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Powell IV Fox & Friends with Brian Kilmeade

Interview on Fox & Friends with Brian Kilmeade

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC June 30, 2003

MR. KILMEADE: Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us this morning.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Brian.

MR. KILMEADE: Well, we knew it was inevitable, it was going to happen. Both sides virtually admitted to it. But already this morning, about ten minutes ago, we understand there's been a shooting on the West Bank. An Israeli has been hit.

What is the process Israel will go through, will go through before they actually take action, if they choose to do so, under this agreement?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I cannot tell you what the Israelis might do in response to a specific shooting incident. The positive development of the weekend, notwithstanding this incident, is that both sides have agreed to turn over Gaza from Israeli control to Palestinian control. It is with the expectation that the Palestinian Authority will make sure that no terrorist incidents come out of Gaza and that they will make sure that Gaza remains secure and at peace, and no rockets or mortars will be fired at Israel.

So this is part of the roadmap process, where both sides had obligations and commitments, and both sides are starting down that road to meeting their obligations and commitments. So it is a positive development. We knew, however, that there would be those who would try to derail it, there would be those who would say, "We don't want to see progress. We don't want to see peace. We don't want to see a Palestinian state. So let's do what we can to disturb it and disrupt it."

I am pleased that three organizations, Palestinian organizations, have agreed to ceasefires. That won't be enough. It is not just a ceasefire we need. We need the end of terrorist attacks even in the future, if a ceasefire were to come to the end, which means we have to get rid of the capability of these organizations to conduct a cease -- to conduct terrorist activities.

Israel has an inherent right of self-defense, and Prime Minister Sharon understands that as he defends the State of Israel he has to do it in consideration of the overall situation and how it affects our ability to move forward.

MR. KILMEADE: By the way, just to correct -- an Israeli -- the Israeli was not hit, but there was a shooting on the West Bank. So that is relatively good news. So there was one incident.

Now, just looking at the terrorist organizations a whole, Hamas in particular says they have a military wing and they have a political wing. Is there a difference?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think we can acknowledge that difference any longer. Hamas, over the years, has provided funds to people in need. It has a social component to it. It provides help to people. But, you know, you can no longer separate it out. If it is a terrorist organization, it is a terrorist organization. If it has a military wing that is killing innocent Israeli citizens, how can you separate that out from its social wing or its civilian wing?

And so it is time for all terrorist organizations to be abolished, to give up that capability. And I believe that Prime Minister Abbas understands that if he is going to have a state, a Palestinian state, then all militias and all organizations with the capacity to conduct terrorist activities have to be dismantled. All arms have to be under the power of the state, not under the power of terrorist organizations that are not answerable to the state. That is what a democratic state involves. And we will have to reach that point.

And this is a start. The ceasefire is a start, but it cannot be the end. We have to move on from here.

MR. KILMEADE: We know National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is in the region. You just left the region. It seems as though this Administration is focused like never before. In your estimation, Mr. Secretary, do you think you would have had this type of power, the Administration be taken this seriously, if it wasn't for the operation in Iraq? Did it give you something to make this possible?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think it did. The operation in Iraq succeeded in eliminating one of the strategic threats to Israel -- Saddam Hussein's regime -- and it also showed that the President was a man of his word, a man of principle. And he had told everyone that we have a roadmap, and as soon as the Palestinians come forward with responsible leadership, we will deliver that roadmap and we will be engaged.

The Palestinians did that by making Prime Minister Abbas the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. We instantly presented the roadmap to both sides, and in a relatively short period of time we had the summits at Sharm el-Sheikh, bringing the Arab world together, and then we had the summit at Aqaba, bringing Prime Minister Abbas together with Prime Minister Sharon and President Bush.

And now you see Dr. Rice and I doing tandem work there to show that this Administration is unified in our approach to the roadmap, and involves the President of the United States putting his prestige on the line, but beyond that, putting his considerable powers of persuasion on the line as well.

MR. KILMEADE: And finally, Mr. Secretary, when will you decide -- and I know it's the Presidential wish and he decides who's going to be in his cabinet, and you know he's going to go back to you again and say, "Stay with me." Will you say, "Yes, I'm going to stick around for the next four years, if we are, in fact, reelected"?

SECRETARY POWELL: I serve at the pleasure of the President. That's the only answer I've ever given to that question, no matter what form it comes in.

MR. KILMEADE: Yeah, I thought you might change for me. Since we had your son on Friday, I thought you'd say, "Well, wait a second, we should do that."

Did Michael mention --

SECRETARY POWELL: What did he say?

MR. KILMEADE: He was actually -- he gave us inside information which he doesn't want me to reveal to you. I'm only kidding.

SECRETARY POWELL: Okay.

MR. KILMEADE: I wanted to back you into a corner. It didn't work.

But did he mention his appearance on Friday, because we certainly enjoyed talking to him because, thanks to him, I'm on my way to no longer getting bothered at dinner with these direct sales marketing to my phone. For that, I am forever grateful to your family.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, my congratulations to my son on that, as well as to the Federal Trade Commission and the President. I think it's terrific. I tried to get online that very afternoon to do what my son said to do, but the website was totally jammed so I was not able to turn off all the dinner callers who continue to call me at home.

MR. KILMEADE: All right, we're going to work on that. But you're never home at dinner. You're too busy. Thanks a lot, Mr. Secretary. I appreciate it. And we're on our way, hopefully, to the roadmap to peace. An important step, a pullout in Gaza. Bethlehem is just right around the corner.

Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you. [End]

Released on June 30, 2003

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