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Interview With ZDF Morgenmagazin

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Berliln, Germany
May 16, 2003

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, welcome to our ZDF morning show. It's a pleasure to have you here.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much. It's good to be here.

QUESTION (as translated): Your visit, Mr. Secretary, has been awaited with great anticipation. Does this visit signify the end of the "ice age" that has characterized German-American relations in the past months?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I'm looking forward to my conversations with Chancellor Schroeder and with Foreign Minister Fischer, and I hope we can begin to bridge the differences that have emerged in our relationship in recent months as a result of the debate we had over Iraq. There is so much that keeps Germany and the United States together as partners and allies, and it was unfortunate that we had this recent, very major and serious disagreement over the Iraq issue. It was a major problem, we should not ignore that, but we'll find ways to move on.

QUESTION: The Chancellor and your President haven't talked to each other for months. During that time a war took place. Does that mean you are taking a first step today to end this catastrophic situation?

SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I have always stayed in touch with my colleague, Foreign Minister Fischer. We talk on a regular basis several times a week. The Chancellor and the President have had maybe one conversation in recent months, and they'll be seeing each other as part of the G-8 meeting that is coming up in the near future.

QUESTION: And there they will talk with each other in detail?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know that we'll have a detailed discussion. There won't be enough time at a meeting such as that for bilateral meetings or long conversations. But I think as part of the G-8 meeting, they will certainly have a chance to see one another and to speak with each other in a group setting.

QUESTION: Yesterday you contradicted your colleague Donald Rumsfeld and said, "We don't want a separation between 'old' and 'new' Europe". Was that the voice of Europe's friend Colin Powell? More importantly, was it the voice of the Administration in Washington?

SECRETARY POWELL: It's the voice of the Government, but I don't think that I'm necessarily disagreeing with Mr. Rumsfeld. Don understands that the United States has to work with all of Europe, just as I do. And there are, you know, the original members of NATO and the new members of NATO. We have a European Union that is expanding in size. And the United States wishes to have good bilateral relations with every nation in Europe and with the major European organizations, the European Union, and, of course, we are part of a great alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, and, in fact, the United States Senate last week by unanimous vote expanded the size of NATO, at least from our perspective. We agreed to the ratification for seven more members to come in. So, it shows that the United States still is interested in a strong transatlantic relationship and good bilateral relationships with all member of the transatlantic community.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the next test for German-American relations is the UN resolution ending the sanctions against Iraq. The Germans want more than just humanitarian aid through the United Nations. They want a central and vital role for the UN. Will Washington move on this point?

SECRETARY POWELL: We believe that we have provided a suitable role for the United Nations in the resolution that we have put before our colleagues at the Security Council. We've received a number of comments on the first draft of the resolution, so we have incorporated many of the comments we received, and we put down a new text yesterday afternoon in New York. And our ambassadors in New York will be working on it today.

We believe that the United Nations must play a vital role. There is probably still continuing discussion as to how large a role it should play. We have to remember that it is the coalition that went in, the coalition of the willing that went in and removed this dictator, this horrible man, Saddam Hussein. And we've now exposed all of the terrible things he was doing, how he was terrorizing his population. Mass graves are being opened up. So, we have no, no, we have no second thoughts about the wisdom of what we did or the legality of what we did.

Now, what we are trying to do in this new resolution is to bring the international community together again to provide for the Iraqi people and to help the Iraqi people move from the provisional authority being run by the coalition to a government where the Iraqis run themselves. The UN has a role to play. All of us have a role to play. I think the most important role that has to be played, has to be played by the coalition provisional authority, the military government, as we help the Iraqi people create a government of their own and then, finally, turn it over to them. And the UN has a vital role to play in that effort.

QUESTION: Does that mean, Mr. Secretary, that you are willing to take the UN more seriously again than at the beginning of the war?

SECRETARY POWELL: The United States has always taken the UN seriously. Remember, it was President Bush who went to the UN last September and pointed out the problem with Iraq, told the UN that Iraq had violated multiple resolutions over the years and called on the United Nations to act. And then, by a vote of 15 to zero in November of 2002, we succeeded in getting the UN to act with resolution 1441.

What happened was that, subsequently, we were not able to agree to the necessity of using force. We believed force was appropriate. And we can see now that was the only way we were going to deal with this problem. Unfortunately, our German friends didn't agree with us, and a number of our other friends didn't agree with us. So, the United States had to act with a willing coalition. But we are now back at the UN once again, using the UN to help bring hope to the Iraqi people, to help them rebuild their society, not because the military operation destroyed their society and their infrastructure, but because 30 years of dictatorship did so.

So, I believe that what the United States and its partners have done was the right thing to have done. And we are pleased that now we have the opportunity of working with the UN again to give a better life to the people of Iraq, and we hope that Germany will play a very positive and contributing role as we bring this resolution to a vote.

QUESTION: I'd like to follow up on this. Do you expect from your German friends the deployment of German peace troops in Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: That is, that is up to Germany to decide as a free and sovereign nation. As you know, we are approaching NATO to see if NATO wishes to play a role. And I know there have been conversations between Germany and other nations in Europe that are interested in playing a peace-keeping role. So, we would expect Germany to play whatever role it chooses to play, as it decides as a sovereign nation what the government of Germany decides and what the Bundestag will approve.

I'm pleased that in recent years Germany has played a much more active role in peace-keeping around the world, in Afghanistan and the Balkans and in other places. So, Germany is a responsible partner on the world stage, and we know it will continue to play that role even though we'd had a serious and rather disturbing disagreement over the issue whether or not to use military force in Iraq.

QUESTION: Russia, Mr. Secretary, would like the return of the UN inspectors before ending the sanctions. Why is Washington against it?

SECRETARY POWELL: We don't think it's necessary. We think it is important now to lift the sanctions. The regime is gone. Saddam Hussein is not there anymore. His regime is gone. And we have full control of the country. And so there is no need to link inspections or UNMOVIC to the lifting of the sanctions.

The reason we want the sanctions lifted as soon as possible is so that we can begin selling oil. Why? Because the Iraqi people need the revenue from those oil sales. And the sooner we can get that revenue flowing, the more assets will be available to the Iraqi people. And when the money comes back in, it will be put in a fund that will be internationally supervised; it will only be used to benefit the Iraqi people. And the only way to do that in a way that will make the oil marketable so people will be willing to buy it, is to lift the sanctions so that there'll be indemnification on the sale of oil and we'll be able to pass title to the oil as it's sold.

QUESTION: Many people here in Germany, Mr. Secretary, ask themselves where the weapons of mass destruction are, the weapons of which you also talked before the United Nations. Where are they? Do you still believe that you will find any?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I'm quite sure. And, in fact, we have found a couple of items of equipment, some mobile vans, so that with each passing day the evidence is clearer to us that they were used for biological weapons purposes. And, the van we have and other materials we're finding look exactly like the sketch that I provided to the UN when I made my presentation.

Remember that we all agreed when we passed the resolution unanimously that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. That was the purpose of the resolution in the first place. We found Iraq guilty. Iraq would not answer basic questions about their weapons' program. And now that we are in the country, we are flooding it with inspectors, we are flooding it with experts who will look in every place that one can look in to find documents and to get evidence of their programs of weapons of mass destruction. And we're quite sure we'll find it.

QUESTION: The wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq couldn't suppress terrorism. To the contrary. Haven't they made terrorism stronger?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I don't think it made terrorism stronger. It showed us that terrorism is still a threat to the whole world, and we all have to cooperate. In Afghanistan, we broke the back of the Taliban and Al Qaida and forced Al Qaida to disperse. We knew we didn't destroy Al Qaida. This is even more reason why we have to work closely with all of our friends around the world on law enforcement activities, on intelligence sharing, on information sharing, on shutting down the flow of funds to terrorist organizations. And so this is a long-term campaign that we are on.

It is also why we have to start targeting, going after, and I don't mean military tageting, but dealing with those countries that are havens for terrorists or do not clamp down on terrorist activities within their borders. This is a worldwide campaign, as President Bush said in the beginning, we have to prosecute it over a long period of time using all the assets available to us.

QUESTION: Do you expect still more cooperation from the Germans?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, and Germany has been cooperating fully. Germany has been doing a very good job in exchanging intelligence information, but it's also been acting in arresting people who have been involved in terrorist activities, and I would expect even more cooperation.

QUESTION: One last question, Mr. Secretary. Could the German-American relations ever return to what they used to be? Or will they become better, but in the end more sober than before?

SECRETARY POWELL: I hope so. We are friends and allies with Germany. The last several months have been very, very difficult. We had a basic disagreement, and we cannot paper it over. And we will just have to take some time, and it'll take some work for us to put that disagreement in the past. One way to get started is to begin cooperating with each other now on such issues as the UN resolution that is to before us in New York. It's a complex resolution, but at the same time it is a simple UN resolution. It says, let's get together and help the Iraqi people. This is not a resolution about war, it's not a resolution about what happened in the past. It's a resolution to move forward and help the Iraqi people by lifting the sanctions, giving the United Nations a role and calling on all members of the international community to help the Iraqi people. And I hope Germany will find it possible to support the resolution. And let's see if we can get agreement very quickly.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.


Released on May 16, 2003

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