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Powell Interview by International Wire Services

Interview by International Wire Services

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
March 18, 2003

(11:05 a.m. EST)

QUESTION: Sure. I'd love to begin. I'm wondering about, you know, the offer well, order to get out of the country. Is anybody helping the U.S. with this? Is there anything active going on? You know, we know the UAE showed some interest in it. I don't imagine you have any state secrets you want to give away, but is there an active campaign to persuade him to leave?

SECRETARY POWELL: There are a number of channels that have been used to communicate the message previously such as the UAE channel, which is a rather public one, frankly, and, you know, privately. But there are other nations that, and leaders we have been in touch with who have been delivering that message to him. And I've also seen some public statements from some countries that suggest he should comply and leave. I think I saw a couple of reports this morning.

But the answer to the question is, yes, we believe a message is being delivered through a number of channels, but he has essentially dismissed the message in whatever channel that it has gone in so far to include the President's channel last night.

QUESTION: There was some talk about Amr Musa going. And then he canceled his --

SECRETARY POWELL: I heard that, but he --

QUESTION: Was that what he was -- is that -- was that, do you know?

SECRETARY POWELL: He was one of many who was talking about this, but I can't tell you what he was planning to say when he got there.

QUESTION: So to mind the technical before you go into substantial stuff, first, when does the war start and how long does it last? Second, I will go into --

SECRETARY POWELL: Aha. You want that on the record or in Baghdad?


QUESTION: Whatever. Whatever way. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY POWELL: The ultimatum expires 48 hours after it was issued, which is tomorrow night and that's really all I think I need to say about it, I mean, a window, a window opens after that. Because that window closed, another one opened.

With respect to if there is a conflict, how long it would last; I learned many, many years ago not to make predictions of that kind. Not being the learned think-tanker, I don't know. But being somebody with considerable experience in this matter, I can assure that plans have been developed to try to do it as quickly as possible and with minimum destruction to infrastructure, to the resources and assets of the Iraqi people and with an emphasis on protecting the assets of the Iraqi people with high emphasis on avoiding collateral loss of life and with efforts to warn the population and to also advise Iraqi military units and military leaders on how they should respond to the onset of the hostilities.

QUESTION: And for the record, you are not going to the Security Council on Wednesday?

SECRETARY POWELL: I have no plans, no. I have no plans to go to the Security Council, but I understand there will be a session where Dr. Blix will present information on the unresolved tasks, and I know that, at least I've heard this morning, that some ministers are planning to attend.

QUESTION: Do you have a message for them? Are they wasting their time?

SECRETARY POWELL: I just -- you know, everybody can decide what to attend, but it seems to me that, you know, it's a meeting that can be handled more than adequately by my permanent representative, our permanent representative, which is what he's there for. So I don't know that this is something that demands the attention of foreign ministers but I leave that up to each foreign minister to make an individual judgment on that. I don't think it's of the nature of the kind we've had over the last month or two where we were desperately trying to see whether or not Iraq was or was not complying. And we came to a difference of opinion on that issue.

We believe that the evidence was clear from those meetings that Iraq was not complying and was in violation, further violation of its obligations and that 1441 laid out a clear path forward. Some of our friends wanted to see another resolution and as you know, we did not go forward with another resolution, but we believe the case was clear. Some of our colleagues on the Council did not believe the case was clear and tomorrow's meeting doesn't seem to further that debate one way or the other any longer, obviously, so I don't see any particular need for me to go.

QUESTION: Can we go back over --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry. Let's go proceed on an orderly path.

QUESTION: Are you sending a message to the Security Council by not going tomorrow? And over the last few months, I mean you have said repeatedly that it would be irrelevant if it hadn't acted on Iraq and now that it hasn't, are you prepared to say it's irrelevant?

SECRETARY POWELL: Absolutely not. The Security Council remains relevant. There's not reason in my judgment to go tomorrow. We'll be represented. We'll be represented by one of most distinguished ambassadors and somebody you know I have great confidence in. It's not a question of the United States boycotting the meeting, it's just that I don't see a particular need for me to go and I think most members of the Security Council will be represented at the permanent representative level, not at the foreign minister level. And so it's a judgment that, I think, the majority of the members will make that there's no particular need to go at ministerial level.

I don't recall, frankly, the president of the Council calling for it to be at ministerial level. This is an individual decision being made by some Council members that they wish to be represented at that level.

The Council remains relevant. I think it was irrelevant on this particular issue. It lost relevancy on this particular issue because it didn't deal with it forthrightly at the end of the day even though it had dealt forthrightly with it on the 8th of November when it passed 1441. But we will need the Security Council in the future as we develop new resolutions that will deal with the aftermath of a conflict if a conflict comes.

There are a number of resolutions in effect that will have to be adjusted and we want to make sure that we are acting with the support of the international community as we help Iraq build a better life for the nation and for its people.

1441 was a great achievement of the Council. I don't think you should underestimate it. It took a lot of hard work and lot of negotiation on the part of all the foreign ministers and permanent representatives. And it forms the basis for the action that might be necessary if the ultimatum is not acted upon by Saddam Hussein and conflict comes. There are some who disagree with that, but I think that the prevailing of international law says 1441 and its underlying resolutions 678 and 687 will give the international community whatever authority it needs. And as we have said repeatedly, you know, the absence of the UN's willingness to come together again, the United States is prepared to lead a coalition of the willing. And we have been asking people. We now have a coalition of the willing that includes some 30 nations who have publicly said they could be included in such a listing. Richard can provide the names to you later. And there are 15 other nations, who, for one reason or another do not wish to be publicly named but will be supporting the coalition.

QUESTION: What's your reaction to the Palestinian parliament's decision overnight to approve a prime minister that does (inaudible) as you understand it suggest the prime minister will actually have real authority?

SECRETARY POWELL: I was impressed by the action of that body. I think the vote was 69-1. And they pushed back on some of Chairman Arafat's desires to have the group and the prime minister presented to him by making it something of a creature of him rather than the legislative body, so I was impressed by that. I think it is starting to become clear that they wish the prime minister to have authority. It seems that President Arafat will still retain authority over security and other matters and we will have to see now whether the prime minister has the kind of authority that we can view as authority to start moving the Palestinian people into a more positive direction.

This is another positive step. It is not the final step in the transformation that we had been hoping for with Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people. But we respond favorably toward it. As you know, the President announced last Friday that we would present the roadmap to the prime minister when he is confirmed. Right now we do not have, officially, a name of a prime minister presented. What we have now is the creation of the position and vestige of some authority.

I expect in the next several days, Chairman, President Arafat will present a name and ask that individual to form a cabinet under the authority that the legislature provides. So this is, I think, a positive step forward.

QUESTION: May I ask you a quick follow-up? Our stories suggest that, as you said, that Arafat would retain control over the security apparatus, over peacemaking and the right to dismiss the prime minister. Are those three things acceptable to you?

SECRETARY POWELL: We would have preferred to see an even greater authority invested in the prime minister, but it is nevertheless, a positive. We have been disappointed in President Arafat's leadership and said so clearly when the President gave his speech last 24th; and we have not dealt directly with him. And the greatest disappointment has been the area of security, ending the violence and so there is a disappointment that that portfolio seems to remain wholly in the hands of Chairman Arafat, but having said that, we do have a prime minister on retainer with authorities given to him by the legislature. We'll see how that authority is used and we'll see how things move along.

QUESTION: Can I just come back? Does that mean that the roadmap has not yet been presented, correct? And you're waiting for the actual person?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah. The President was clear. I think the word he used was confirm.

QUESTION: upon confirmation --

QUESTION: Immediately upon confirmation, which sounded like within an hour after that someone's going to go deliver it to --

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I don't know that it would be that quick, but clearly that is the action event: the confirmation of a prime minister, somebody who is now the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority and carries the authority of the legislature for those parts of the total portfolio that he now has responsibility for. And that's what the President said and that's what we intend to do. Obviously, we have to consult the other members of the Quartet, the Russian Federation, the EU and the UN and decide how to "release" it. And the word is "release" to make it a follow-up document.

QUESTION: And you reserve the right not to put it forward if you feel that the prime minister doesn't have real authority?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think what the President said was pretty clear. I would just stick with his words. If we found that, you know, others stick with the President's words and if we found something was amiss that troubled us, we would discuss it with the members of the Quartet.

QUESTION: Should we expect once tomorrow's ultimatum is over a new speech by President Bush? And also, if I may ask, do you think if there's war, again, there's a real threat to the unity of the coalition, I guess, or (inaudible) not suggested today?

SECRETARY POWELL: On your second question, I've seen that kind of speculation but I simply don't agree with it because terrorism is a clear threat to the world. And even in those nations where we have had serious disagreement on this particular issue, we're still working well with and cooperating on with respect to terrorism, whether it's France or the Russian Federation, we're still working on terrorism because we all are affected by terrorists.

Russia is concerned about what's happening in Chechnya. Russia is still recovering from the shock of what happened in the theater a few months ago, and in areas like that, the cooperation will continue and remain strong.

We continue to work on chasing down financial leads. Pakistan made two significant arrests in the last couple of weeks of individuals, Mr. Al-Jazeeri and KSM as he's called, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and so that cooperation will continue because everybody understands that this danger is not affected by this particular disagreement.

On the President's speaking again, I'm sure the President will speak again for the nation when he feels there is a need to tell the nation about something that is happening. So I would, yeah -- if, if military operations begin, I'm sure the President will at the appropriate time speak to the nation.

QUESTION: So I just want to ask you especially about DPRK. Can you update some information on an acid-missile test they are preparing a non-acid missile (inaudible) discussed the processing business that would bring as well and you mentioned repeatedly that you wanted a multilateral approach, peacefully, diplomatic way of solution. But if these guys (inaudible) there will be a deadline if they stop being (inaudible) or repressive. Do you still think they are going to stick to this multilateral, peaceful, diplomatic approach?

SECRETARY POWELL: We're going to stick with a multilateral arrangement because we think it's best. The more I hear about this business of the United States must do it this way or else North Korea will never respond, the more I believe that that is not the correct way to do it.

This is not just a problem between the United States and North Korea. This is a problem between North Korea and all the nations in the region and the international community in the form of the IAEA. And the Agreed Framework was a bilateral, direct discussion with North Korea with all kinds of assurances. And the first thing that happened after those assurances, they began working non-enriched uranium. And so we believe everybody has a stake in this matter to stick with our position on beginning in a multilateral form. In a multilateral form, everybody can talk to everybody else. And it's, you know, Dr. Kissinger had an excellent piece on this yesterday -- day before yesterday, I think it was. And I think it's pretty logical, it's pretty straightforward.

And so far they have not begun the reprocessing facility. I don't know if they will or if they won't. I think it would make political dialogue and finding a diplomatic way forward much more difficult if they've started the reprocessing facility and I don't know what utility they think they would find in launching missiles toward any of their neighbors.

It should be clear to the North Koreans right now that while we look at these provocations with concern, they are not going to provoke us into a bad policy situation. And the world should be united on this. It sometimes causes me reflection late at night when I see how we are often criticized for being -- for not being multilateral, and now we are trying to be multilateral we get crucified by various commentators for not being bilateral. And so, but this is the likelihood --

QUESTION: This war against Iraq will be the "Bush Doctrine," the new preemptive attack, that you will attack --

SECRETARY POWELL: No, no, no. This conflict, if it comes, with Iraq, will be because Iraq has been developing weapons of mass destruction and has possessed them for 12 years in violation of its international obligations. And the President took this problem to the international community. So we have to do something about it. It's a danger. The President's overall National Security Strategy remains one of working with friends and allies and helping with the crises in the world that include HIV/AIDS, read the whole document. But in that document there is also a reference to the use of preemptive action. It's higher in our list of things one can do to defend oneself, but it is not something that is brand new. We have had preemption as something one could do all along. In this case, we believe we will be acting with the authority of the international community as well as our own obligation to defend ourselves under our Constitution and the President's authority as Commander in Chief.

And so I would not, I don't want you to go down the path, well, here, new doctrine started, that one's first, that one's next, and then that one. If that was all we were about, we wouldn't have gone to the UN in the first place.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, while the second resolution was being considered, there were countries that said they could support the U.S. only if there was a second resolution. It was clear you went back. You said you have on coalition, 15 silent additions -- are there others who you have lost because of the French strategy -- because of the resolution being withdrawn, and are any of them significant? Will there be a strategic or a tactical shift necessary? Your most valuable, not necessarily allies, but supporters or collaborators, whatever?

SECRETARY POWELL: I would have to look, you know, I don't know if I could answer your question, I would like to --

QUESTION: Well, there's --Turkey's first in my mind, but --

SECRETARY POWELL: Turkey? The cabinet is meeting right now to see what support they'll be able to provide for this. And I got to talk again to the Turkish Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Gul. I don't remember -- let's keep in mind, Turkey took it to their parliament at a time of very high tension and turmoil with a government changing. They were going to do that to support us and they didn't succeed. And they are going to take it back to their parliament and they are trying to figure out the best way to do that. It may or may not fit in with our own timing is the issue. And what exactly they are going to parliament is also an issue we’re working on through them.

Sure, there are countries that we wish would have thought it possible to support our position and support our efforts but a situation like this where you have these kinds of disagreements, people make their choices, we do what we think is necessary or we believe is right and then we will regroup for the next phase.

Some of the nations who did not support us in the second, I hope they will find the way clear once we have been successful if war comes to see if there's a role they can play in the future on that issue, subsequent phases of this issue or another issue.

QUESTION: You specified Germany, I think at a hearing, and I've asked Richard and he seems to think France would be part of it, do you think France will adjust after the war and become part of a reconstruction effort?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, let me not speak for France at this point. I'm not sure what position they will take and I'm not sure exactly what opportunities --

QUESTION: I don't mean he said that he would, I'm just -- he thought that having not supported the resolution doesn't exclude supporting reconstruction.

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know what's -- I have a hard time answering that. A lot will depend on how this unfolds. You know, I think the Iraqi people will see who has been there for them; I mean who brought about their liberation and who was for them and who was not for them. And let's not fight and be naïve that might affect things in the future. But at the same time, I think there's going to be enough work to do that anybody who wants to contribute in some way will be able to.

QUESTION: Things with Turkey seem a little bit better than they were just a week ago in terms of getting a deal in there. At what point is it too late, though? I mean it looks like we're close to military action. Once military action begins, is it still possible to (inaudible), as well?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah. We think they'll be -- in the next couple of days, there are things that Turkey could do in the matter of military action in their future. And that's what I talked to the Foreign Minister about yesterday, the things that are foremost in our minds. And my colleagues at the Defense Department still feel that there are things Turkey can do some distance in the future. You know, I don't want to be precise, but we would not shut down in the near future, our opportunities to get greater cooperation from Turkey.

QUESTION: Is this a priority on airspace right now, just getting the airspace?


QUESTION: What about the APEC? Can they still get the $6 billion? Or is it going to be less now because --

SECRETARY POWELL: The $6 billion was linked to a specific package and when that package was not able to move forward, then the $6 billion essentially was, let me just say put off to the side; taken off the table is an expression I've used, but it's not fair in the absence of that original package.

Now we'll wait to see what the Turkish Government is able to do and what the parliament is able to do and then we can respond to what's on the table or not.

QUESTION: Assuming that Saddam does not take this opportunity to leave and assuming that conflict followed and at some point that's over and you have 220-odd thousand troops sitting in Iraq, assuming all that, what have you -- have you made any outreach at all or any approach to Iran to kind of tell them that, "Look, even though these people are going to be on your doorstep and even though we have deep, deep concerns about your nuclear program, we're not going to be crossing the border? We have the next leg of the axis?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah, we have ways of communicating with Iran but I don't want to go into any details on those means or what particular messages are being conveyed.

QUESTION: So, what? You don't want me to say that there's been an assurance that whatever this operation, when it's finished in Iraq it's not going to be continued over?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know why the Iranians would feel that, but we haven't been in, the dialogue that we've been having with them is not one for assurance or no assurances. It hasn't been -- we haven't been discussing anything.

QUESTION: Sir, in Russia the people, the government and the people are very concerned about the coming war that President Putin has called a mistake. They are also very concerned about our bilateral relations and the possible fallout of that relations. So what are you willing to do? What do you expect the Russians to do to keep that relationship on an even keel?

SECRETARY POWELL: We do have a disagreement on this issue and I know that President Putin and my colleague Igor Ivanov spoke strongly that they think that war is a mistake. President Putin and President Bush spoke this morning and I think they have a clear understanding between them of their differences.

I think Russian-US bilateral relations will survive this disagreement and will continue to thrive because there is much that pulls us together: our common cause against terrorism, our desire to help the Russian economy, our desire to move forward with the Treaty of Moscow reductions and I know there has been a delay before the Duma in ratifying the treaty, but we got it ratified last week. (Inaudible) 95-0 vote. And we hope the Duma will see that it is in the interest of the Russian Federation and in our bilateral relationship. And we always have chicken exports that we have to deal with. So there's so much that pulls us together. And I think we will deal with this disagreement and move on.

We have had other disagreements with the Russian Federation in the two years that this administration has been here and we've been able to find a way to deal with those and move on, whether it's the ABM Treaty, Missile Defense and how we're cooperating and discussing with each other ways of cooperating with respect to missile defense. These disagreements will come along and as long as everybody realized that we have mutual interests, we can get through them and keep the relationship growing.

QUESTION: How do you see the Jackson-Vanik situation developing? There are two competing pieces of legislation in Congress now. I understand the administration favors one of them, the older one.

SECRETARY POWELL: I know that President Lugar had, excuse me, Senator Lugar has put forward legislation and I haven't looked at the pieces. We support the elimination of Jackson-Vanik. The President made that clear for some time. But there are, you know, there are legislative difficulties that we and we're going to go after it again this season.

QUESTION: Has Libya given the United States assurances that it will take responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing? If it were to do so publicly and to pay compensation, would that be sufficient to get them off the terrorist list? If not, what else would they need to do?

SECRETARY POWELL: This set of discussions negotiates at a very delicate moment and I would rather not answer your question at this time, because I would, some of my people just got back in and I would like to sit and talk to them for awhile about the offers that are on the table and how those offers are being -- are received by family members and there's different sets of issues with respect to air sanctions, UN sanctions, things of that nature. And exactly what we are, in the international community, expecting. And so I would, I will give you an answer, but I need to do a little bit more work with the guidance so we can generate a decision.

QUESTION: Can I ask you one thing that's related which maybe you can take on? How concerned are you about WMD development in Libya?

SECRETARY POWELL: We are concerned that Libya continues to pursue programs that could lead to possession of weapons of mass destruction.

QUESTION: This administration, sir, you have gone the extra mile for diplomacy, and probably part because of your strongest allies, Great Britain and Spain ask you to because of the opposition they find in public opinions against war, would you expect -- well Britain has compromised 3,000 toward a war, but would expect, for example, from a country like Spain to go the extra mile militarily or economically?

SECRETARY POWELL: We would hope that Spain would do whatever is possible both militarily and economically. I think, really, it has been a display of enormous leadership on the part of Prime Minister Blair, and I'm sure you watched him in parliament this morning, on Prime Minister Aznar, Prime Minister Berlusconi -- leaders around the world; Prime Minister Howard made a powerful statement this morning. Countries in the former Soviet Union and they have Bulgaria -- I spoke to my Danish and Dutch colleagues this morning about the support they are giving this effort and all of them are doing it in the presence of public opposition, serious public opposition.

People tend not to like war. They tend not to want war. They tend to express their desire for war to be avoided at all cost. I've seen this repeatedly in the course of my career when war was at hand and it takes strong leaders who understand the danger and understand the importance of dealing with an issue like this, even in the presence of public opposition, it takes those kinds of leaders to come together and stand tall as they are now standing tall in this coalition of 30 plus 15 more who we will we know in due course. And I am pleased that the United States, working with these leaders, have been able to make a case for these leaders to take to their people. And I hope that they will all be able to do everything that's possible within their means to support the coalition militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically.

QUESTION: Has there been a specific offer from Spain to help with some --

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't want to comment on a specific offer because of my Pentagon friends deal with it. But I don't have in my mind exactly what kind of an offer, and I think the Spanish parliament this very moment, when I talked to Ana Palacios this morning, the Spanish parliament was dealing with this issue and since I don't know what they -- exactly was put before them or what they may have decided, I can't tell.

QUESTION: Do you think the G7 and G8 will be some sort of favorite or the vehicle to rebuild the Iraqi aftermath? And what do you precisely, actually ask these governments to donate to the area.

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know if the G7 or G8 will really be the right model for it or whether it will be the coalition of the willing underneath some (inaudible) UN umbrella. Iraq has a source of revenue. It's a wealthy country as I heard Mr. Blair remind us all this morning. A couple of decades ago it has the Gross, GDP of Portugal. Well, this is not a destitute country; it's just a country that has misused its resources. But there are other nations that are ready to help. The European Union has expressed an interest in helping; the United Nations and its subsidiary agencies are willing to help. Japan has said that it wants to be part of the rebuilding and reconstruction efforts and they are analyzing how best they can help and that help will be welcomed, whether it's funneled directly in under international, some international (inaudible) or whether, ultimately the G7 and G8 decides to engage itself in the matter.

Right now we're really working with the EEU individual countries such as Japan, and now it's trying to coordinate more closely with the UN.

MR. BOUCHER: I think that's going to just about do it there.

QUESTION: Are you aware that you have been named in a lawsuit in Belgium?


QUESTION: What's the -- what do you make of that?

SECRETARY POWELL: I make it a short NATO meeting going to that.


QUESTION: Do you think this whole -- would this affect any -- you said yesterday you were traveling very soon -- not to Belgium, apparently.

SECRETARY POWELL: It's a serious problem. The Belgian legislature continues to pass laws and modify them over time, which permits these kinds of suits, and it's the same kind of law that affected Prime Minister Sharon. I have been named along with President Bush 41, Bud Cheney and Schwartzkopf. And also, even before anything has happened they have named 43, President 43 Bush and Don Rumsfeld.

Now I don't know that the suits have been filed so much as lawyers are preparing cases to file suits and the Belgian legislature is planning to make it even easier to do this. We have cautioned our Belgian colleagues that they need to be very careful about this kind of effort, this kind of legislation because it makes it hard for us to go places that put you at such easy risk. And I know it's a matter of concern at NATO Headquarters, now, and international headquarters sitting there in Belgium where not just U.S. officials but officials from anywhere, where officials of Mr. Sharon can be subject to this kind of litigation and if you show up, next thing you know -- Who knows?

QUESTION: Exactly. We'll move a foot to move?

SECRETARY POWELL: I've been personally, --

QUESTION: Are you personally comfortable with pursuing a policy that's being opposed by the people all over the world, by, in some cases, some extreme cases, attempts to pose (inaudible) with all those --


QUESTION: By the church. By the Pope today. So personally are you comfortable?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes. Yes, we've made clear and we had told and I spoke to His Excellency Archbishop Tauran the Foreign Minister of the Vatican yesterday that we understand the Pope's concern. We understand the Holy Father's concern, but sometimes issues come before us that cannot be avoided, but because we're peace loving and we hope they'll go away, and we believe firmly this is one such issue.

And I hope the same concern that we expressed to them the actions of Saddam Hussein. He is the one who has brought this upon the world. Not the United States. He is the one who has continued to pursue these weapons. He is the one who last fall, the United Nations challenged to come into full and immediate compliance and unconditional compliance. And he's the one that chose not to. And we believe the danger is real. And if we do not act now to disarm him as we said we would when 1441 was passed, the clear of intent of 1441 was for him to comply -- meaning disarm. If he didn't, it would be serious consequences. We believe he hasn't. We believe that he tried to deceive us. We believe that a game is being played with inspectors, and so we believe that we have met the test with respect to trying to find a peaceful solution and there are many cases in history where when people were reluctant to take the necessary military steps, the use of force, it was regretted later.

QUESTION: In case any of us have to write about the Belgian thing, can you tell us what you were accused of and if you think it has any bearing?

SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, it's not -- I guess you read it in the -- there are Belgian laws that permit this kind of litigation and in my case and that of General Schwartzkopf and President Bush 41 and Cheney, I guess, we are accused of -- or at least this lawyer is preparing a suit, I don't think it's been filed yet -- but he's preparing a suit accusing us of crimes for the bombing of the bunker.

Remember the bunker that was hit in 1991? That that was a crime. And in the same report that I have, they are getting ready to accuse current President Bush and Don Rumsfeld, and I have not yet been joined in this one, but I'm sure I will, for whatever might happen.

QUESTION: Can you say you think it's without merit?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, of course.

QUESTION: Okay. Thanks.

QUESTION: Have you told the Belgians that there might be a problem with NATO staying in Brussels?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I didn't -- they, I know, I'm just saying that NATO is concerned about this because it affects the ability of people to travel into, in Belgium without being subject to this kind of threat.

Kissinger has faced this, as you know a number of places around the world. And for a place that is an international center, they should be a little bit concerned about this.

# # #

Released on March 18, 2003

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