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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 > October

Interview on Univision with Lourdes Meluza

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
October 15, 2003


MS. MELUZA: Mr. Secretary, three U.S. security personnel were killed today in Gaza, and a fourth was wounded. I wanted to have your reaction to this attack. And do you believe the Hamas and Islamic Jihad disclaimer that they didn't have anything to do with this? And what will you ask the Palestinian Authority to do?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know who is responsible for it, and we'll just wait and see what the investigation shows us. I regret very much the attack. I mourn the loss of these three great men who were serving the cause of peace; they were serving the Palestinian people. You know what they were doing? They were accompanying some of our diplomats who were reaching out to the Palestinian community in order to talk to Palestinians about becoming Fulbright Scholars, scholars who could come and study in the United States. That's what they were there for. They were trying to help Palestinians. And these terrorists murdered these innocent individuals. And in murdering these innocent individuals, they're helping to murder the dreams of the Palestinian people for their own state.

Terrorism must end, whether it's terrorism directed against innocent Israelis, innocent Americans, or Palestinians themselves. It must end.

MS. MELUZA: Do you -- are you going to pressure the Palestinians Authority into doing more? Are they doing enough to control their --

SECRETARY POWELL: We -- they're not doing enough. I spoke to the Prime Minister-designate this morning, Prime Minister-designate Abu Alaa, and I told him it's absolutely essential that he come to an arrangement as he restructures his cabinet, his government, that gives him political authority to go after terrorism, and gives him control of all of the security forces within the Palestinian Authority.

If he doesn't get that kind of control over these forces, and use those forces to deal with terrorist activity, then it's going to be very difficult to move forward on the roadmap. The roadmap is still there. It is a way forward. But it cannot be a way forward as long as terrorists are able to perform these kinds of acts without consequence, without being rolled up, without being captured and thrown in jails and brought to justice.

MS. MELUZA: Iraq and the United Nations resolution. France, Russia and Germany dropped their demands, and it appears that it is possible that the U.S. resolution will be approved. What concessions are you ready to make to them to make it a reality? They have demanded certain things like a timetable that you refused, apparently, to accept. So how far are you willing to go?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we are listening to our, to our friends. It is not so much the demands and concessions; it's trying to find the right answer, trying to find a compromise between the two positions. And I think we've made some progress over the last 24 hours. I think there are enough votes to pass the resolution. I would like to see the maximum number of votes. And so we are in close consultations with the French, the Germans, the Russians, the Chinese and others as to what might be done to bring more people on board. But there will be a resolution to come from it.

MS. MELUZA: Tonight?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I -- I've always -- I've learned over the years, to be a little careful when you say tonight. But I think in the very near future, there will be a resolution.

MS. MELUZA: What do you hope the message of the resolution will be?

SECRETARY POWELL: That the international community is coming together to try to help the Iraqi people obtain a better life. They are free of this tyrant. Saddam Hussein is gone. We can discuss all the -- whatever anybody wants to -- about weapons of mass destruction, but we know that they will be eliminated totally and they're not coming back. No more mass graves to be filled, no more people to be persecuted. We're going to build a better country in Iraq for people deserving of a better country and it's going to be, I think, a model and an inspiration to the rest of that part of the world.

MS. MELUZA: In November, there will be bilateral talks again with the Mexicans here in the State Department. Can Mexico expect at least an agenda of when, where, how, to start immigration talks again, which is at the top of their priorities?

SECRETARY POWELL: It's one of our top priorities as well, and my colleague Luis Derbez and I are looking forward to these conversations with some of the other cabinet officials involved.

And immigration is an important issue. I had hoped we could have made more progress in the first two and a half years, but 9/11, the events of 9/11 caused a slowdown in our ability to deal with some of these issues. And I hope we can get back on track. I hope to share with my Mexican colleague some ideas we have of how to move forward, some principles that the President believes in, and so I hope we can move the ball forward.

MS. MELUZA: Sir, your Cuban counterpart two days ago said that the new policies to Cuba are just an electoral show, according to him. How much weight do these measures carry? And how soon will you start meeting about the commission that you're going to be heading? And what are your ideas to hasten democracy in Cuba?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we've had many ideas in the past. We have presented proposals to the Cubans before. "Why don't you start having open and free elections if Mr. Castro is so sure of his position and so secure in the love that he enjoys from the Cuban people? Have free and open elections. Allow the various opposition movements in Cuba to operate."

Why shouldn't people be able to speak out freely? In this hemisphere now, we have a Community of Democracies. Thirty-four of the 35 nations in this hemisphere are in that community where people are free to speak, they're free to elect their own leaders -- everywhere except Cuba.

Now, with the President's new initiatives last week, we will be forming a commission, and I hope to have it formed in the very near future: my staff working with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez, and in a period of, I think, six months, come forward with some recommendations for the President.

We will be, also, tightening up our travel restrictions to make them consistent with law and taking some action -- other actions that are consistent with our laws, all for the purpose of letting Castro know that his actions, especially his recent actions, are unacceptable. Even some of his former close friends, let me put it, or close associates in Europe have become frustrated by his crackdown on the opposition; throwing people in jail for long, long periods of time for what? Because they speak out.

This is the 21st century. This isn't the Cold War. This is the time to let people speak out and freely choose how to be governed. That will happen in Cuba. And the waves of freedom will eventually sweep across Cuba, just as they have in some of the other parts of the world.

MS. MELUZA: Do you have a -- still have a second? Do you have any -- can you tell me what is the legacy of John Paul II in the 25th anniversary?

SECRETARY POWELL: I have had the great pleasure of meeting the Holy Father several times; recently, just a couple of months ago.

He has been an inspiration to the people of the world. He has been a moral force throughout the world. He has carried Christianity to so many different corners of the world, but not just Christianity as a particular faith, but just faith as a value system for all the people of the world.

And so I congratulate the Holy Father on his anniversary and wish him many more years even though I know he's older now, but he still is an inspiration.

MS. MELUZA: Thank you very much.



Released on October 15, 2003

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