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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2001 > December

Press Briefing on Board Plane En Route Moscow

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

SECRETARY POWELL: Iím distressed to learn there has been another suicide bomber. I cannot understand, I assume, I am not sure if Hamas is taking credit for it. But whether itís Hamas or one of the other organizations, they need to understand that this leads nowhere. This does not lead to the end of violence, which will lead to negotiations to the settlement of this crisis. So I condemn this action and once again encourage both sides to do the necessary to put the violence down to zero. General Zinni has another security meeting scheduled for today for specific actions that both sides should take and I hope that both sides will respond positively to the meeting. I assume the meeting will take place.

QUESTION: Do you actually believe that Arafat is capable of cutting them off?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think that Chairman Arafat is capable of doing more than he has done so far and he has to deal with Hamas. Hamas is destroying his authority of credibility. He wants to look forward to a peace process and actions such as this are a direct attack against him as well as a direct attack against Israel and innocent civilians.

QUESTION: What are the sorts of prescriptions that Zinni is putting forward?

SECRETARY POWELL: We had a number of ideas over the past several months that have come out the Tenet report, that have come out of previous discussions, I donít have the specifics with me but there are things that you can do locally to start to bring control of different areas. With Palestinian Security Forces taking responsibility of a particular location - Israelis moving back a little to see if it sticks or holds. And then you go from there. I think this is something that is going to have to be built; the cease-fire is going to have to be built area by area, and Iím of the view that you are not going to get a cease-fire everywhere all at once. You are going to have to go location-by-location, piece-by-piece and try to build this, if itís going to be built at all like coral, one piece at a time coming out of the sea.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, with all due respect, youíve been sending the same message to General Arafat that he has to do more, that he has to deal with Hamas, etc. Does he obviously doesnít get it or canít do it or he canít do more? It doesnít seem to be enough.

SECRETARY POWELL: I think he is getting it. Heís getting it now from everybody, from us, from the international community, from the Europeans and from the Arab leaders in the region. But the question is now, can he act on it, and he has authority to control those things that are under his control and he has to deal with those things that may not be under his control, and he has to bring under his control or do something to make them unable to conduct the kinds of attacks that they have been conducting. Otherwise, there will be no peace in this region. Yes, it is something I have been saying for months, but my view hasnít changed. And if you look at the situation, and unless that kind of action is taken, I donít know how to get moving. Weíve got to have some movement toward a cease-fire. Without a cease-fire we cannot get on the path that both sides need to be on. Iíve been saying this for almost ten and half months and see nothing to change my view or to change the objective facts there are. We have seen both sides pursuing courses of action that have not gained Israel any additional security and have not moved this toward a peace process. So it is important to keep driving home the simple fact that we have a plan, the Mitchell Plan, which will move us toward this direction and try to get a cease-fire. I think the burden is on Mr. Arafat to do more to get the violence down to zero.

QUESTION: Is there some fall back plan perhaps to ask other leaders in the region to take a more active role?

SECRETARY POWELL: I mentioned this to Arafat, but in previous interviews Mr. Arafat talked about the Palestinian leaders. Thereís a leader for the Hamas, thereís a leader for all these organizations and all their responsibility for what is happening and all their responsibility to do something about it. That strategy on Hamas takes us nowhere. It does not achieve whatever political objectives we have in mind. All it does is kill youngsters, suicide bombers and innocent Israelis. So where does that take us? Where does that lead us? So it becomes a burden on the leaders of these organizations, as well as a burden on Arafat.

QUESTION: The question about the Moscow stop. You told us a couple of times during the course of this trip that there was a near agreement to move the Start I and II verification procedures to the new strategic framework. How can you do that without an arms control treaty Mr. President says he doesnít want?

SECRETARY POWELL: What the President said at the Washington press conference, if my memory serves me correctly, is that the piece of paper is needed, we will do a piece of paper. We have to somehow as we move forward and as the Russians identify for us specifically and formally what their reductions will be, then what we donít want to lose is the verification and notifications and other provisions of Start I and some of the provisions of Start II need to be taken forward. One of the things we discussed with Foreign Minister Ivanov and what we will be discussing is how to bring these features forward and to, we use a variety of words, to codify them, formalize them as the document in a way that both sides find satisfactory; we are stillÖ.

QUESTION: Do you expect to get a specific number from the Russians on all types of weapons on this trip?

SECRETARY POWELL: I donít know; Iíll wait and see tonight and tomorrow. What they have said to us previously is that their number will be consistent with our number. So I expect it to be in the same range. Whether they pick the same range, pick a specific number, or expand their range a little bit, I do not know yet. But Iím of the view that it will be in that same general area.

 QUESTION: The Iran pipeline question. I was curious what your response to him might have been one, if there had been one. And also what extent you brought this up in your meetings individually or in a larger meeting?

SECRETARY POWELL: We didnít go into the specifics of pipelines and the details of CPCs or BTCs vs until Pat decided to share his extensive knowledge of all the pipelines. And so we talked in general terms about the potential that Kazakhstan has and I was particularly impressed with my conversation with the American Chambers this morning about the amount of money they are looking at investing in Kazakhstan. They were talking in the range of $200 billion over the next 5 or 10 years ahead because they see that kind of potential. To get that potential out, youíve got to move it. Youíve got to move all that fuel, crude natural gas and so I heard the president carefully but I did not have a well-structured answer that I would have contributed at that point or now.

QUESTION: You had suggested in your earlier remarks that nothing had changed since September 11. What were you meaning to say by that?

SECRETARY POWELL: I just wanted to stick to the two major pipeline projects, the CPC and the BTC, and there is another one coming along. CPC just opened, Spence Abraham was just at the opening, and BTC is the subject of discussion and is coming along and I just wanted to hold the story right there.

QUESTION: On Iran?

SECRETARY POWELL: On Iran, setting aside pipelines. I am open to explore opportunities. We have been in discussions with the Iranians on a variety of levels and in some new ways since September 11. Jim Dobbins spoke with Iranians in Bonn as we put together the new interim administration in Afghanistan, and I had a brief handshake and discussion with the Iranian Prime Minister in the UN. So there are a number of things going on and we recognize the nature of that regime and we recognize that the Iranian people are starting to try to find a new way forward and we are open to exploring opportunities without having any vaseline in our eyes with respect to the nature of the government or the history of the past 22 years.

QUESTION: Can you tell us when you were last in Moscow and how you expect to find it post-September 11?

SECRETARY POWELL: I was last in Moscow, if my memory serves me correctly, at the Reagan Summit in 1988, some of you may be old enough to remember. I think that was my last visit to Moscow and am very anxious to see it again. It was still a city of wide-open streets, a few things going up about, and one of my staff just came back and wrote me a note and said you may remember the one McDonaldís that was there. You ought to see the place now. So I am very anxious to see Moscow - see what itís like and get a sense of how this newfound opulence in Moscow will eventually trickle out to places, which are thousands of miles away from Moscow and have not yet been touched. And so Iím just very anxious to see the place. I hope I will have the time to walk around, though it may be unlikely.

QUESTION: Back to the Middle East. You said that the leaders of Hamas and other militant organizations need to realize their strategies. Do I understand you right to be appealing to the leaders of these organizations to get the violence down? If so, what reason do you have to believe they might actually do this and is it also in the sense of acknowledgement that Arafat himself doesnít have the capacity to do what needs to be done to bring down the violence sufficiently?

SECRETARY POWELL: Iím not so much appealing to them as I am stating what is a fact. They will not push Israel into the sea. And so they will not be successful if that is their goal. Mr. Arafat has available to him tens of thousands of security personnel with weapons and this is a direct challenge to the peace process, to his party, to his ability to demonstrate that he is the leader of the Palestinian people and in the position to negotiate with the Israelis. And so, it is a simple statement of fact and the Palestinian people ought to be asking these leaders where does this lead us, where does this take us? And the answer is nowhere. It takes you to the wrong destination where you canít get the state that you want to have and that you ought to have with this kind of activity on the part of organizations like Hamas is becoming a more distant vision.

QUESTION: You have a couple of stops this evening. One you are going to do an interview with Channels TV 6, as you know a lot of NTVers have gone over there and also you will be laying some flowers at the Pushkinskaya Metro. What message are you trying to send or your interview with TV6, and whatís your message or purpose for laying flowers? Is this showing solidarity with the Russians?

SECRETARY POWELL: It is showing solidarity with the Russians; it is showing that this kind of violence exists in many forms and it is not just to America but elsewhere. I thought it was a useful connection to make and the two television stations that I will be doing interviews on at a reasonable hour. I think you all heard me speak about free press and free media and my Jeffersonian views from time to time. And Iíll continue in that theme if the right questions are presented. But there is no statement coming from me. It will be an open interview session and Iíll see what they ask. I always endorse a free media.

QUESTION: The Pushkinskaya bombing is said by the Russians to be by Chechnyans. I was wondering if Chechnyan terrorism will come up extensively in your talks and could you tell us a little bit about what kind of different agenda youíll have in your meetings with Ivanov and then with the President?

SECRETARY POWELL: In meetings with Ivanov and in meetings I have been in with President Putin and President Bush, whenever Chechnya comes up, it is a very emotional issue for the Russians. They believe they are under terrorist attack and there is apparently a terrorist element to the threat that they face. But we also tell them to work hard to find a political solution. President Putin has attempted to do that after September 11, as you recall the speech that he gave. And Iím sure it will come up and we will discuss it. With Foreign Minister Ivanov, tonight will be a mostly social evening, but I expect weíll get into business as we usually do. I think this is number 16 in terms of meetings for those of you keeping score. So the conversations are very easy with Igor and I find them very stimulating. As far as Putin tomorrow, I suspect weíll go through all the range of issues, strategic arms, Chechnya, but more importantly, the emerging relationship between Russia and the West. Iím sure weíll have the chance to talk about NATO at 20, and the implications of that for the Russia-Western and Russia-US relationship.

QUESTION: Question about a statement you made when last we talked to you. You said that most things were in place with the strategic framework, except the defense thing still has problems. Could explain what you meant by that?

SECRETARY POWELL: There is still a difference of opinion on the defense piece, I mean the strategically defensive weapons were just about done, all we have to do is hear a number from them and then I talked about verification and other issues. We will be talking about non-proliferation activities as part of the strategic framework. Great concentration on transparency so both sides know what the other is doing. Exchange of information on various programs. But there still is this disagreement with respect to missile defense programs. Increasingly in the ABM Treaty constraints that the President feels we must do in order to get our missile defense systems and they continue to find the ABM Treaty to be at the center of the strategic framework. We havenít been able to persuade them otherwise and they havenít been able to persuade us otherwise. We havenít been able to find to get through that by their accepting the testing we have to do. So I am here to see if there are any new ideas on this. Under Secretary Bolton was already in Russia this week talking with Mamedov and I am sure Igor and I and President Putin and I will have the chance to discuss it again tomorrow. But increasingly we are constrained by the treaty.


Released on December 10, 2001

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