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Remarks With Qatari Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani After Their Meeting

Secretary Colin L. Powell
C Street Entrance
Washington, DC
May 9, 2003

(2:35 p.m. EDT)

SECRETARY POWELL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's been my pleasure to receive the Amir of Qatar. We've had a good conversation. I expressed to His Highness our deep appreciation and thanks for all the support he and his nation have provided to us during these difficult times. They have been very good friends to the United States and very good friends to the people of Iraq. As a result of the strong support they provided to our efforts, the Iraqi people are now liberated, free and able to choose their own form of government.

As I expressed to His Highness our hopes that we would be able to cooperate more closely in the future as we go about the reconstruction effort in Iraq. Our two nations have been close friends for a long time. I also expressed to His Highness my admiration of the constitutional referendum that was held recently, and I look forward to an early opportunity to visit Qatar and explore a strategic dialogue with them before the end of the year is out.

So, Your Highness, welcome. It's very good to have you here again. Would you like to say anything or just let the press ask questions? Questions, yes?


QUESTION: (Via Translator) (Inaudible), could you tell us about what happened in the meetings that you had today with the Vice President and Secretary of State Colin Powell?

AMIR KHALIFA AL THANI: We have discussed the bilateral relationship between Qatar and the United States. We talked about all kinds of relationship and especially the discussions with (inaudible).

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you just put forth a new UN resolution today. What do you think the prospects are for getting a smooth passage of that, or are you going to be heading back up to New York every other week?

SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I don't think it's going to take as much time as 1441 did. This resolution is straight to the point. It's a resolution that will serve the Iraqi people. It's a resolution that will ultimately result in the lifting of sanctions so that the world can again trade with Iraq. It also makes it clear that the coalition that is in Iraq now will be responsible for the governance of the country until we can put the governance of the country into the hands of the Iraqi people.

We plan to conduct governing activities through General Franks and his associates from other nations, as well as with the work that's going to be done by Ambassador Jerry Bremer. We're going to do it in a way that is open, that is transparent, that will also be working with an interim authority that we hope to create in the not too distant future representing the Iraqi people.

What this resolution does is also give a role for the United Nations to play, for the Secretary General to have someone more closely involved in all of the activities that are taking place in Iraq.

And most importantly, the resolution will help us deal with a very, very practical problem that we will be facing in the near future, and that is, within the next couple of weeks, the oil fields will be producing a sufficient quantity of oil that it will very shortly fill all of the storage capacity in the area. And so we have to begin moving this oil out of these storage facilities for two reasons: one, in order to keep the refineries running. We don't want the refineries to shut down because the refineries produce gasoline and cooking gas and the other things that are needed by the people of Iraq. And the second reason we need to deal with this problem is that we don't want to deny the people of Iraq the funds that would be available as a result of being able to sell the oil. So, for these two reasons, there is a sense of urgency in order to get the United Nations to act so we can start to get economy flowing again through revenues that are coming back into the country.

Even though the coalition provisional authority will be the government, we are anticipating that as a result of this resolution a fund will be established, a fund that can receive money from the sale of oil that will have a board that will supervise its activities, that will be completely open and transparent, and the funds that would be in that fund would only be used to benefit the people of Iraq.

So this is a means by which we could rapidly begin to use the oil of Iraq to benefit the people of Iraq, and we hope that our colleagues in the Security Council will see it in that light and will act quickly along with us to relieve the burden of sanctions from the people of Iraq and allow us to use oil revenues to benefit the people of Iraq, as well.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you're leaving this evening for your first trip to Israel in about a year. Sir, what will your message be to the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and to Prime Minister Sharon in the hopes of breaking the deadlock?

For the Amir, Sir, if you could please respond whether or not you believe that the roadmap for peace has the necessary ingredients to succeed where previous attempts at peace have failed.

SECRETARY POWELL: My message to the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority is that the United States wants to support him in his efforts. He has committed himself to the roadmap and now the action he has to take is to speak to the Palestinian people about the need to end violence and all acts of terror, bring under control those elements within the Palestinian community that still practice those sorts of activities and -- terrorist activities and violence -- and we will be there to help them.

We are committed to the roadmap as President Bush has said. I will also have discussions with Prime Minister Sharon with respect to the obligations that Israel has under the roadmap and see if we can not get this process moving now that we have new, transformed Palestinian leadership that has made a commitment as the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority has made with respect to speaking out against violence, speaking out against terror. It's the first thing he said after Prime Minister Abu Mazen was confirmed by the Palestinian legislature. So I'm encouraged that we may have a fresh start. It's not going to be easy. We have seen things in the area in recent days that show us that it's not going to be easy, but I'm anxious to get started and I'm anxious to see if we cannot make progress as rapidly as possible and take advantage of the new strategic situation created by the end of the regime in Baghdad and the new strategic situation created by the appointment of a Palestinian Prime Minister and the presentation of the roadmap.

AMIR KHALIFA AL THANI: (Via interpreter) Regarding the roadmap, we believe it is a good proposal, this roadmap if it is accepted by the Palestinians and unlike what the media is trying to portray, we don't believe that this is going to be easy to achieve and sacrifices must be made by all sides in order for peace to be achieved.


(Secretary Powell escorts the Amir to his vehicle.)

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, one more question? Secretary Powell, as you know Prime Minister Sharon has not accepted the roadmap and has probably asked for some amendments to it. How do you intend to handle the request that he's made for changes in it and how do you intend to persuade him to accept it as it is now?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we've laid it down and we realize that both sides will have comments on it and we're prepared to look at the comments. Really, it's important for both sides to talk to each other and let us not go into another endless loop of discussions and negotiations, but I'm very anxious to see Prime Minister Sharon and get his reaction, directly, and see if he has any additional comments. All of this will be dealt with in due course.

I really do have to go.

Released on May 9, 2003

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