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Powell After Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace

Remarks After Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
September 12, 2004

(9:25 a.m. EDT)

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on Syria, did Under Secretary Burns give any warnings to Syria? And if he did, what kind of warnings and how was their response? And on Iran, sir, (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: Assistant Secretary Burns had very good discussions in Damascus with the President, other officials in the Syrian Government, and we conveyed a message to the Syrian Government that we were hoping to see movement in our relations and that we were hoping that the Syrian Government would take serious its responsibilities with respect to individuals crossing the Syrian border into Iraq to cause trouble, that the Syrian Government will take responsibility for what we believe are its obligations to make sure that terrorist organizations do not find a haven to work from in Syria, as we believe some have, and to point out to Syria that it was in their very, very strong interest to have good relations with Iraq and to work with Iraq, as Iraq tries to get rid of the insurgency that is threatening the hopes and dreams of the Iraqi people.

I'm also pleased that in recent days, the Iraqi Interim Government has had conversations with Syria, as well.

QUESTION: How troublesome is the new intelligence which suggests --

SECRETARY POWELL: I'm sorry. I can't hear.

QUESTION: How troublesome is the new intelligence which suggests that North Korea is ready to conduct its first test?

SECRETARY POWELL: The recent intelligence does not suggest that. The recent intelligence suggests that there is some activity taking place and that is inconclusive with respect to what it means. It could be that. It could be that they are doing some test preparations, or it could be that just some maintenance is going on. And so, it's not -- it's not conclusive and we continue to examine it and study it on a regular basis.

QUESTION: The Administration argues that when Saddam's forces dispersed early in the war last year, it was because the coalition was overwhelmingly successful in its invasion. Now there are reports of multiple battles today with possible U.S. casualties. Is this situation under control in Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: The Iraqi army was soundly defeated last year, as an organized force. And it was a very successful military campaign. But many of those individuals with their weapons or with access to other weapons have now formed insurgencies, insurgent units, and what we have to do now is defeat them once again, make sure that they are not successful.

We have to keep clearly in mind that these are individuals who do not want to see democracy, peace and freedom in Iraq. They want to take Iraq back to the days of Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi people do not want to go back to the days of Saddam Hussein. There is now an Iraqi Interim Government consisting of very brave and dedicated men and women who get up every day to try to move this country forward, and neither they, their forces, nor the coalition forces are going to allow the insurgents to take us back into the past.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on Iran. Are you willing to set a deadline for Iran to comply regarding its nuclear weapons program or nuclear programs? And, if so, would this be ahead of the IAEA meeting in November?

SECRETARY POWELL: There is an IAEA meeting that begins tomorrow, and we are in consultations with our friends in the European Union and with other members of the IAEA Board of Governors to see what actions should be taken. We believe that Iran should meet its obligations to the IAEA and the commitments it made to the European foreign ministers who have been in negotiations with Iran.

I hope that Iran will act in a responsible way. But our information suggests that Iran is moving forward with a nuclear program that could lead to the development of nuclear weapons, and it is for that reason that we have been applying pressure to the international community through the IAEA to refer this matter to the United Nations Security Council. And this will be a subject of discussion at the IAEA meeting beginning next week, this coming week, and of course, there is another IAEA meeting in November. We'll just have to see how all these meetings turn out.

QUESTION: U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Cofer Black was recently quoted in the Pakistani media as saying, Usama bin Laden will soon be captured. But three years have passed since the 9/11 attacks without even a confirmed sighting of bin Laden. What evidence does the U.S. Government have to support Mr. Black's claim?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think it was a overstatement by the press of what he actually said. None of us know when he will be captured. I think eventually he will run out of options and he will be brought to justice, but nobody, at this time, can speculate on when that might happen.

Thank you.



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