Powell Remarks to the Press En Route to Chile
Remarks to the Press En Route to Santiago, Chile
Secretary Colin L. Powell
November 17, 2004
QUESTION: Could you begin by giving us an overview of the trip and what you hope to achieve on these various stops?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah, before beginning on the trip, let me just take a minute to mention one thing: Dr. Rice and I have been talking about transitions for the last several days. And after she was officially announced yesterday, we had a chance to talk and offer my congratulations. Our transition personnel are now working; folks from the State Department are working with folks at the NSC to make sure it goes in an absolutely smooth way. And, I also had good conversations with
Losing your hearing at this age, Robin?
QUESTION: No, but we've got air conditioning to contend with.
MR. BOUCHER: Can we turn off the air conditioning?
SECRETARY POWEL: And so, I'm quite confident it will go smoothly, and so we're starting to work on it. And, I look forward to working with Dr. Rice on this--a friend and colleague, as she was kind enough to say, for many many years. And, I'm sure she'll do a great job as Secretary of State.
With respect to the trip, there really are three parts to it. First: APEC, one of the major regional meetings of the year. The Asia-Pacific economic community, a community of economies that come together once a year at the Leader level, the Foreign Minister level, the Trade Minister level, but it does work throughout the year. It was created basically, as you all know, as an economic forum--that's where its name comes from. In recent years, though, it has been clear that security plays a role in economic viability and economic success. So, a security dimension has been added to it. Some specific tasks came out of the Bangkok APEC meeting last year, which we had been working on. But, it is fundamentally an economic forum with a security component to it.
And so, the President will be talking about economic issues, and as you know, Bob Zoellick and Undersecretary Larson are already down there now doing that, and have had one day's worth of meetings already, which have gone quite well. I think the President's principal focus will be getting APEC to become more energized in supporting the Doha development agenda, so that we can start to move aggressively in all the groups that are working on World Trade Organization issues. That'll be number one.
I think the President will also talk quite a bit about the need to fight corruption. There is an awareness within all of the APEC nations that corruption is a destroyer of economies, a destroyer of societies, a destroyer of the hopes of people for a better life under democracy. The UN has identified corruption as perhaps one of the greatest threats to economic development in the developing world and we'll be talking about that. The President will be talking about trade liberalization. He will be talking about the free trade agreements that we have been entering into, that so many of the APEC members have been entering into with each other, and how to bring this under the broader rubric of WTO activities. He'll talk about transparency. He'll talk about e-commerce. He'll talk about the need for protecting intellectual property rights. And so there's a fairly rich economic agenda that he'll be speaking about.
And then I think there is an agreement that we have to work together on terrorism, counter-terrorism activities, and you'll hear a bit about that. And we have to work together on dealing with the potential for weapons of mass destruction. And there are other nonproliferation issues that will be discussed among the member states. We can go into this in greater detail, but that is kind of the overall pitch on APEC.
And, of course, he'll have a number of bilateral meetings that I think you're familiar with. If you need more details on any of those, Jim Kelly can give that to you back on the plane, or Richard can. But, he'll be meeting with President Putin and President Hu and the new leadership who that have come in since the last meeting, Indonesia, for example, Mr. Yudhoyono, and others. The President looks forward to those meetings.
From there, as you know, while in Chile, I'll do some other things that you'll be invited to join some outreach efforts and youth programs, the kind that I like to do. From there, directly over to the region, visiting with Prime Minister Sharon and with Palestinian leaders. Richard can give you details as they come together over the next day or so. I want to talk to both sides. I have already begun discussions with both sides. -as you know, I had Foreign Minister Shalom in to see me the other day- about how we move forward during this next several months until we have the Palestinian election on the 9th of January. It's important for this election of the new Palestinian President for the Palestinian Authority to go well. And this is going to take organizational effort on the part of the Palestinians, and it's going to take assistance on the part of the Israeli government and the part of the international community to help the Palestinians. They have some financial needs, they have some organizational needs and I want to talk to the leaders who will be available about these issues and talk to Prime Minister Sharon about what we think Israel needs to be doing to help them during this period.
I've been pleased at what Mr. Abbas and Mr. Qurei have been saying in recent days about the need to end violence and terror. And I think the Palestinians have shown a rather mature approach to the situation they find themselves in, in the immediate post-Arafat period. And they seem to be coming together, but the real test is how they actually perform. And the first performance measure will be a political performance measure, is how they have the election in January. Between now and January, are they able to exercise greater political control over the territories- to end violence, end terror and to communicate a message to the Palestinian people that there is an opportunity now before them, an opportunity they should seize.
After those meetings we'll fly over to Sharm El-Sheikh. Hopefully the locusts will have passed through by then--they're in Cairo at the moment, eating shrubs. It's not a problem. Easy.
The prevailing winds will carry them out of the way by the time we get there--red locusts, for any of you who are interested in tick-tock. But, at Sharm El-Sheikh I'll have an opportunity to brief the Quartet members who will be there on the Middle East Peace Process and the Road Map, coming directly from Jerusalem and Jericho. So, we can have a good conversation. And, I know a number of the ministers who are attending the Sharm El-Sheik meetings will be going into Jerusalem, Ramallah, Jericho after the meeting. But having gone in before, I'll be able to share ideas with them, have a good meeting of the Quartet and review the Road Map to see if anything we need to do in modifying our approach, what kind of support will the Palestinians need in the months ahead from the Quartet, especially from the EU component of the Quartet. Financial assistance is what I have in mind.
And then we will go into the basic purpose of the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting, and that is to bring the Iraqi Interim Government and Prime Minister Allawi together with all Iraq's neighbors, the G-8, and when China attends you also have the P-5 since the other members of the Permanent Five are in the G-8. And there will be other organizations represented: the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and a number of other regional nations that represent regional groupings--Tunisia and a few others--that will also be present in the room.
And we have been working on a communiqué already, as you might expect, and its pretty smooth sailing right now. And I think you will see a strong message coming out of the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting that says Iraq's neighbors and the other parties represented there in the industrial world have come together to lend their support to the Iraqi people as they deal with this insurgency and as they prepare for their elections, and as they go about the process of rebuilding their lives, rebuilding their country. We will give a message of unity in that effort. We will talk about the absolute need for non-interference from anyone else in the region. And for everybody in the region to do all they can to make sure that people are not crossing borders to cause trouble and that they listen carefully to what Prime Minister Allawi has to say with respect to his hopes and ambitions for the Iraqi people and the kind of help he would like to see from his neighbors and from the other nations and organizations that are represented at Sharm El-Sheikh. I look forward to that meeting, as well.
I'll stop there, because you pretty much have the lineup of what we're going to do for the next six days or so. Who would like to start?
QUESTION: Looking back on the past four years, I'm interested in a slightly more general piece for next week, is there one piece of unfinished business that stands out to you most?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, foreign policy is never finished. You never accomplish everything you would like to accomplish during your term in office, your term of service. I certainly hope that we are now moving forward on the Middle East Peace Process with the new environment that's been created after Chairman Arafat's passing. We still have work to do in Iraq to put down the insurgency. We have got to make sure Afghanistan has successful elections. And, of course, we are continuing to work both the North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons issues. I see that progress, however slow, is being made in both of those areas. Spotlights and heat lamps have been put on both the North Korean and the Iranian programs. The international community is energized.
The EU-3 has made some progress on Iran. We have to be cautious, I think, until verification teams can go in. And there is some new information that you've seen, dissident reporting on Iranian possession of plans as to how they would actually weaponize a warhead if they were able to create a warhead. So, these are areas that bubble up to the surface of requiring constant attention, and of course will be priorities of Dr. Rice and for the President in the next term.
I spent a lot of time, also, thinking about what we have been able to do: liberating two countries from despots; what we have been able to do with respect to improving our relations with our allies and friends in Asia--the best relationship with China that we've had in, I think, three decades, and a strong relationship with Japan, with South Korea. If you had said to anybody two years ago, "Could you get South Korea and Japan to deploy forces far away from South Korea and Japan to stand alongside of us in a place called Iraq," they would have said, "it could never happen." But, it did happen and they are there with us. I think that's a testament to the strength of the alliance. Thailand has played a role there, as has Australia and the Philippines, until they found it necessary to bring their small contingent home. So, we've had a strong set of relations in the Asia-Pacific region that allow us to bring our friends together to deal with the North Korean problem.
I think with respect to Europe, the expansion of NATO, the expansion of the European Union, getting so many nations with us on the Iraq issue, recognizing the serious disagreements we had with France, and with Germany and Russia. Nevertheless, we were able to pull together a coalition of nations representing the majority of the NATO nations and the nations of Europe to be a part of this effort, be it in Afghanistan or in Iraq.
We have de-nuclearized and, frankly, de-weapon-of-mass-desctructionized Libya, which I think is a major achievement. We have entered into some 12 free trade agreements, and another dozen or so waiting to be entered into. We are reaching out throughout our own hemisphere--you'll see part of it evidenced here-- You'll see as the President travels to Colombia on the way out, progress in Colombia on our anti-narcotics effort and counterterrorism efforts that President Uribe has underway. The success of NAFTA--I'm very pleased with our relations throughout the Western Hemisphere, although there are some challenges ahead in places like Ecuador and Bolivia.
And so, I think there is quite a record of success. I'm enormously proud by what we've done with the Millennium Challenge Account, doubling the overall development assistance to the undeveloped world. And what we've done with HIV/ AIDS and the amount of money we've been able to put in the Global Health Fund, as well as the President's Emergency Fund.
Many of you have heard this sermon before, so I will stop it at this point so as not to go on for another 30 minutes.
QUESTION: Can I take you back to what you were saying about Iran, and the latest accusations? The group that has made this has sometimes been right with the facts and has sometimes been wrong. You also talked about verification, so what's the US attitude to this? Is this something that looks credible, or do you need to look into it further?
SECRETAERY POWELL: I have seen intelligence which would corroborate what this dissident group is saying. And it should be of concern to all parties. There's been some commentary that the United States did not want to work with the EU-3, or separated itself from the EU-3. The EU-3 has played an important role, but they know as well as we do that they got an agreement with Iran in the Fall of 2003, and then Iran violated that agreement and broke the commitments that it made. So, the EU-3, in this instance, went back in. We didn't become a part of the EU-3 because that wouldn't have been appropriate and I'm not sure the Iranians would have welcomed that anyway. But, the EU-3 went back in this time, with us having full knowledge of every negotiating position they were taking, what they were presenting to the Iranians. I've been in constant touch with all three foreign ministers, and John Bolton, my very, very determined Undersecretary of [State] for Arms Control, has been in constant touch with all of their political directors. So, we were right there with them as this unfolded. And we said to them, "you've got to make sure you've got something that gives us some confidence that they're going to meet their commitments this time." And they think that they have done that, and they're now working to get our verification teams in from the IAEA.
And we'll be following this with a certain degree of caution--not in opposition to what's going on, but with necessary, deserved caution, because for 20 years the Iranians have been trying to hide things from the international community. And it is the United States, rather than us being a problem, we have been the ones who have been pointing out to the world since 2001, when the President came into office, that there was a problem in Iran. And, finally, the Russians came to that conclusion, the IAEA came to that conclusion and the EU-3 got involved. And if it hadn't been for the kind of attention that we have given to this issue, both at the Presidential level, at my level, at John Bolton's level, at many other levels, I'm not sure we would have seen the kind of attention given to the issue that we're now seeing given to this issue. Now, once we continue to examine the EU-3 document and the Iranian response and what the IAEA is doing, it will all go up to the IAEA Board of Governors later this month. We'll have a chance to examine it all there and make a judgment as to what is the appropriate action following the IAEA Board of Governors meeting.
QUESTION: If I can ask a follow-up to the first part of the question, when you say that you have seen evidence that corroborates what which elements? They're saying three things: one, that A.Q. Khan gave both a warhead design and bomb-grade uranium, and then the other thing they're saying is that they are developing uranium at a secret northeast location.
SECRETARY POWELL: I have seen information I haven't seen the entire report on my blackberry, we're all blackberried together. But I have seen information that suggests I can't say it came from A.Q. Khan but I have seen some information that would suggest that they had been actively working on delivery systems, to deliver.
QUESTION: Deliver? What deliveries?
SECRETARY POWELL: You don't have a weapon until you put it in something that can deliver a weapon.
QUESTION: But, you're talking about missiles?
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm talking about delivery systems.
QUESTION: So, no necessarily the uranium, the bomb-grade uranium?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, I'm not talking about uranium. I'm not talking about fissile material. I'm not talking about a warhead. I'm talking about what one does with a warhead. So, in other words, there is no doubt in my mind, and it is clearly straightforward, I think, from what we've been saying for years, that they have been interested in a nuclear weapon that has utility, meaning that it is something they would be able to deliver, not just something that sits there.
QUESTION: Sir, excuse me, but, isn't it a matter of public record that they have delivery systems, missiles capable of delivering such weapons?
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm not talking about whether they had the missiles. I'm talking about information that says that they not only had these missiles, but I'm aware of information that suggests they were working hard as to how to put the two together.
QUESTION: So, I just want to follow up on what you said about the EU-3 deal. You said that they think...
SECRETARY POWELL: Excuse me, just to make sure, but I can't say anything about the northeast, about the A.Q. Khan. I don't have that level of detail.
QUESTION: They think that they've found a way to make it work
SECRETARY POWELL: make the
QUESTION: The EU-3 said they think they've found a way to make it work now. You think they've found a way to make it work. Will you, when you're in Sharm, meet with the Iranian foreign minister?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll be meeting in a group. Whether there is any opportunity for other meetings or whether there's any need for other meetings, I don't know. We haven't made a judgment.
QUESTION: But, do you think that
SECRETARY POWELL: I've met with them like this in previous settings, 6 plus 2 in Afghanistan and at other international fora. So, that's the kind of meeting we're going to have. Whether anything, whether there's a social opportunity or not remains to be seen.
QUESTION: Do you think the EU-3 is right to think they've found a way to make it work this time?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well to make it work what they have gotten is the Iranians to say that they will suspend for some period of time. And we really have always been interested in more than just something that can be switched on and off. Now, with the necessary verification in place, the other assurances they may have gotten, maybe it's more than that. And so, we are going to continue to follow this carefully, follow the verification work that's going to be done, and be cautious because the Iranians have a pattern of behavior that suggests caution is quite appropriate at this time.
QUESTION: Also on Iran, what is your assessment of their involvement in Iraq? There's a magazine piece this week that says Iran attempted the assassination of Bremer and a lot of other bad things in Iraq. What's your message to them on Iraq?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they'll get a message in Sharm El-Sheikh, I think, from everybody that this is the time to help Iraq. And anything that serves to either destabilize the country or destabilize the government or to allow actions to take place from their countries that would put the coalition forces at risk would not be helpful or useful. And, I can't comment on the news magazine article--I haven't seen it, nor have I heard that charge before.
QUESTION: How about more generally, though, in terms of what they're doing in Iraq? They obviously have interest in the Shiites.
SECRETARY POWELL: They obviously have interest in the Shiites. The Iraqi Shiites have their own interests, which don't always coincide with the interests of the Iranian Shiites. We think this is the time for non-interference. Let the Iraqis move forward toward their elections in January without [neighbors] interfering in this, or trying to influence them.
QUESTION: Do you see signs that the Iranians are actively trying to organize candidates for the January elections? They're providing advice on the slates?
SECRETARY POWELL: It wouldn't surprise me if such things were happening, but I haven't I don't have any concrete evidence, but it would not surprise me. Everybody is talking with everybody over there. Every day there are more and more slates being designed, and when I get up the next morning they've all changed. It kind of reminds me of democracy in some parts of the United States, these shifting allegiances and alliances and people try to create a slate that maximizes their interests and maximizes their chance of getting the largest possible number of seats in the Transitional Assembly. And some days you hear about one slate, one list; other days it's three lists; and, other days you hear about a dozen lists. And we've got another week or so to see how this settles out and then, until the 6th of December, they can move names around on the list. Because it is not only having your name on the list, but where is it on the list.
MR. BOUCHER: You've got time for a couple more.
QUESTION: Let me ask this on the cross-border situation, following up. What is the cross-border situation with Syria, because I think you had some encouraging comments about that? And how would you compare the Iranian border situation with that?
SECRETARY POWELL: The Syrians have been a little more cooperative. They have started to move in the directions they said they would when Assistant Secretary Burns was there. And Prime Minister Allawi and his people have been in touch with the Syrians directly; they're having meetings. The Iranians, its a little less clear to me what may be moving across the border. And we don't have quite the same, frankly at all, we don't have the same level of conversation taking place between the Iraqi Interim Government and the Iranian government. But there are others in the international community who are able to speak to the Iranians and can talk to them about this directly. And through most of our G-8 colleagues can carry this message to the Iranians both in Sharm El-Sheikh and after Sharm El-Sheikh, and have done some work before Sharm El-Sheikh.
QUESTION: Can I ask you, you mentioned things like talking the communiqué, you want to see them talking about not crossing borders, absolute non-interference, helping Allawi...given Iran's record and our concern about their activities in Iraq in the past, do you have any confidence that even if the Iranians do sign something that they will actually follow through?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know, I can't be sure. I hope that they will see as a result of Sharm El-Sheikh and what is discussed there, and what Prime Minister Allawi says, I hope that they will see that it is in their ultimate interest for Iraq to have a successful election at the end of January and to start down the road of becoming a non-interfering, peaceful neighbor, as opposed to reverting to the past, to the kind of regime that Iran fought for eight years. So, whether the Iranians feel that way, I've got no illusions about what the Iranians might do. We'll just have to see. They are coming to the conference. They are working on the communiqué along with us.
MR. BOUCHER: Last one.
SECRETARY POWELL: It's a communiqué. Everybody works on a communiqué.
QUESTION: And they're aware of all of this.
SECRETARY POWELL: They are aware of what the Egyptians are the Egyptians have the pen.
QUESTION: There are reports coming out of North Korea that suddenly pictures of the dear leader are disappearing from public buildings. And I just wanted to ask you if you know whether anything is up with the leadership in that country? And second, you're going to be meeting with the Chinese foreign minister here and the Korean foreign minister, the President's been re-elected, where are you going to move now on North Korea?
SECRETARY POWELL: We moved. We moved in June. We put down a good new proposal and it was welcomed by all of our partners there. The North Koreans took it aboard and they've been studying it. The election is now over. We have seen a few signals coming out of North Korea where they said, "no, we never insisted that it had to be solved in a bilateral way." We'll have to wait and see. I'll see what my Chinese and South Korean colleagues have picked up in recent days.
I can't talk to the pictures. I don't know if this is truly anecdotal: one or two pictures, the rain washed them down or somebody ripped them down. I just don't know.
QUESTION: If I could just quickly get something on the Peace Process. People are now talking, who have been pessimistic in the past, that the establishment of a Palestinian state, this is something that could be accomplished in the next four years. Peace in the Middle East after all these years. Do you think that this talk is realistic, or potentially dangerous in creating false hopes and expectations?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we would certainly like to see it, as the President said. And he'll be working hard toward that end. It came up when he was with Prime Minister Blair last Friday. And we'll certainly be working toward that end, but it is only 10 days or so since this new environment was created and I think it is premature to say what's going to happen. We've got to take it one step at a time. But, there's no reason not to work toward the end of creating a Palestinian state as quickly as you can. But, I can't give you a calendar. The President has four years to work on it and then it'll become someone else's task to work on if he hasn't solved it by then. And I know that he would very much like to solve it before then.
Weisman had a question.
QUESTION: I've got more questions. We've all got more questions.
SECRETARY POWELL: Weisman had his hand up and he yielded.
QUESTION: On Israel, a lot of developments with the Palestinians: Hamas and Islamic Jihad, saying they are going to boycott; reports that Israel is going to deploy forces to make Galilee, the election easier; the issue of who can go to Jerusalem. Do you see any signs of movement that you can nudge along when you get there? What is your understanding of what is going on and what you would like to see go on?
SECRETARY POWELL: What we have heard from the Israeli government in statements that the Prime Minister had made and conversations that our Ambassador has had with them, in my conversation with Silvan Shalom on Monday, I sense an understanding on their part that we need to have this election go forward and a willingness on their part to facilitate that happening. You may recall when the Foreign Minister and I went out, he was asked specifically about Jerusalem, and he answered once, but he came back to it though, and said in 1996 we found a way to solve the problem with post office voting. So, I sense a forward-looking attitude on the part of the Israelis to help the Palestinians pull off this election, because it's in their interest. They have always said that they wanted a partner for peace and this is the beginning of the process of creating a partnership that they can work with for peace.
QUESTION: And the Hamas thing is that definitive or can they be brought back in? Should they?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know. I can't tell you if it's definitive or not.
QUESTION: Are you really considering a social meeting with the Iranians, as a possibility?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, what I said is there are social meetings and I'm not a discourteous person. But we are having a meeting of the neighbors, the G-8, the P-5, all of the others, and that's the principal purpose in a light format, to the format we had at 6 + 2. That's all we're planning right now.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can you give us a hint of what you may be thinking of doing next?
SECRETARY POWELL: You mean in my personal life?
SECRETARY POWELL: I wish you'd give me a hint.
SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I've got lots of ideas the last 48 hours, I can assure you. Some kind of nice.
QUESTION: What kind of thing temps you? Is it like America's Promise, World Bank
SECRETARY POWELL: (inaudible) World Bank. (laughter). You guys keep tossing this one out.
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm flattered by the speculation, but I have no plans to join the World Bank in any capacity.
QUESTION: How many cars you got ready to work on?
SECRETARY POWELL: I've got one needing an engine that I'm going to replace
SECRETARY POWELL: What else? Of course.
MR. BOUCHER: Alright. Let's go.