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Remarks at Stakeout Outside the Mayflower Hotel

Remarks at Stakeout Outside the Mayflower Hotel

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
December 4, 2004

(11:07 a.m. EST)

SECRETARY POWELL: Just had a very good meeting with President Musharraf, and before that of course, President Musharraf and President Bush met. We are very pleased that the strength of our relationship -- we are cooperating in so many areas --global war on terror. A particularly good conversation about recent Afghan elections and how Pakistan played such a helpful role in helping to secure the countryside so that the Afghan people could vote. And we had a good discussion of our bilateral issues, issues relating to commerce and trade. I might also say that I've been following closely the situation in the Ukraine. We are very pleased at the decision of the Supreme Court, and we will be working with our European colleagues and with the Ukrainians to move forward and have a rerun of the runoff election. I know that the Rada has to take certain actions, and they are working to complete the actions necessary for the election to take place. But I think this is a very positive development. It shows how the Ukrainians are able to solve their problems. And I think it says to all of us that we should work with the Ukrainians to let them determine the right way to move forward. This is a victory for the Ukrainian people. And we hope that the upcoming election will be free, fair, open, well supervised, so that there'd be no question about the validity of the results.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary could I -- you mentioned that you spoke with President Musharraf about commerce issues. Do you expect the sale of F16s to go through sale to Pakistan of F16s to go through? And what is the U.S. prepared to do to assuage any concerns that India might therefore have?

SECRETARY POWELL: You know there's always the issue about F16s, but no decisions were made at the meetings today.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary you've been hopeful in working to get the talks between India and Pakistan underway. There'd been troubles as of recent days in Kashmir. The Indians have cut back on the number of troops. Is that particular whole peace scenario following course?

SECRETARY POWELL: President Bush and President Musharraf discussed this, and I had a longer discussion with President Musharraf in my meeting just now. (Inaudible) strongly held views on both sides, and believe both sides are trying to find a way to move forward. They had good conversation when they were together at the UN in September. And I know that their Foreign Ministers will be meeting in the near future, with the possibility of the Prime Minister of India and President Musharraf meeting sometime early next year on the sidelines of the SAARC Conference. So, they're talking to one another, and that's good compared to where we were two years ago.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary one more question? How concerned are you that Usama bin Laden is still on the loose?

SECRETARY POWELL: Of course we're concerned. We would like him to not be on the loose. He's a terrorist. He is on the loose, but he's also under enormous pressure. He is being searched for. Pakistan is fully engaged in those tribal areas. They make some adjustments to their force requirements from time to time, but President Musharraf reassured us of his full engagement -- and Usama bin Laden is on the loose, but under pressure and being chased, and eventually he will be brought to justice.

Thank you.

2004/1311

[End]

Released on December 4, 2004

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