAM: What the Prime Minister has said was that if there is a coalition directed by the United Nations, and as the Secretary has said, Resolution 1441 speaks of a process which is going to determine whether or not Iraq is failing to disarm, and if that is determined, that there will be consequences of that. That is something that is yet being determined in a framework of the United Nations. It's an ongoing process. We are watching that. We are engaged. We will be there to support that process. We do believe that Iraq has to be disarmed and we will work with the Secretary, with the United States and with other countries, through the UN, to achieve that goal.

QUESTION: A question for the Minister, please. The Secretary said that he gave you a foretaste of what he was going to say next week at the United Nations. You're not going to reveal what he told you, but I want to ask you if you --

FOREIGN MINISTER GRAHAM: Not if I want to get invited back. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I want to ask you --

SECRETARY POWELL: It wasn't that much of a foretaste. (Laughter.)

FOREIGN MINISTER GRAHAM: We trust each other completely, but we didn't have a lot of time, you know.

QUESTION: However limited the foretaste was, did you find it compelling, and do you think it will be compelling next week?

FOREIGN MINISTER GRAHAM: I think what the Secretary told me was that he intends to make a persuasive case that Iraq must be compelled to disarm, and Iraq has to understand that if it does not disarm, there will be consequences for its failure to disarm. Dr. Blix told us the other day that he's not satisfied with Iraq's progress on disarmament and its willingness to step up and disarm. We are watching that. We support the Secretary. We believe that Iraq has to know from the world community that it must disarm. We agree with that. We will watch what he has to say about the progress, but we all agree that if it fails to disarm, the United Nations will have to take its responsibility to make sure that Resolution 1441 is enforced.

SECRETARY POWELL: I have to get to a meeting, but the Minister has agreed to remain for a few more minutes.

FOREIGN MINISTER GRAHAM: Just a couple more minutes.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER GRAHAM: Thank you once again, Colin.

SECRETARY POWELL: See you. Take care, buddy.

QUESTION: Mr. Minister, in America we have long cherished our relationship with the Canadians, but there is a feeling among many Americans that the Canadians have perhaps gone a bit wobbly on the United States over the issue of Iraq. What would you say to those Americans to give them reassurance?

FOREIGN MINISTER GRAHAM: I would say to them that as the Secretary of State has said and as the President has made clear by his actions, by going to the United Nations, that the United States itself recognizes that its long-term security and the security of the world means working with coalitions of parties; that if one party, one state, acts by itself, it takes the responsibility by itself, it risks consequences in a complicated area like the Middle East, which would be very serious.

And the United States has made it very clear that it does not intend to do that. It intends to work within a coalition. And the best way to ensure the security of the world and to ensure the security of the United States is through the United Nations because, ultimately, that is the world saying to Saddam Hussein, "You have failed to act, here are the consequences, and we are delivering it. This is not the United States acting unilaterally or arbitrarily. This is the world judgment."

That is where Canada has stood with the United States. The Secretary has often said to me we appreciate the fact where we constantly said you need a strong resolution. We support you in that. We support the United States in that.

And we support the United States in its determination to work through multilateral institutions because we believe that our joint long-term security is best served there. And I believe Americans, at their heart, believe that too, and that's why this government in the United States has been so firm in working in the way it has.

So thank you all very much. I have to go now myself, but I'll be seeing, I think, some of you later. Thank you very much.

[End]

Released on January 30, 2003

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