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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 with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Federal Chancellery
Berlin, Germany
December 10, 2001

CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We are very pleased indeed to have this opportunity of welcoming his Excellency the Foreign Secretary of the United States of America, Mr. Colin Powell to Berlin. Mr. Powell has actually just told us, Joschka and myself, that this is his first visit to Germany since 1986 and Joschka has gone in and most warmly invited him to come back and spend a bit more time because the Excellency himself noticed that quite a few things had changed in the meantime.

Now, you all know obviously how very close the cooperation is between us and the Americans and how very important we feel that the Americans are for us and to us as partners. That is not something that is new since the 11th of September although |I do have to say that the situation of our joint friendship has in fact proven well through this strain and has become if at all possible even stronger.

Of course, very much at the center of our discussions was the topic of Afghanistan and the situation in the country. We were in strong agreement as to our assessment and also regarding the perspectives arising from this very situation. Now obviously, the military measures already taken must continue, they must continue until we have overcome the regime of the Taliban, until we have gone in and captured Osama bin Laden and since the situation is such that we can justifiably say that Al Qaeda has been fully and utterly destroyed.

We also agreed in fact that what has been done so far has already given a new and very positive perspective for Afghanistan as a country. You all know that we have had the Petersberg Conference here in Bonn, where the United Nations have done an outstanding job and they have done great work there, in opening up an economic as well as a political perspective for development for Afghanistan. But we are very, very agreed on the fact that what we now indeed need is an international peace corps, a peace troop, and it is going to be a troop which will be acting in the framework of a crystal clear United Nations mandate, which will then go in and provide the degree of protection so very necessary for this type of fledgling administration, to make sure it gets the scope for maneuver to develop into a proper government for Afghanistan.

Now, and if the situation were to arise that United Nations and /or our partners were to express the wish that Germany should participate in this peace force, then certainly Germany is going to be there at the front for that, and that is despite the fact and his Excellency the Secretary of State has cognizance of all this, that Germany already has a strong presence in the Balkans, where we have got 8000 people on the ground and where in fact we have the leading role in the mission of Amber Fox. So, despite those activities, which we will continue to maintain, Germany, when called upon, will be ready and willing to participate in an appropriate and to an appropriate degree here. Now obviously we will need ongoing discussions regarding the more detailed conditions of that deployment and then possibly not to leave that aside, we have obviously talked about the situation in the Middle East as well but I donít want to steal of the topics from the Secretary of State, so he might now want to take the floor.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Chancellor Schroeder. Itís a great pleasure to be here in Berlin this evening making my first visit as Secretary of State. I regret the visit is so short but I accept Foreign Minister Fischerís invitation to come back and spend more time next spring.

We have no better friend in the world than Germany and that friendship was demonstrated after the events of the 11th of September, when the Chancellor and his government and the German people gave us full support for this campaign against terrorism. Americans will never forget the 200,000 Germans who came out to pay tribute to those who were killed at the World Trade Center.

Words were matched with action. The German government has been very forceful in assisting us in law enforcement and intelligence activities and in identifying sources of financing and identifying cells of terrorists and we appreciate that support. We appreciate the intelligence cooperation that we have had with the German government, and I especially want to thank the German government for not only hosting but providing leadership to the conference that was held in Bonn that resulted in an interim administration ready to go back into Kabul now.

We both recognize, of course, that there is now a need for an international security force to go to Kabul to serve in Afghanistan, that will require a strong and clear mandate from the United Nations and in a coalition of the willing, and I am pleased that, notwithstanding the many obligations that Germany has picked up in the Balkans, some 8000 troops are committed as the Chancellor has said, Germany is willing if asked to make a contribution to this international security force.

SECRETARY POWELL: We also discussed the Middle East. Foreign Minister Fischer and I spent a great deal of our time on this subject, and trying to get the violence down so that a negotiating process can begin. We really have to work hard to get a ceasefire in place, and a ceasefire will then lead us into the Mitchell Plan, and the Mitchell Plan will lead us to where we want to go; that is, negotiations on the basis of U.N. Resolution 242 and U.N. Resolution 338. We will continue to work as hard as we can to persuade both sides to do everything that they can, to bring the violence down and to begin discussions that will lead to this ceasefire. And I want to thank the Chancellor and Foreign Minister Fischer for their strong support of this effort.

I just want to thank the Chancellor for receiving me and I look forward to my next visit.

Thank you, Sir.

CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER: Are there any questions? No. Thank you. [laughter]

QUESTION: This is Elaine Monaghan from Reuters. Chancellor Schroeder, you met President Putin yesterday, I understand; and while we were in Moscow today, Secretary Powell and Foreign Minister Ivanov gave us to understand that they had agreed on a shared vision of the post-cold war era in terms of nuclear arms. Is it also your impression that Russia has come round to the U.S. way of thinking about strategic arms control and, if the Russians were to agree for the United States to continue with its missile defense testing, could Europe live with that?

CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER: Now, Iím firstly very much of the opinion that you can, indeed, believe the things that President Putin says. I do think he is very credible, particularly in reference to the reduction of the nuclear potential here. I think that a great deal of agreement exists there, not since the Washington summit alone, but certainly furthered by the Russian/American summit.

Now obviously regarding the ABM treaty there are differences here; those differences are a fact, they are in existence, so letís not beat around the bush here, and those differences are going to lead to some degree of upheaval, but they must not, and I think will not, lead to any kind of major crisis here. Now, it is true, in fact, that there is not a one hundred percent congruence of opinions when it comes to this subject and, well, if we are called upon to express our opinion, then we are always in favor of maintaining the acquis in obviously lots of different ways that one could think about, which ones would be the appropriate ones. But if we were called upon generally, my general stance would be that we are always in favor of even more disarmament, if possible, and obviously if this can be nailed down in the form of a treaty, then even better still; so let me come to the positive point in all this. We do very strongly welcome reduction in the number of warheads achieved here.

QUESTION: Now is it possible that the United Nations peacekeeping troops can already start while there is still fighting of some sort on the ground, and how do you envisage the kind of cooperation between the two very different troops that will then be acting?

SECRETARY POWELL: As you know the U.S. forces that are there under the command of General Tommy Franks are prosecuting a war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban regime remnants, and trying to capture Osama Bin Laden. It is a clear combat mission. The international security force that is coming in, is coming in for an entirely different purpose. It might have a humanitarian mission; it might have a security mission. That mission is still being structured; and so, two completely different missions. If the two forces are there at the same time, obviously there will have to be some coordination so that there isnít any confusion. A limited number of airfields, help units get in there, and so I would expect that there would be a high degree of coordination between the two; but they are two very, very distinct missions: the American mission under General Franks, operating under the command of President Bush as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States; the international security force. going in under a U.N. mandate to work under U.N. auspices, coalition of the willing lead by a member of the coalition of the willing, and working with the new interim Administration, quite clearly an entirely separate kind of mission, but requiring some close coordination between the two for obvious reasons.

Released on December 10, 2001

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