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Remarks After Meeting With Mrs. Carla Del Ponte, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Secretary Colin L. Powell
C Street Entrance
Washington, DC
October 10, 2003

2003/1028

(2:20 p.m. EDT)

SECRETARY POWELL: I'm pleased to have had an opportunity to chat with Mrs. Del Ponte and to once again reaffirm to her the United States is continuing to support the important work that she is doing with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia. UN Resolution 1503 of August gave her a new mandate, but also put some timelines for the completion of this work, and we talked about how she plans to accelerate that work.

We are particularly anxious to get the two big fish, Mladic and Karadzic, who have been able to escape apprehension so far, and I reassured her that we keep making it an issue with our commanders in NATO, and especially the commanders in the region, and we make it a matter of discussion whenever we meet with Serbian political leaders.

So, Carla, it's a pleasure to have you back here in the Department, and you may wish to say a word.

MRS. DEL PONTE: Thank you. I am particularly grateful to the support of the United States in our activity. As you know, we received now from the Security Council deadlines for achieving the mandate of Security Council 2004, and for investigation 2008, and 2010 we would be able to close the door of the ICTY. But that is a condition to have the high responsible for these horrendous crimes in former Yugoslavia to be put in trial.

So I thank you very much, Secretary of State, for staying with us.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Carla. And we shall.

MRS. DEL PONTE: And thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you for the work done.

MRS. DEL PONTE: Thank you.

(The Secretary escorts Mrs. Del Ponte to her car.)

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, why did the Bush Administration feel, this week, they needed to launch some sort of PR offensive to justify the reasons for the war? And other senior administrations have been out. Why this week? Why now?

SECRETARY POWELL: Why what?

QUESTION: Why did the Administration feel they had to, this week, launch some kind of PR effort, make a lot of speeches, justify the reasons for the war?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think it was important to remind the American people that the war was fully justified, and we seek every opportunity that there is to do that. I have been out. I put an op-ed piece in The Washington Post earlier this week, which commented on the Kay report, and made the case clearly, I think, that Iraq was in material breach of its obligations, based on the information we have from David Kay. And the President wanted the American people to understand clearly that there are no second thoughts on our part, and that the evidence is overwhelming.

I don't know that it rose to the level of something that was a mammoth new campaign, but in light of the fact that we were putting op-ed pieces, we were appearing in different places, the President was going to New Hampshire, the Vice President was going to give a speech and Dr. Rice was going out to Chicago, it seemed like a timely thing to at least take note of this series of speeches and op-eds that were going in.

That's all I would say about it.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, about the reorganization, the restructuring of the Iraq reconstruction, with Condoleezza Rice heading this effort, some reports out there that President Bush did this because he was dissatisfied with his cabinet. Just ask --

SECRETARY POWELL: It's the normal work of the National Security Council. I'm very familiar with it, having been a National Security Advisor and Deputy. And that's all I have to say about it. I don't find it anything surprising, shocking or -- surprising or shocking.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Is there progress on getting North Korea back to the table? We're hearing reports to that effect.

SECRETARY POWELL: I saw a report earlier today that a North Korean diplomat suggested that they were looking for a second round of talks in December, but nothing has been scheduled yet. We are in contact with our colleagues. We are also in contact with the North Koreans through different channels. And we have some ideas with respect to security assurances that we will be presenting in due course.

Okay? Thanks.

QUESTION: Actually, could I ask you about the resolution? Do you expect, actually, to get a resolution at some point or --

SECRETARY POWELL: I spent most of my day today on a resolution, working on language. I've talked to some -- a number of my colleagues. I'll be talking to more of them this afternoon and evening. And I think we're making some progress.

QUESTION: Making progress?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think we're making some progress.

QUESTION: Do you think it'll actually happen?

SECRETARY POWELL: Watch this space.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what about the --

SECRETARY POWELL: You had one already.

QUESTION: Oh, come on. What about the Nobel Peace Prize today?

SECRETARY POWELL: For me? (Laughter.) Oh, you mean for the Iranian? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Not that you don't deserve one.

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I -- we are very pleased to see the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to this very, very dedicated and committed woman, who has spent so much of her life in the cause of justice and freedom. So the President, I think, put out a statement earlier today and we're very pleased with that.

Thanks again.


Released on October 10, 2003

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