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Interview by Mr. Hidetoshi Fujisawa of NHK

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Tokyo, Japan
January 20, 2002

 Taped 8:45 p.m. local time

MR. FUJISAWA:  Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for sharing your precious time with us.  Aid for Afghanistan reconstruction is urgent, and the nominal pledge for support is not enough.  What concrete result are you expecting out of this conference?

SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, I'm expecting to see some sixty nations come together under the sponsorship of the United States, the European Union, Saudi Arabia and Japan, which is serving as the host, and I thank the Japanese people for taking on this responsibility.  And I hope all these nations will contribute significant amounts of money that will permit Mr. Karzai, the new head of the interim authority, to begin getting the country back up and running.  It has nothing:  no phone systems, the electricity is bad, it needs health care, it just needs to be able to pay basic salaries.  So I hope that when this conference is over in two days time, the international community will have said to the Afghan people, we believe in you, we want you to have hope for your future and we are there to help you with significant amounts of money.  The United States will be making a significant pledge and I know that Japan will be making a significant pledge.

MR. FUJISAWA:  In what area is the United States going to play a major role?  

SECRETARY POWELL:  We'll play a major role first in financial support and, as you know, we are already the largest contributor of food to help the Afghan people.  And our food accounts alone in the last two years have come to $400 million worth of food support for the Afghan people.  We'll continue to play a role by being engaged diplomatically and politically.  We're not going to walk away from Afghanistan once this conflict has come to an end.  I think we're playing an important role now in going after the remaining elements of the Taliban and the remaining elements of Al-Qaeda.  And so we have said to the Afghan people that we will be with you for the long term.  We're going to help you with humanitarian aid to get through the winter and we're going to help you with reconstruction.  And that's why we're one of the co-chairs of this conference.    

MR. FUJISAWA:  You've just said that each country is pledging an amount to contribute to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.  How much is the United States going to pledge for the first year?  Is the ballpark figure close to $0.3 billion correct?  

SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, I tell you what, I think maybe the best thing to do is to wait till the conference begins tomorrow morning and I will make an announcement to all the delegates at one time, rather than doing it on television tonight.  But it will be a significant contribution, a substantial contribution, and I think people will think it worthy of the United States.  Remember though that we are already making a contribution with respect to humanitarian aid and food aid and the contribution we made militarily to get rid of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, I think, should also be taken into account.  But it will be a significant contribution.

 MR. FUJISAWA:  How do you appraise the Japanese effort so far in the fight against international terrorism?  And what sort of role do you expect Japan to play in the reconstruction of Afghanistan?

SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, first let me begin by thanking Prime Minister Koizumi and his Cabinet and the Japanese government and especially the Japanese people for the support they have given to their American friends since the terrible incident that happened on the eleventh of September.  The Japanese government has given us political support, diplomatic support, but more importantly they have stepped forward and have started to use the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to help us in responding to this challenge.  And I am confident that as we move forward in this campaign against terrorism, the Japanese government will remain engaged on all fronts.  And just the very hosting of this conference in order to help a country in the aftermath of a terrorist situation get back on its feet is evidence of the responsible role that Japan is playing.  And I think it's fitting for Japan as a major power with an important role to play in this part of the world to demonstrate this kind of leadership on the world stage.

 MR. FUJISAWA:  There is a view that unless and until Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar are captured, the war is not won.  Do you share the same view?

SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, I would like to see Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden sitting in Guantanamo Bay right now in custody, but you can't base everything on personalities.  And the fact of the matter is we have crushed the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and we put in a new government, but there are still Al-Qaeda cells in other countries throughout the world and so we have to keep going after them and finding these people one by one.  And we're having success.  We see arrests in Singapore, we see arrests in other places.  All the countries who have come together in this campaign recognize that we have to be in it for the long term and we have to have patience.  President Bush has said that to everybody.  Don't think it's going to be over in one day, one week or one year.  We'll take as much time as it is necessary to defeat terrorism that threatens civilized nations. 

MR. FUJISAWA:  Here's the crucial question.  Are they still hiding in Afghanistan or if they are not are you going to expand your military operation outside of Afghanistan as well?

SECRETARY POWELL:  With respect to Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, I don't know where they are.  And if we knew where they were, we'd be doing something about it.  If they are out of Afghanistan, in another country, then I'm sure we would try to locate them and, preferably in cooperation with that other country, arrest them and bring them to justice.  Frankly, I can think of no country in the world that would wish to see Osama bin Laden show up and say, "Hi, I'd like to be a guest."

MR. FUJISAWA:  The military exercise with the Philippines is interpreted as an indication that the United States may expand its fight against international terrorism outside of Afghanistan.  Is the view correct?

SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, in reality the Philippine people have been fighting against terrorism, and they have some terrible organizations in the Philippines that kidnap people, that threaten Filipinos, and so as we expand our campaign against terrorism, we want to offer support to nations who are fighting terrorists in their land.  And in this case, in cooperation with the Philippine government and with the permission of the president, we are sending in American trainers to work alongside the Philippine Army and to see if we can help them do a better job of dealing with their problem.   Their problem, terrorism inside the Philippines, threatens Philippine citizens, but also American citizens or other citizens who might be tourists or traveling in the Philippines, and we are missing two citizens at the moment, and we want to get our citizens back.  We want to help the Philippine government defeat this kind of terrorism.

MR. FUJISAWA:  For the stability of Afghanistan, the stability in the relationships of the neighboring countries like India and Pakistan, is crucial.  And you've just visited those two countries, meeting with the leaders there.  What were the accomplishments of your visit there?

SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, I think we've made some progress in recent days.  President Musharraf of Pakistan gave an important speech last weekend, and now he is taking action with respect to what he said.  He's going after terrorists anywhere in Pakistan.  He's arresting people, he's closing down terrorist offices.  The Indian government has recognized this and welcomed it.  And so I think we have bought some time where we can find a political and diplomatic solution to this crisis.  We do not want a war.  We cannot have a war in South Asia.  After all the progress we have seen over the last four months in our campaign against terrorism and getting rid of the Taliban and bringing in a new Afghan government and bringing hope to the people of Afghanistan, we cannot now see all of that destroyed by a war between India and Pakistan.  So what they have to do is join in a joint campaign against terrorism and not a campaign against each other.  And I'm pleased that both President Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee recognize that they should try to find a diplomatic solution to this crisis.

 MR. FUJISAWA:  Last question.  There is criticism that U.S. Middle East policy may have sort of bred the birth of international terrorists and gave an excuse to them to attack American targets.  Do you share the same view and is there any possibility that the U.S. may review its Middle East policy?

 SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, first I totally reject that view.  Osama bin Laden is a criminal.  He hides behind the situation in the Middle East.  He's done nothing for the Palestinian cause.  He has not put food on the table of a single Palestinian family.  He hides behind the Palestinian cause and he's a criminal - a murderer.  The United States is committed to finding a solution to the problems of the Middle East, to find a solution that will allow the Israelis and the Palestinians to live in two states side by side in peace and in security, where we can work on building up these two states so they can take their place in the world.  It's a difficult situation.  Confidence has broken down between the two sides.  The violence back and forth is not getting us anywhere, but the United States will remain engaged.  But that is not the cause of terrorism.  Terrorists are criminals hiding behind legitimate causes.

 MR. FUJISAWA:  I think the time is up.


 MR. FUJISAWA:  Thank you very much.


Released on January 21, 2002

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