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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 > 2003 > May

Press Conference with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov

Secretary Colin L. Powell
The Kremlin
Moscow, Russia
May 14, 2003

(As Translated)
Secretary Colin Powell shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov during their meeting in Moscow, Wednesday, May 14, 2003. Secretary Powell arrived in Moscow early Wednesday for two days of high-level talks with Russian officials to discuss postwar Iraq and the U.S.-Russian presidential summit later this month in St. Petersburg. AP Photo/Misha Japaridze FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV:
Ladies and Gentleman, we are glad to welcome you and would like to say to you some comments, some comments following the meeting of the President of the Russian Federation and the Secretary of State of the United States. Although this has not been a lengthy meeting, nevertheless a broad range of issues have been discussed including bilateral agenda and many international problems. The discussion has been open, frank and constructive and the leitmotif of the whole discussion boils down to the statement that Russia and the United States must continue to go to pursue this path of true partnership between the two countries. And despite the difficulties and differences that we have had in the recent path concerning Iraq I must tell you that the basic foundation of our partnership relations have survived this test, have passed this test and we reaffirmed our desire and our intention to continue further development and strengthening of our partnership both on a bi-lateral basis and an international format. Very soon there will be a summit meeting between our two presidents in St. Petersburg and we are confident that this forthcoming meeting will provide a new impetus to the further development of our bi-lateral relations in all the areas and first of all in the area of strengthening security. Thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. It was a great pleasure to be back in the Russian Federation and to have had the opportunity to meet with you and with President Putin. I am especially pleased and honored to be here on the day that the Duma voted to ratify the treaty that was entered into last year here in Moscow, which we refer to as the
Treaty of Moscow, which provides for the reduction of arsenals of nuclear weapons. I certainly agree with the Ministerís assessment that my meeting with President Putin was very open and candid and to the point. We talked about some of the difficulties weíve had in the recent past with respect to Iraq. But we also spoke about the successes we have had with respect to the Treaty of Moscow, and to the strength of our bi-lateral relationship with delegations going back and forth, and the closest contact between our ministries and we too are looking forward to the meeting of our Presidents in St. Petersburg in just a couple of weeks time. With respect to Iraq, Minister Ivanov and I will be working closely in the days ahead on the resolution that is pending before the United Nations to see if we can come into agreement with our other security council partners in passing a resolution that we will use to help the people of Iraq build a better life for themselves and for their children. Thank you very much Mr. Minister.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do the positive statements on Iraq mean the United States and Russia now agree there should be an unambiguous lifting of sanctions, unconditional lifting of sanctions on Iraq? On Iran, there was no mention of technology transfers which has bothered the United States, and Mr. Minister, do you think the U.S. now has an understanding of what is going on in Chechnya with the rebellion it is up against?

SECRETARY POWELL: I counted 3 or 4 questions. (laughter) What was the question? With respect to Iraq, we have described our position to each other. There are some outstanding issues and we will be working on these issues in the spirit of partnership in trying to come to a solution. But I wouldnít pre-judge any particular outcome at this point. With respect to Iran we had a full discussion of our mutual concerns concerning nuclear programs, nuclear developments in Iran and I think we have a better understanding of one anotherís concerns and weíve come a little closer as to how we should deal with our concerns.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: As I mentioned at the beginning, we discussed a broad range of issues both international issues and bi-lateral issues. Naturally, we didnít dwell on all of them, but nevertheless a broad range of issues have been covered including the situation in the Middle East, Afghanistan, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and some other international issues. As regards Iraq, we decided not to focus on our past disagreements but rather to try and find common ground and achieve mutual understanding, including the matter of adopting a new resolution at the Security Council in order to unite the efforts of the entire international community and to unite the Iraqi people. And we will continue our consultations both with our American partners and with other members of the United Nations Security Council. As regards Chechnya, President Putin expressed his gratitude to the State Department of the United States for their statement, a clear-cut and firm statement condemning the recent terrorist acts in Chechnya. And these terrorists acts that have taken place recently in
Saudi Arabia and in Chechnya once again demonstrate the need for pooling the efforts of the entire international community in order to counter the terrorist activities throughout the world. At the same time, let me assure you that these terrorist acts will not impede the efforts of the Russian Government in order to find a political resolution, a political settlement, of the situation in Chechnya and all the plans that we have for political settlement and resolution of the problem will be implemented.

QUESTION: There have been reports that there have been some problems with a new
United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq, how serious are those differences and could Russia again take a similarly hard position, firm position, as it took previously when previous resolutions were discussed.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: Now the discussions are underway on specific questions, specific issues concerning this resolution and therefore I would prefer not to single out any of those issues. The main thing now is to create a legal basis for a broad international involvement in post-war rehabilitation of the country. And this is our objective. We do not seek to somehow to complicate the resolution or somehow to create artificial barriers standing in the way of adopting a common resolution. We must find together a way out and we must find ways and means to help the Iraqi people to build a new peaceful life. And this is the concrete objective that we pursue. And we, it is our intention to continue to work along these lines in a constructive spirit.

QUESTION: Nicholas Kralev, Washington Times: President Putin said here minutes or hours ago that the differences between you have been successfully overcome. Does that mean that,
Mr. Secretary, that at some point in the process you envision a role for UNMOVIC, and that the inspectors would return to Iraq? (In Russian): Mr. Minister, is Russia prepared to recognize the leading role of the coalition in governing Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think what the President was referring to a little earlier was that the difference of agreement we had with respect to the use of force and the second resolution, that is now behind us. And as we engage on this new resolution there are many issues that have to be discussed within the Security Council and one of which has to do with UNMOVIC, but we didnít resolve that here today.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: As I have already mentioned the resolution has a comprehensive nature and it touches upon many issues including the security issue. The way how those questions, those issues will be resolved is exactly something that we have been discussing today and intend to continue discussion. In any case, it is quite obvious, that Iraq will need international assistance in dealing with security issues. And I think that we need to find a solution that will help to resolve other issues as well, including humanitarian problems, economic rehabilitation of the country and some other issues related to the restoration of peaceful life in that country.


Released on May 14, 2003

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