U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2001 > December

Interview on ORT Television

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Moscow, Russia
December 9, 2001

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the relations between Russia and the United States are reaching a new qualitative level. Now, the policy of the current US Administration is designed to establish closer ties with Russia. Is this a long-term policy or does this depend on the political situation?

SECRETARY POWELL: Itís a long-term policy. Thereís been a commitment made by President Bush when he came into office to forge strong ties with Russia. President Bush and President Putin have now met three times. Other cabinet officers have been travelling back and forth representing our Treasury Department, our Defense Department, our Commerce Department. And I have met with Foreign Minister Ivanov many times. We talk several times a week. As a result of the tragedies that occurred on the 11th of September, however, I think the building of the relationship has accelerated. Because the United States and the Russian Federation Ė and President Bush and President Putin Ė came together as partners as part of a great coalition in a campaign against terrorism. I was just in Brussels two days ago where we found a way to build upon the relationship between NATO and Russia in the months and years ahead, so this is a permanent change, not just for the temporary period that we are going through now. We want Russia to work more closely with the West. We want to see this happen and we want to work on the basis of mutual interests, on the basis of trust, and on the basis of transparency. We share information with each other all the time. We welcome this new era.

QUESTION: Mister Secretary, is the US leadership still insisting on a fast and one-sided pullout on the 1972 ABM Treaty? Is it possible, in your opinion, to find a compromise between our countries in order to preserve this treaty?

SECRETARY POWELL: You have to look at the ABM Treaty in the context of the overall strategic framework. And the most important element of that framework are our strategic offense weapons, the things that we shoot at each other. When I became Chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989 there were 12,000 strategic weapons. With President Bushís decision in Washington and in Crawford with President Putin, we now will reduce that to somewhere between 1700 and 2200, a remarkable reduction, and we know that the Russian side will be reducing it to the same range. We have discussed with the Russian side for many months now the new threats that have emerged as other nations are developing missiles that can carry weapons of mass destruction. The United States believes that it is important and necessary for us to develop a missile defense, not against Russia, but against these new threats from other countries that are irresponsible. The ABM Treaty prevents us from developing these kinds of missile defense systems so we have to get beyond the constraints of that treaty. I think the Russian side still believes that treaty is an essential part of the strategic framework and we have not been able to resolve this disagreement. We will continue to discuss with them, as Iím sure we will with President Putin, this situation tomorrow.

QUESTION: Mister Secretary, what will be the extent of rapprochement between Russia and NATO? Will Russia become a full-fledged participant in making military and political decisions within NATO, especially when it concerns the use of military force?

SECRETARY POWELL: It depends on the circumstance, of course. As you know, Russia has not asked for membership in NATO and so the new arrangement that was decided upon in Brussels earlier this week, which both the United States, other NATO members and Russia have agreed to, is an arrangement at twenty. So then we all sit at twenty, we can discuss any issues that are appropriate to be discussed at twenty, and this could include the use of military forces in, say, peacekeeping operations or in [unintelligible] operations. Both sides reserve the right to act on their own. NATO must always be able to act, just as NATO with nineteen. And Russia, of course, has its freedom to act because it will not be a full member of NATO, just part of this group of twenty, when it meets at twenty. So we are looking for those specific areas where the two sides - NATO and Russia, together sitting at twenty - can find areas that are of mutual interest so they can discuss and make joint decisions about them.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much. Itís very good to be back in Russia. Itís been too many years since my last visit. Much has changed. Thank you.

Released on December 10, 2001

  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.