Powell IV Maria Luisa Martinez of Univision TV
Powell IV Maria Luisa Martinez of Univision TV
Secretary Colin L. Powell
November 19, 2004
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, we will would like your reaction on the denial of the Iranian Foreign Minister who says that his country does not have any nuclear weapons at all. Would you please comment on that?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think the evidence is clear that over a period of years the Iranians have been pursuing nuclear technology, and it is our judgment that they have intentions of building a nuclear weapon. Why would they have hidden this? Why would they have broken all of the commitments they have made to the EU-3 and to the International Atomic Energy Agency? Why have they made it harder to learn the truth about their program?
And so our judgment is that they were moving in this direction, and we think they still may be moving in this direction. That's why its important for them to come in complete compliance with their IAEA obligations and to come into complete compliance with the commitments they made to the European Union foreign ministers. And so it is up to the Iranians not just to make statements, but to demonstrate to the world that they have no such intentions, if that is the truth.
QUESTION: Can we begin with your resignation? When you announced it, the press treated you very well. Do you think that it is because you did a good job or do you think you could have gone further in your will to stop the war in Iraq?
SECRETARY POWELL: With respect to the war in Iraq, Iraq was a problem. Saddam Hussein had ignored many, many UN resolutions, and it was time to hold him to account. And the president, with my recommendation, took the problem to the United Nations, and we got a resolution. But when it came time to act on that resolution - because Saddam Hussein still was not coming into compliance - the UN could not act. So the president led a coalition of nations who were prepared to remove Saddam Hussein from power. It was part of the strategy. I knew that it might come to that. And I fully supported the action the president took. And I'm pleased, that as I leave, Saddam Hussein is in a jail.
We're fighting a difficult insurgency, but we are fighting to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to vote for their own leadership this coming January. And so even though we had some debates in the beginning, the policy that we followed, we were all aligned on: go the UN, see if the UN can solve this, if not, then it may be necessary for us to take military action. And all of the president's advisors were agreed to that policy.
QUESTION: The post war is very difficult, as seen by the world. Were you worried that what is happening now is what you saw?
SECRETARY POWELL: There was always a concern that the aftermath to the war would be difficult. But let's remember who is creating this difficulty. It is not the new Iraqi government that only wants to have elections to freely elect their new government; it is not the coalition.
The ones who are causing this trouble are the terrorists, who do such things as take this wonderful British woman, Mrs. Hassan, a hostage, and we think she has been murdered by these terrorists. After thirty years of working for the Iraqi people, she is murdered.
You have all these old members of the Hussein regime who are blowing up cars, and blowing up innocent people. They are the ones who are creating the difficulties that we are having now. Not the coalition, not the new government of Iraq. And so it is time for the international community to stand firm against this kind of insurgent behavior. The United States armed forces and the armed forces of our coalition partners will continue to fight against this insurgency. We'll take back places like Fallujah; we'll take back other places that may be fighting off the insurgency. And we're going to give the Iraqi people what they deserve: a chance to vote for their own freedom, for their own government and to live in peace and under democracy.
QUESTION: Right now, democracy in Iraq looks impossible.
SECRETARY POWELL: Why?
QUESTION: I don't know.
SECRETARY POWELL: People are registering to vote now. Registration packets are going out. The Untied Nations have people in Iraq trying to help. And so democracy is not impossible. Elections are not impossible. Quite the contrary. The Prime Minister, Prime Minister Allawi, and his colleagues are committed to elections. And why shouldn't the people of Iraq not be given this opportunity? Should we really sit back and allow murderers and insurgents and people who want to go back to dictatorship, back to invading their neighbors, take the country back over? No, that's not going to happen. The Iraqi people deserve better, and they will get better.
QUESTION: The voice of moderation is going, they say. Does this mean Mrs. Condoleezza Rice and the people who stay represent the end of moderation?
SECRETARY POWELL: All of us represent the President of the United States. It is the president's policies that we have all been following. The president likes hearing different points of view. And I'm confident that under Dr. Rice's leadership of the State Department, the president will continue to get a variety of views. He's best served when he gets a variety of views and he makes a decision. He is the one who has been elected the leader of our nation, and it is his foreign policy we execute. Dr. Rice and I have been colleagues and friends for many, many years, and I'm quite sure she will lead the Department with great distinction and will make sure that the president continues to get the broadest range of advice so he can make informed choices
QUESTION: How much is terrorism stopping free trade from the goals you have for total free trade?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think that free trade is blossoming throughout the world. And everywhere we have concluded a free trade agreement with a nation, that nation has seen the benefits almost immediately. Here in Chile, we concluded a free trade agreement that went into effect at the beginning of this year. Even though we are still working out implementing legislation, already there has been a 30% increase in trade going in both directions. This does what? Creates jobs, brings wealth into Chile, Chileans are already benefiting from this.
And so yes, there are terrorist out there, yes they do their evil deeds. But they cannot stop the efforts that we see underway around the world to break down barriers to trade. Trade is what gives people jobs. Trade is what creates wealth for average people. Terrorism creates nothing but destruction and death and evil actions throughout the world. So I think the world is coming together to fight terrorism. That is what President Bush has been doing- leading a global fight against terrorism. I think it is a fight that we will continue to pursue to make sure that Osama bin Laden and similar individuals have no place in this brighter world that we foresee
QUESTION: Can you see any changes coming in relationship with U.S. and Colombia, Mexico, Cuba?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have good relations with Colombia and with Mexico. President Bush will be stopping in Colombia at the end of his trip here to the APEC meeting. President Uribe has been doing a very, very good job at going after the terrorists in his own country and going after the most dangerous terrorists, the narco-traffickers. And the Colombian people are supporting him because they know that these narco-traffickers, terrorists, have been denying them a better life.
With respect to Mexico, I was there just a few weeks ago for Binational Commission Meetings. Half of President Bush's cabinet was with me in Mexico. So we have good, strong relations with Mexico.
Cuba, unfortunately Cuba is still the one country in the hemisphere that is not a democracy and is not moving in that direction. It continues to oppress its people. It continues to deny its people freedom. When people speak out, they are thrown in jail. This is not what we want to see in this hemisphere. And we are looking forward to the day when the Cuban people will have an opportunity to build democracy and build a better life for themselves
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, your loyalty to President Bush seems to be very strong. Maybe a few years from now, you will write a book, and we will know the whole story?
SECRETARY POWELL: I am telling the whole story. My loyalty is not for the moment. My loyalty is a result of working for President Bush for four years where we have worked through many difficult issues.
We have also, I think, done some very important things in the world that often don't get attention in the press. Whether it's the excellent relationship we have created with China and all of our friends and allies in Asia and how they are coming together to put pressure on North Korea on its nuclear weapons programs. All of the trading agreements that we have made around the world. The way in which we have worked with our Europeans friends to expand NATO and assist in the expansion of the European Union. Good relations with Russia, an old adversary. The work we have done in the subcontinent to take the tension down out of the Indian relationship and the Pakistani relationship. Now we have good relations with both of those countries in a direct, bilateral basis. All we have done to help the Afghan people to have its first free and open election for president just a few weeks ago. All we have done, for example, to put the spotlight on what Iran and North Korea are doing with their nuclear weapons programs. And getting Libya to remove its nuclear weapons program. All we have done to increase the amount of assistance that the United States is giving to the developing world. Billions and billions of dollars more than had been the case when we came into office.
So I leave having worked for a president who has created partnerships, who has increased the support we give to the world, who has opened up the world to free trade and has built upon the alliances that are so important to us.
Have there been difficulties? Have there been disagreements with some of our European friends? Sure, German and France. But we'll get over this because there is more that pulls us together than pulls us apart.
QUESTION: Do you have plans for next year?
SECRETARY POWELL: That I don't know yet. I'm still the Secretary of State, and I'll be working hard as Secretary of State until the last day, and then we will see what to do.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.