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Powell Press Stakeout Following Fox News Interview

Remarks at Press Stakeout Following Fox News Interview

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
March 16, 2003

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, with the French and Russian threat to veto a second resolution on Iraq, do you think there is still room for diplomacy at the Azores summit?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, that's why the three leaders decided to gather in the Azores with the Portuguese Prime Minister serving as host for them. The leaders will be talking about this issue. And they will have to make a judgment as to whether or not Turkey is coming down to the talks here as well as (inaudible) can be done.

But with the French, certainly, and the Russians to some extent, they asked not to be counted. The French have said they would veto any of the resolutions that might bring a solution to this crisis, that they would veto the resolution that is before the Council now, and when the United Kingdom tried to modify that resolution to make it more acceptable, the French said they would veto that, too. So we know where they stand (inaudible), so we'll see what comes out of the meeting in the Azores.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, apparently out of France and Germany two suggestions today, first, on Tuesday the Council will meet in New York on a ministerial-level. Could you comment on that? And a second, President Chirac as a compromise suggested a 30-day delay.

SECRETARY POWELL: On the ministerial meeting, I received the statement that the three nations issued yesterday. To the best of my knowledge, the Council and the President and the Permanent Representative of Guinea have not decided whether or not there would be a ministerial-level meeting or when Dr. Blix will be providing his report. It could be Tuesday and I will just have to wait and see what is on the schedule and make a judgment as to whether or not I will be attending or whether or not to attend.

With respect to the report that I've just heard that President Chirac has suggested a 30-day period of time, I can say nothing about it because I haven't had it confirmed and I don't know exactly whether President Chirac has or not.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, if I could ask you to put your general's stars on again for a moment, the conditions over in the Gulf right now -- and much is being made of the conditions over there right now -- what kind of problems do they pose for the fighting forces as they get ready?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think too much is being made about whether or not it's getting too hot or not. Troops from the United States armed forces and the armed forces of the United Kingdom are well trained, well conditioned and obviously if it gets very hot it may affect how you conduct operations, but it doesn't mean operations aren't conducted. The last I heard, it still gets rather cool at night.

Thank you.

Released on March 16, 2003

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