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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

Remarks with His Excellency Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Minister Of Foreign Affairs Of The Republic Of Poland

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
December 17, 2001


12:05 p.m. EST

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good morning, everyone. It has been my great pleasure to receive the Polish Foreign Minister, my colleague Foreign Minister Cimoszewicz, and to welcome him here to the State Department.

We spent our meeting talking about the very strong state of US-Polish relations. We have worked closely together on the new campaign against terrorism. I thanked the Minister for hosting the conference that was held on November 6 with Central and Eastern European nations on the subject of terrorism. And I thanked him for the strong support that he has provided to our coalition efforts, to include the offer of units.

It is indicative of the close relationship that exists between our two countries, as reflected in the fact that President Bush gave one of the most important speeches of his administration in Warsaw, Poland, when he spoke about his vision for a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. And Poland has been an inspiration to the world and to its neighbors in Europe as a result of its experience over the last 12 years.

So it is a great pleasure to welcome you here, Mr. Minister, and welcome you back to the United States, a place you know well. And we look forward to many more such meetings in the future.

FOREIGN MINISTER CIMOSZEWICZ: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary of State. It is always a pleasure to be here in the States, in Washington, even in such a little bit sad days. But I believe it is times of trial that are the best exam for friendship, for cooperation, for closeness. And so I am very satisfied that in those dramatic circumstances, in those dramatic days, Poland is acting according to its long-lasting proverb -- (speaking in Polish) -- which means that Poland is always trustful, decided to join the anti-terrorist coalition, and tries to do its best, by organizing conferences, by talking with our neighbors about what we can assure by sending our boys -- our soldiers to Afghanistan.

As Mr. Powell has said, our mutual -- sorry, our bilateral relations are the best possible. No problems. And so that it's much easier just to discuss various international issues instead of talking about bilateral, where the situation is excellent.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, digressing -- and apologies to the Minister -- the Middle East situation. Frankly, what I am really interested in is whether the Louisville speech stands. Has anything happened in the last few weeks to change your opinion, your description, of Israel as the occupier, et cetera? And, indeed, do you think it will stand? Arafat -- has he had a change of heart?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think the speech that I gave in Louisville about a month ago, preceded by the President's statement at the United Nations, at the UN General Assembly, outlining our vision for a Palestinian state alongside of Israel, a state called Palestine, that vision still stands. And the vision that I had in this speech of a need for the violence to go down, for people to stop inciting others to violence, recognition that we have to have land for peace under the provisions of UN Resolutions 242 and 338, and that settlement activity should also stop, all of that I think remains as valid today as it was when I gave that speech. And the speech contains principles that the United States has long held. President Bush is still committed to that speech.

Chairman Arafat gave a speech yesterday where he reminded his people that there can only be one leader at a time, and the Palestinian Authority was that organization, and he was that leader as the head of the Palestinian Authority. And I hope that all Palestinians will respond for his call to end the violence and to create conditions once again where we can start moving toward a cease-fire and moving into the Mitchell process.

So I think the vision that we put out several months ago, the plan that we are following is still a valid one. And, frankly, it is the only one that will work and it will work once the violence ends. Of that, I am sure.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the European Union, the United Nations, your Arab allies have welcomed the speech of President Arafat. Are you taking any measures to encourage Israel to reciprocate, to show some good will, maybe ease their attack on their security apparatus, to enable him to deal with the suspects?

SECRETARY POWELL: We also welcomed Chairman Arafat's speech. But we also made the point that action has now to be taken. We have to see action. And it has been clear from the beginning that we have had many words pass back and forth, and now we see -- have to see his action. And I think if Mr. Arafat takes the action outlined in his speech, implied by his speech, then we will all be in a better position to get this process moving. And I am quite confident that the Israeli side would respond in a way that would be positive.

But what is important now is action, not just words. And that is the message we communicated back to the Palestinians yesterday. While welcoming Chairman Arafat's speech, we have to see action.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, if the speech from Louisville still stands, why has the State Department not criticized directly Israeli responses since the December 1st triple bombings in Jerusalem?

SECRETARY POWELL: We have, I believe, spoken on both sides of this issue. I will let the State Department -- the various statements over the last several months stand as issued. I think we have indicated that the violence has to end. We have also indicated that there will be a day after tomorrow, and actions taken by one side or the other have to be considered in light of we're still going to be here tomorrow and the day after. And I hope that reality is reflected and factored into actions that both sides take.

Thank you.

12:12 p.m. EST


Released on December 17, 2001

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