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Interview on Pakistan Television

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
April 10, 2003

QUESTION: Good day, Mr. Secretary. I'm Katrina Santorin from Pakistan Television.


QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what are the plans of the coalition for the future of Iraq? How soon do you think it will happen an indigenous government?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we are hoping to begin the process of forming that government in the very near future. We have sent Ambassador Zal Khalilzad over with Ambassador Ryan Crocker, two very distinguished diplomats, who will work with regional groups initially to start to bring forth representatives of the different groups in those regions and to see who wants to be part of the new government of Iraq. And so we'll have regional conferences which ultimately will grow into, I believe, a national movement and national conferences so that the people of Iraq can determine how they will be governed and by whom will they be governed.

But we are quite hopeful and optimistic that we can help them create a government that will be democratic and that will be representing all the people of Iraq, and a government that will make sure there are never against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and it is not an aggressive regime that invades its neighbors but, quite the contrary, will be a regime that no longer terrorizes its people and wants to live in peace with its neighbors and use the oil wealth of Iraq for the benefit of the people of Iraq, and not to develop these horrible weapons or to threaten neighbors.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, a quick question on South Asia. Your government has already dismissed the Indian Foreign Minister's threat of an Indian preemptive action against Pakistan, saying there was no parallel between the situation in Iraq and Pakistan. What can the U.S. do now to defuse the situation and initiate a dialogue between India and Pakistan?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, as you know, I stay in very close touch with the authorities in both Pakistan and India, and we do have a very difficult situation and a dangerous situation with respect to actions across the line of control. And the United States will stay engaged, but we don't believe there is a need now for any military action of any kind. We are looking to help the two parties resolve this in a peaceful way, and you can be sure that I will personally remain engaged, as will President Bush and members of his administration. But I don't think there is a direct parallel to the two situations.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, there remains lingering fears in the Muslim world about U.S. preemptive attacks down the road after the war in Iraq. Syria and Iran are cited as possible targets. What will U.S. policy be in the coming months?

SECRETARY POWELL: U.S. policy has been to make it clear that the world would be better served if states did not support terrorism, the world would be better served if states were -- rogue states especially, states that are really not truly responsible -- would not develop weapons of mass destruction, such as Iraq. But the United States does not have some plan or some list with nations on the list that we're going to go attack one after another.

We hope that as a result of what's happened in Iraq and as a result of the revulsion that the world has for terrorist activity and the development of weapons of mass destruction, that some of the nations that we have been in touch with and speaking to -- Syria and Iran -- will move in a new direction. But the United States wants to speak firmly about this and speak from a position of principle that this is the time for all nations to realize that terrorism is a threat to all of us and we all must do everything we can to end terrorism and also do something about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, speaking of terrorism, Pakistan and the United States have been allies in the war against terrorism. Where do you see the relationship between Pakistan and the United States going in the future?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think we have built a strong relationship over the past year and a half, two years. We remain very closely in touch with President Musharraf, as well as the new government, and the cooperation that we have seen over the last 18 months or so has allowed us to bring down the Taliban, has allowed the coalition under Operation Enduring Freedom to break the hold that al-Qaida had on the country, and has given hope to the people of Afghanistan that they can live under a new government that is committed to the welfare of its people, that it, too, wants to live in peace with its neighbors. And we hope that as a result of this cooperation we have had with Pakistan in this regard, that we can find new areas of cooperation with Pakistan.

And we also are viewing our relations with Pakistan and with India as U.S.-Pakistan relations and U.S.-India relations. And I think with both of those great nations on the subcontinent, the United States can have strong and improving relations and through those relations with both countries we can serve to help both countries start to begin a dialogue with each other on outstanding issues. We want to be a friend to both nations and I'm glad that relations between both nations have improved significantly in recent years.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, returning to Iraq, what steps is the United States taking to ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: We have made it clear to all the various parties who have an interest -- Kurdish leaders, Shia leaders, Sunni leaders, and to the international community -- that the coalition is committed to the territorial integrity of Iraq. We do not want to see it breaking up into two or three different pieces, and we will only support a government in Iraq that is likewise committed to that proposition.

And, frankly, to my pleasure, the leaders that we have been speaking to understand that an Iraq that consists of all of the parts that are now in Iraq is a better Iraq for the future. It will be a more stable place and a more viable place economically, a country that can use its oil wealth to benefit all the people within these different segments of the Iraqi population.

So I am confident that's a goal we can achieve and is supported by the Iraqi people.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POWELL: You're quite welcome. Thank you.

Released on April 10, 2003

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