U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
 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 with Senior Editors Roundtable

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Madrid, Spain
October 23, 2003

2003/1085

(4:40 p.m. Local)

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you all for coming, and why don't we just jump right in. Who would like to begin? Ladies first? Always a gentleman.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POWELL: No, the conference is being hosted by Spain. It is also being hosted by the European Union, as a member of the core group. There are over 75 countries here from around the world, and more than half of them are represented at the ministerial level. In many cases, they are not foreign ministers, they are development ministers. That's quite appropriate. The United Kingdom, Canada, Norway -- I can think of several others who sent the minister who is responsible for development. We don't have such a minister, so I'm it, but I would have come anyway. But I also have my "minister for development" with me, Mr. Andrew Natsios, who heads our U.S. Agency for International Development.

So I'm not disappointed. And there are some European countries who have said from the outset that they were not planning to make an additional financial contribution beyond what they may have already done Ė France, Germany -- so I would not have expected to see their foreign minister come.

But I am very pleased with the presence of so many nations. I am very pleased with the presence of a very large private sector group. I am very pleased with the very large delegation that is here from Iraq -- Iraqis. Some 128 Iraqis are here, 5 members of the Governing Council, 15 cabinet ministers. And I am very pleased that the Secretary General is here.

So I think we're going to have a good conference. I'm optimistic at the outcome, albeit I'm not ready to predict dollar amounts. But I have been following all the commentary about the conference. I woke up this morning to hear a television reporter saying to Mark Malloch Brown of the UNDP, "How are you going to deal with this diplomatic disaster?" I said, "My God, I'm still shaving. How can I have already had a diplomatic disaster? The conference hasn't begun yet."

The fact of the matter is I am optimistic about it. Ten days ago, everybody was saying there would be no UN resolution, the Secretary General would have nothing to do with this, nobody was coming, it was a mess. We now have a unanimous UN resolution, 1511. The Secretary General made a very important speech this morning where he indicated the UN is anxious to get back in. He is evaluating the security situation, but he knows that the UN has a role to play. That role has been spelled out with greater specificity in Resolution 1511, and he encouraged everybody to participate.

And so while it's natural for all of us to wait for the final tally tomorrow like a telethon, I think we're going to have a pretty good outcome.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes. I have had some conversations with my Arab friends in recent days and I am expecting them to make a respectable contribution. I would leave it at that without prejudging what it might be. Of course, we started the ball rolling with $20 billion, which is a significant amount.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) When do you expect (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: It's hard to say when there will be an adequate level of security throughout the country, but there are parts of the country right now that I would feel comfortable doing work in and making an investment in: in the north and in the south. There are sections even in the center, around the Sunni Triangle, where it may be safe to do work.

There are companies that are coming in now and bidding. One figure I just might mention is the American company Bechtel, which everybody likes to write about, has issued some 140 subcontracts to companies; 102 of those, alone, are to Iraqi companies. So Bechtel is heavily involved and is subcontracting to mostly companies within the area.

Recently, contracts were awarded for the new cellular telephone system, which went to non-American companies. And so, they feel confident enough to come in and start work.

So, I think, as more and more Iraqi police are trained and put on the streets, and as the Iraqi army starts to be rebuilt, the security will gradually improve in the center, in the Sunni Triangle area and Baghdad, which causes concern, and people will increasingly feel confident. But I can't give you a date.

You can measure it in different ways, though. The curfew is going up every night, to 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock, and now Ambassador Bremer is planning to raise it even higher. And so people are feeling more secure. They want to be out at night. They want to enjoy themselves. They want to conduct business.

And so, I think it will be a spreading sense of security, and every company will have to make its own judgment. But companies are making that judgment now and are expressing great interest in investing right now.

QUESTION: How much (inaudible) to establishment of (inaudible) the Iraqi government?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think everybody is anxious to see the emergence of an Iraqi government that, with each passing day, can assume greater authority. There is nothing that Ambassador Bremer, or the President, or I, or Don Rumsfeld, or anyone else in our Administration wants to do more than transfer authority to the Iraqi people, as fast as we can.

We have no desire to run this country for an indefinite period of time with our coalition partners. The whole thrust of the UN Resolution 1511 is to encourage the creation of Iraqi institutions, and an Iraqi constitution and elections for officials, so that we can move quickly and return full authority back to the Iraqi people.

And I hope that as the Governing Council, the number of members who are with us now, here in Madrid, as the Governing Council develops more capacity -- right now, it's 24 people with some staff. It needs hundreds of staff people in order to start functioning as a government. The ministries that all now have cabinet ministers appointed need a lot more people in order to start running the country.

So, right now, we are encouraging the Governing Council to hire staff, get people who can work full-time, all week long, and not just on a part-time basis because they have other things to do. So we want to build up that capacity and then use that capacity to start running the country as quickly as possible.

But those who have said, "Do it right away," and this was a big debate for the last several months with some of my European colleagues -- the French, the Germans and others -- and we had open, candid discussions. We both had -- all had the same goal. Myself, Dominique de Villepin and Joschka Fischer and Igor Ivanov and others -- we have the same goal: transfer authority. Where we differed was how soon that could happen. And our position was, "We agree with you." And the resolution that finally emerged said that. "We agree with you. We want sovereignty transferred as quickly as possible."

But it would be irresponsible, absolutely irresponsible and unrealistic, to think that we could say, "On January 23rd at 12 o'clock, we know now there will be somebody that we can give full authority back to." This doesn't work by lunar cycles or calendar cycles. It works by capacity on the ground and the ability to actually operate the country in a responsible way that the Iraqi people would look up to.

The Iraqi people want their leaders to emerge and to take responsibility over again. They want to see the -- those who are not -- you know, the foreign forces leave. We want to leave. But we want to do it in a way that leaves this a country that is stable, lives in peace with its neighbors, and will use its oil revenues to benefit its own -- the welfare of its own people and not build weapons or threaten its neighbors again.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Mr. Rumsfeld (inaudible),

SECRETARY POWELL: Who did?

QUESTION: Mr. Rumsfeld.

SECRETARY POWELL: Rumsfeld.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Iraq. What's your opinion?

SECRETARY POWELL: Look, Secretary Rumsfeld is always probing. He's always pressing his people to look at new ideas and new ways of doing their business, and so I think that's what that memo reflected. And he was making an assessment of the success we have had and where we might need to do better, and he was prodding, as I think he said, he was prodding his staff to come up with ideas.

So I wouldn't suggest that that memo reflected a change in strategy. It reflected assessing how things are going, where we have done well, and where we might need to make some changes. And that's what that was about. And it was an internal memo. It was something that he was using with his staff, which, unfortunately, did not remain an internal memo, but no, no -- nothing in the memo that should be troubling to anybody.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the United States is involved in two reconstruction processes: the one in Iraq, of course, and the other one in Afghanistan. When you compare those two efforts, could you elaborate on your thoughts? Where are the most progress being made right now?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we've been at the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan for close to two years, and it's coming along quite well. You can't compare it directly to Iraq. Iran (sic) was a very, very broken country, as is Iraq, without any kind of infrastructure or without any industry to speak of.

Excuse me. Iran? Afghanistan. Forgive me. A little jet lag. I mean, Kenya, Sudan, Egypt, Madrid -- all in 12 hours gets a little tricky. But Afghanistan started at a different level of development with a different set of needs. I mean, one of the greatest achievements we have had in Afghanistan so far is just building a road from Kabul to Kandahar, which is now almost paved and will be paved by the end of the year.

And we are now starting to see life return to Afghanistan, small businesses starting up, women entering the workplace, and I'm very pleased with what we have done in Afghanistan. And as part of our efforts, we are putting another $1.2 billion into our reconstruction effort on top of the $1.8 billion we've already put in. And it's slowly turning around.

The challenge in Afghanistan right now is not that we don't know how to keep things moving -- two challenges that I see, really: one, to make sure that the Taliban do not gain a foothold again coming out of the border areas with Pakistan, and our troops are up to the task there; and the other thing is to bring all the regional warlords, as they are sometimes called, under central direction and let them know that the habits of the past can't continue. And I think President Karzai is going about that in a rather careful, methodical way and is slowly imposing the will of the central government on the outlying regions.

But it's difficult to compare Afghanistan and Iraq: a rural, agricultural country that has not even really entered, let's say, the industrial age; and Iraq, which was well into the industrial age and then let it all go to the devil over the last 30 years under the despotic leadership of Saddam Hussein. And so it takes more of an investment to get an industrialized or industrializing nation back up to where it ought to be than it does to deal with an agrarian nation.

In Afghanistan, for example, one of the challenges faced is two -- almost two million refugees came home out of the camps in Pakistan and in Iran, which was a vote for the future of Afghanistan. And they have a different kind of need than say, middle-class citizens in Baghdad, who want to know, "When is my power on? When is the sewer working? When do I get my clean water? When do I get my job? When does the cafť open, and when can I start buying Sony television sets," as opposed to an Afghan who just came back, and all he wants is, "Where can I find a place to live?" And they are much further down the Maslow hierarchy of needs. Don't ask me to explain the Maslow hierarchy of needs. It might take a while.

QUESTION: I'd like to go back to (inaudible) France. Will you (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: That France should be seen as an enemy?

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) How do you (inaudible) the French (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: I would have --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POWELL: No, no. They have no reason to be happy, and I don't think they are happy over our difficulties in Iraq. They've made that clear to us. They clearly believe that we were wrong in doing what we did, but we did it, and we are proud of what we did. We removed a dictator, and we removed a terrible regime, and now we're going to help the people of Iraq.

In my first meetings in Europe after the war, at NATO, I said to my colleagues in Brussels that, "Let's get this one behind us, this disagreement behind us, and let's work together on the reconstruction effort." And since then, we have been able to get resolutions out of the United Nations, with France and Germany joining us, three times now -- 1483, 1500, and now 1511.

France and Germany, for their own reasons, elected not to make a major financial contribution, other than the contribution that comes through the European Commission. I would have preferred to see them make a contribution. I think it would have been a stronger statement of international purpose, but they chose not to, and I'm not going to argue about it.

France and Germany are not enemies of the United States. We're allies. We are in a great alliance together. We have been friends with France for 220-odd years, and it will remain so. Do we have disagreements? Yes. But do we have many things that are in common? Yes, we do. And this disagreement of earlier in the year over whether to go to war with Iraq or not is now behind us.

President Chirac and President Bush had good meetings at the United Nations, as did Chancellor Schroeder and President Bush. And so, we'll get that disappointment behind us. But I think it would have served the cause of the international community better if both of those countries had made a financial -- additional financial contribution.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, why do you think it's so difficult to find Saddam Hussein, and how important should it be to find him?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, he's hiding, if he's alive. And let me answer the second question. I'll come back to the first.

I think it would be important to find out whether he is alive or dead, then show to the world a prisoner if he's alive, and a body if he's dead. It would remove a lot of the uncertainty that's in the situation. But I don't think Iraqis, after six months, have any illusions about Saddam Hussein, the nature of the person he was, and that he is not coming back.

Even though there may be remnants of his regime around that are causing trouble, he's not coming back. He will never again sit at a palace in Baghdad -- and not because an American army is there, it's that the Iraqi people would not want to go back to what they just got rid of, and I think that's clear.

Why is it hard to find him? If he is alive, this man is a survivor, who honed his survival instincts over a period of 30 years, against coups, against relatives, against anyone else who challenged him. And so, he obviously had made plans to go low and stay low.

I have tried to find people in the course of my career on several occasions -- in Panama, in Somalia, in a number of places. And if somebody really wants to hide in a large metropolitan area or out in the countryside, and they don't use anything to communicate, and they stay isolated from anyone around them or anybody in the neighborhood, it is not that hard to pull it off, especially if you have prepared for it.

And if you're not using telephones, or if you're not using other communications means that might give you away, or if you're not appearing in a place where people might spot you, then you can stay hidden. Look at his two sons. We didn't find them by intelligence means. We found them by people who said, "There they are. They're in that house. Go look." And there they were. And they paid with their lives.

QUESTION: Whoever talks about Saddam thinks of Usama bin Laden. Does Saddam do, or is he able to do, more or less than Usama bin Laden?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think he rises to the level of Usama bin Laden, who, essentially, had this worldwide terrorist organization. Saddam Hussein was certainly a terrorist in his own right, but his -- his base of power was in Baghdad, in the capital, in his palaces, with the Republican Guard, with his security services, and with his army. All that's gone. The only thing there now is Saddam Hussein, running around somewhere pretending to be in charge and doing everything he can do not to be seen or found.

Usama bin Laden and al-Qaida still has a network that is out there, and it is still operating, so certainly I would think al-Qaida is the more important challenge for us.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POWELL: I'm sorry?

QUESTION: Do you think he is alive?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know. Who?

QUESTION: Usama bin Laden.

SECRETARY POWELL: I have no idea if either one of them is alive. We get tapes which suggest he was alive at some point in the past, over the summer perhaps, but I cannot tell you if either he or Saddam Hussein are alive or dead. And I never speculate on it because I just don't know, and neither do our intelligence services.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the Pentagonís financial (inaudible) Mr. Zakheim has reportedly told the Associated Press that the administration is projecting (inaudible) needs for Iraq of 55 billion through the year 2007, of which 20 billion will be U.S. funds. So do you expect (inaudible) to contribute between 15 billion and 18 billion, so leaving 17 billion to 20 billion to come from other countries? Do you agree (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: To start with the beginning of your question, IMF, World Bank and the UN estimate that there is a need for $55 billion for reconstruction efforts over the years you mentioned, now through 2007. That is not to say that every item on that list must be funded. I mean, there is no place in the world that does not have a list of needs that you would like to fund.

With respect to this 55 billion -- 20 billion, of course, coming from the U.S. -- and we estimate -- and I'm not sure which numbers Dov was using -- we estimate that in a year or two Iraqi oil revenues will start to reach the point where it will -- they will not only have enough money to run their government, but enough additional revenue they can start making significant investments in their own reconstruction and start helping with that $55 billion need list.

And then we will see what this international conference produces. Whether it comes up to the $55 billion total or something short of it remains to be seen. But it doesn't mean that there is a disaster because the last increment has not yet been funded. This conference is the first conference. There may be other conferences between now and 2007. There may be other countries that see a need or a desire to invest sometime over the next several years.

So we should not see this 55 billion number as something that has to be matched tomorrow with all of the contributors that are here. It is a need projected over a period of three years. I even saw another number which said that if -- let me not go into sort of -- I'm not entirely sure, but $9 or $10 billion would be a good start in that first year as you start -- you know, in terms of what you should actually be spending. But you shouldn't measure the 55 against this conference because Iraqi oil revenues, as you mentioned, will be flowing in, and we'll see what those are over the future years. And this donorís conference is really just the beginning of a process of generating money for Iraq that will continue in future years.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you mentioned oil revenues. There is something called a Development Fund for Iraq (inaudible) and that is not yet audited and -- or monitored by representatives of the UN, the World Bank (inaudible). This is (inaudible) by some that it would be a problem with regard to giving financial help to reconstruction. When and how do you think this problem can be solved?

SECRETARY POWELL: It will be solved. Any funds that we are using, whether they are funds in the DFI or our own funds that will flow through our aid agencies, will be fully audited, and all this money will be spent with an eye toward transparency. We are not trying to hide anything. There was a report in one of the newspapers, I think coming out of Britain earlier today, that one of the NGOs is claiming that $4 million was misspent. It's just not true. There is no money missing. And we will account for all the money that went into the Development Fund for Iraq.

We know there are many people who are saying the United States did this all for oil and the United States has no interest in anything but getting the revenues from the oil and spending it for our own purposes or to support our own forces. If that was the case, we would not have asked our Congress for $67 billion to support our forces and $20 billion for reconstruction. The money that's in the DFI is spent by Ambassador Bremer to serve the Iraqi people, and we are not so foolish as to set ourselves up for that kind of charge or to be found guilty of such a charge by using it in any other manner.

There will be lots of ways that money can be fed in. DFI takes care of the revenue, then we have money that we're coming in shall flow through Ambassador Bremer, of course -- it's U.S. taxpayer dollars -- and it will be spent in accordance with priorities established by the Governing Council and the cabinet ministries, working with Ambassador Bremer.

And then, of course, there is the other fund that you've seen some reporting on earlier this week that will be set up by the UN -- I forget the -- or the World Bank, where people can make direct contributions, if that's where they want to put their money. And Ambassador Bremer would have some, you know, suggestions to make, but it would be spent in accordance with priorities established directly by the Iraqis.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Future of Iraq Project (inaudible).

SECRETARY POWELL: It was a very credible piece of work, about 12 volumes' worth. And when the original ORHA was set up under General Garner, the first director, we made all that information available to him and also the people who worked on the report. I don't know, you'd have to ask the Pentagon what -- the people in the Pentagon who were running it in ORHA, and subsequently now the Provisional Authority, what parts of the report they found useful, what parts of the report they used. I know that they have the report, are using it, and a number of people who worked on the report are now in Baghdad working with Ambassador Bremer.

The idea of a provisional government has always been out there and been talked about, and we review that on a regular basis, and it was really the basis of the debate between the United States and France and Germany and Russia over the last several months. But where we came down was that the best way to go about it was rather than put in place a provisional government and think that they would have the ability to assume full sovereignty and authority for the country again, we should stick to the plan that we've come up with, the seven-step plan, which we are about step three, moving toward four, and that is to slowly devolve authority to these institutions but not set up a government until there's a constitution upon which that government can rest, and that there are elections based on that constitution, which will give legitimacy to the new leaders of Iraq. That's going to take time. And that's really is where the debate centered, and my friends in France and Germany saying, you know, "You've got to do it faster. You've got to do it right away or you just -- you're going to be in trouble."

And we listened very carefully and I had good, open, candid discussions with Dominique and Joschka and Igor and others, but we believe strongly that history would not be a good judge of us if we turned over authority to institutions and individuals and organizations that are not yet ready to exercise that authority in a responsible manner, and who also were not operating with the legitimacy of a constitution and elected leaders. And so we'll take that risk.

Now, having said that, we are going to push as hard as we can to start to devolve, or give authority, but holding ultimate authority in the CPA until there is a new elected government, and we will all be very proud to be there that day when we transfer full authority back.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I can't answer that. I was hoping, and in my discussions with the members of the Governing Council this morning, they did not disabuse me of my hope that once they get started with writing a constitution, it's conceivable it could be done in some months. I said six, but it's not possible. But --

QUESTION: You mean holding an election?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, no, a constitution. And then from that constitution, you have elections. So the best I can offer you is that, certainly, it would be all the way through 2004 at the earliest. I could not -- it would be hard to imagine you could do all of that in less than a year. But I -- but remember, the way we set this up in the resolution was not for Colin Powell to speculate, but for the Governing Council -- not France, not Germany, not the United States, but for the Governing Council to tell us on the 15th of December the plan that they have.

But even before the 15th of December, I expect them to be working on the constitution.

QUESTION: You are aware that over the last (inaudible) a year (inaudible) your position (inaudible) perhaps the loser in fights within the administration (inaudible) now in the last few months (inaudible).

SECRETARY POWELL: I wouldn't agree with the premise that I was a loser, now I'm a winner. (Laughter.) I can't -- I can't buy into that because, like any open democratic administration -- small d, big R, led by a Republican President, big R -- we have debates, we have discussions. We try to get the best answers for the President, but no one of the cabinet officers in this Administration has been elected by the people to determine what our foreign policy is. The President has. And so we all serve him.

And I never see my position as having won or lost on an issue. My job is to give the President my best advice, for him to make decisions, and then to execute his decision to the best of my ability. And that's what I've tried to do, and people like to characterize that from week to week and month to month with their barometers -- who's in, who's out, who's up, who's down, who's doing this, who's doing that, who's leaving soon, who's staying longer.

There was a big flurry a few weeks ago when everybody said that I'm leaving at the end of the first administration, even though I'd never said anything like that. I was flattered, however, because, until then, everybody thought I was going to be leaving next week, and not because I was -- you know, it's the kind of speculation that makes for great reading and great commentary, but doesn't always reflect what's actually happening.

We all serve the President, all of us have worked with each other and have known each other for many, many, many years, and we are pretty good at understanding how Washington works and how best to serve the President and give all the information he needs to make a decision.

QUESTION: There's many (inaudible) Mr. Secretary, who thought that after the Iraq war (inaudible) would make things easier in the Middle East (inaudible) 12 years ago with President Bush's father. How far away are we from Madrid II?

SECRETARY POWELL: We can't have progress, either toward a Madrid II, for whatever purpose that would serve, or to move on the roadmap, until the terror ends, or is brought under control. And that isn't going to happen until the Palestinian people put in place a government, a Palestinian Authority, that has political authority in the person -- where political authority has been given to a prime minister who can take all the security services of the Palestinian Authority and go after terrorism in a way that Yasser Arafat never did, and would not allow Abu Mazen to.

The roadmap is there. We remain committed to the roadmap. The roadmap shows how to get to a state with interim features and how to get to a final settlement. We're prepared to press both sides, but as I have been saying to a number of people in recent weeks, what the Palestinians have to do now is give us a government to work with. We have no government in the Palestinian territory right now to work with while Abu Alaa continues his long-running discussion with Arafat as to who will be in his new cabinet and what authority they will have.

We've made it clear to them we stand ready and our monitoring group is still in the -- in the occupied areas, ready to help both sides. We have reminded Israel of their obligations under the roadmap, but what we need is responsible leadership on the Palestinian side and Arafat is an impediment to peace. We have been saying this for a long time, we refuse to deal with him. And I think increasingly my European colleagues are coming to the conclusion -- some of them, anyway -- that Arafat is an impediment and he can't be worked with.

And the sooner that authority moves over to a prime minister who can act, the better off we will be and we can go on with the roadmap. Conferences just to have a conference on the Middle East is not what is needed right now. People are saying, "Let's have a conference." Who's going to come from the Palestinian side? Who would represent the Palestinians and would sit around a table with the Israelis right now? And the answer is the Palestinians really do need to empower the new prime minister with political authority and with control over the security forces, and make him a partner that can work with us and work with the Israelis.

QUESTION: Is there any practical way, as you see it, that this donorís conference now in Madrid could send some kind of positive signal toward the Middle East?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the signal, I hope it would -- no, I think I didn't say that. I think the signal it will send is that the international community, with the passage of 1511, has come together to help the Iraqi people put in place a democratic nation once -- a democratic nation that will be living in peace with its neighbors, no longer exporting terrorism or violence. And I think that would be a powerful signal to the region.

We had hoped that the liberation of Iraq and the beginning of the roadmap would send a powerful signal and give encouragement to the parties. And we got started: Sharm el-Sheikh, Aqaba. Things started to happen. We arranged, within a few weeks, the turnover of Gaza and Bethlehem from the Israelis back to the Palestinians. There was a period of quiet for a few weeks.

And then those organizations that are committed to the destruction of Israel and committed to terror started blowing up buses again with children. And Israel felt, in self-defense, they had to respond. And we were right back to where we started.

The roadmap is still there. Something has to be done about terror. I've been working on this now for close to three years, and every time I have started to move and every time the President has started to move, we have found ourselves stopped by those who hold the switch on terror. Until their hand is taken off that switch and the switch is destroyed, we are going to be killing innocent people and we are going to be defeating the dreams of the Palestinian people for their own state.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) vote in the General Assembly (inaudible) Israeli actions (inaudible). How have you (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: We're not alone in Israeli company. We are in company with our Arab friends. I was in Egypt last night discussing the situation with President Mubarak. We stay in the closest touch with the other nations in the region and with the Quartet process.

We are also Israel's closest friend and we have been since its formation. We have stood by Israel over a period of 50 years when it has been attacked and when people have tried to destroy the state of Israel. So we will never shrink from our obligations to the state of Israel, a democratic nation in that part of the world.

But we have been using our good offices and our influence not just to show our commitment to the state of Israel, but to also say to the people in the world and the people in the region, it isn't enough for Israel to be strong and to be able to protect itself. The greatest protection that Israel can obtain for itself is peace. And peace will only come when there is a Palestinian state that is living side by side with Israel.

That was the whole, the whole guts of President Bush's speech of June 24th of last year. The greatest security for Israel and for the Palestinian people is when we create a Palestinian state. And President Bush has made that his goal, to create a Palestinian state that goes by the name of Palestine, that lives next to the state of Israel, and that remains our goal.

We don't think that resolutions that are introduced before the Security Council or the General Assembly that are heavy-handed and one-sided for the purpose of criticizing Israel, and which were offered in the Security Council with everybody knowing that they're not going to pass, just to make a political statement, that doesn't help the overall situation, we don't believe that is a useful tactic, and we vetoed one not too long ago, and we voted against the one at the General Assembly.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) about Iran. Do you trust the Iranian regime (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they have sent a letter to the IAEA today, and I'm waiting for the analysis of the letter. It's not a matter of trusting. It's a matter of them demonstrating to the world what they had been doing with respect to their nuclear weapons programs. They have been hiding it. They have been trying to keep it from the IAEA and the international community.

The United States has been pointing this out for a couple of years. Slowly, but surely, the evidence came forward that Iran was not being full and open with the IAEA. The Russians recognized it and put conditions on their provision of nuclear energy technology to the Iranians. The IAEA demanded the Iranians to come forward. And so, with that kind of record, I guess you could say, no, I wouldn't trust them. I mean, they haven't demonstrated a basis of trust when they're busy hiding these things.

And now, they have provided a letter that in response to the visit of Josch -- Jacques, Dominique and Joschka. They have provided the letter. And let's see what the IAEA thinks of that letter, and whether it answers all outstanding questions. They have told the three ministers that they will sign an additional protocol, and they would provide all the information, full disclosure to the IAEA.

They have provided that letter. Let's analyze it and see what it looks like. We're not looking for a conflict with Iran. We're looking for Iran to stop supporting terrorist activity, and to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction program, and to join the civilized world.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) by senior administration officials that it doesn't matter what Iran does (inaudible) because the U.S. believes that Iran had a clandestine program, and the IAEA is obviously (inaudible), and that it must be referred to the Security Council regardless. Would that be the strategy? Does that continue to be the strategy that (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know who senior administration official was, but this senior administration official says that our obligation is to evaluate what we receive by the end of the month. And the step that Iran took today is a positive one, but we need time to analyze the information and see whether we know of additional information that would allow us to -- or whether we can validate what they're telling us, or whether we know of things that they have not been -- they have not told us about in this letter.

Now, remember, we were expressing concerns about Iranian activity from the beginning of this Administration. Everybody thought we were sort of pumping it up, and it's not so, there go the Americans again. Americans can always be counted on to find some problem somewhere. It turns out there was a problem somewhere, and they did have programs underway that were inconsistent with their statements and inconsistent with their obligations.

And it's not me saying it. The IAEA, finally, when presented with the information and learning more about what Iran was doing, acknowledged it. And that's why we will measure it all at the end of the month. But we have not made any judgment yet as to what we will do at the end of the month, but we have to have fairly high standards for Iran. We've got to make sure that they are complying with their obligations, and we also hope they will sign the additional protocol.

QUESTION: Could I ask an additional one (inaudible) contributions from Asian countries (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: Don't know what the full range of contributions will be until tomorrow, but from -- the major contributor so far is Japan. We're very, very pleased with the $1.5 billion initial grant that Japan has provided, and I have reason to believe that they will offer more tomorrow.

I'm not sure in what form it will be offered, but I think it will be a substantial contribution coming from the Japanese, beyond that they have already announced. I don't know what other Asian nations will be giving. None will be giving in the amount that -- I don't expect any to be anywhere near the amount that Japan is committing.

QUESTION: Could I just briefly bring up the matter of Guantanamo? In June, when you met your friend, Anna Lindh -- I think you met her during that time -- she told Swedish journalists that you had personally promised her to look into the matter of the situation at Guantanamo whether in fact there were Swedish citizens being held. Do you have any new information, any new thoughts to share with us on that matter today?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I think Anna was anxious, at that time, for access. And I think we immediately provided access in early July, if my memory serves me correctly. I don't have in my memory bank the particular status right now of -- it's one individual, if I'm not mistaken.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah. I don't know what his status is. As you know, the Pentagon and the Justice Department handle that. And at the time she raised it, I looked into it and made sure that we provided the access. But I don't know the status of the case, as to how quickly the individual will be dealt with, in terms of finishing interrogation, and his ability for return to Sweden, or to be retained further. I don't know.

QUESTION: You couldn't come to the memorial service for Anna Lindh because of the hurricane. It's been more than a month now, since she was murdered. Do you have any (inaudible) thoughts about what happened?

SECRETARY POWELL: A terrible tragedy, and I'm anxious to see what Swedish authorities ultimately decide was the motivation of such an attack, and whether the individual I think you have in custody now turns out to be the one who did it or not.

But I got to know Anna very well, as you know, over the last two and a half years until her death. We had great fun. I respected her. We were very often on opposite sides of a political issue, but we always argued it out in a spirit of friendship between our two nations and between two individuals. I like forming personal relations with the foreign ministers I deal with. It's kind of a little family. And even in the best of families, fights occasionally break out.

But I was very saddened when she was injured, and then I prayed for the best, and the worst happened. I just wrote her husband and children the other day. As you know, I have spoken on television quite a bit about her, and I regretted I couldn't get to the service, but I sent in my speech for publication. And you know my favorite story about my three favorite Swedish things.

QUESTION: Anna, a Volvo and Abba.

SECRETARY POWELL: Right.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POWELL: She was in --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah. Well, I did that deliberately. I didn't want to -- she came in my office one day and she gave me a wrench. I guess you know about that. She gave me a wrench. I think that was the day she gave me the wrench. And I said, "Ah, my three favorite things -- Volvos, Abba and Anna."

Well, I did it really to make the story funny. But she said, "No, why am I third?" (Laughter.) It wouldn't work if I said, "Anna, Abba and Volvos."

QUESTION: (Inaudible) back to the --

MR. BOUCHER: Can you let Mr. --

SECRETARY POWELL: We'll come back to you.

QUESTION: If you permit me, back to Iraq. If I were a small or not so small European business thinking about making an investment in Iraq, how would you answer the question, "How safe is this place?"

SECRETARY POWELL: It really goes back to the early part of our conversation. There are some parts of the country that are very safe and I would have few reservations about making an investment. I would go in and make the same kind of business judgment that I would make going into any other country that has -- that has had difficulties. Business people make these judgments everywhere. I mean, do I invest somewhere in Africa? Is there transparency in the political system and in the financial system, there's the rule of law?

Countries in Asia, countries in Latin America, Colombia -- I would make that same kind of assessment. And with respect to Iraq, I think the north is relatively safe and secure, the south is relatively safe and secure. The center is coming along, but it's going to take more time.

If I was a businessman, I would also -- you know, you would have to say, "Okay, it's the Coalition Provisional Authority that is the government now, and what will -- who will be the government a year and a half from now?" You don't quite know that yet. You can't see, yet, what the government's going to look like. And I assume that people who would do business in that environment would calculate, in business terms, what they think the risk is.

What's interesting to me, and I said this earlier as well, is how many people are really interested in getting themselves in the position to make that kind of calculation. There is a huge -- much more than I would expect, I don't know if huge is the right word -- but there is a heck of a private sector presence here.

As people are talking to the Iraqi officials, they're measuring what they're hearing from Ambassador Bremer and the current president of the Governing Council. And those business judgments are being made right here in Madrid as we sit.

American companies have indicated, you know, and some of our large companies who can accept a fairly significant level of risk because of the resources that are in there already now working, as I indicated earlier. We're trying to encourage as many subcontractors as possible. And the contracts that were issued last week to the cellular telephone companies, three consortiums -- north, middle and south -- all -- yeah, here it is -- okay. I think there are three systems going in and one Egyptian-led consortium and two Kuwaiti companies. So you have Arab countries that feel confident enough to go in. And guess what? It wasn't an American company that's doing it, which is the charge I read in every -- present company excepted -- in some European newspapers.

We're trying to spread it out. So many ministers come to see me, both those who have supported us and those who haven't, anxious to see how they can participate in the reconstruction effort because they think it's going to be good business.

MR. BOUCHER: We've got time for about two more questions, so if the gentleman --

QUESTION: Are you (inaudible) that Pakistan is helping Saudi Arabia to build a nuclear bomb (inaudible)?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I don't know that Saudi Arabia is trying to build a nuclear weapon. And I don't think that Pakistan, under the leadership of President Musharraf, is interested in helping anybody build a nuclear weapon.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah, your --

QUESTION: -- but would you be concerned if Saudi Arabia --

SECRETARY POWELL: I would be concerned if anybody was building a nuclear weapon. But you -- you premised -- you led your question.

QUESTION: No, no. I'm just saying will you -- do you think they are? I don't know that they are.

SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know that they are either. And so therefore, the point is, if I don't know that they are, how can I say that Pakistan may or may not be helping them? So I gave you a fairly correct and precise answer.

(Laughter.)

But nice try.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: How much cooperation in this reconstruction process is being provided by neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria or Iran?

SECRETARY POWELL: How much support?

QUESTION: Cooperation.

SECRETARY POWELL: Cooperation. I'm not sure how much detail I can give you, but, for example, we're purchasing power from Syria. There's some flow, you know, to support the electrical needs of Iraq. I think we're purchasing petroleum products and maybe power from the south as well, but I don't have the details in mind.

So we are working with neighboring countries to see how they can support the reconstruction effort. There's a great -- an enormous amount of commerce that is going across the borders now, starting to generate revenue for the government. And I'm not sure that I can add any more detail because it's not -- or whether I'm getting your question.

QUESTION: I wanted to raise (inaudible) a friendly country like Saudi Arabia may have to do something (inaudible).

SECRETARY POWELL: My impression is that both Ambassador Bremer and the Governing Council are in close coordination and discussion with the surrounding neighbors; more so Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, than say, Syria, and to a much lesser extent, Iran.

And I'm not aware of any problems or hindrances or any fences or reservations that exist between CPA and the emerging Iraqi Government and their neighbors, with limitations on my comments with respect to Syria and Iran for obvious reasons.

MR. BOUCHER: You may want to see what neighboring countries say tomorrow at the conference.

SECRETARY POWELL: And the Syrians are represented here as well.

MR. BOUCHER: We'll take the last question down here.

QUESTION: Are you staying until the money is counted?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes.

(Laughter.)

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah. It's -- this'll be the second one of these I've been to. We did Tokyo at the beginning of last year for Afghanistan. We raised $5 billion. This one is one of the biggest donor conferences ever held. It may not be the biggest in terms of number of people. More nations came to the Tokyo conference. But I'm confident that this conference will raise more money than any other donorís conference that's been held.

MR. BOUCHER: Can we get the last one down here.

QUESTION: May I ask your personal opinion. Sir, what are the lessons to Iran from this war and the process of reconstruction to deal with the potential -- sorry, to the United States --- in the future?

SECRETARY POWELL: The United States has made it clear that we are deeply concerned about those countries that are state sponsors of terrorism and those countries that are developing or have weapons of mass destruction, and even more concerned about those countries that are not only owners or developers of weapons of mass destruction, but also have a relationship or linkage to terrorism.

And we were -- we were criticized by a number of commentators when we talked about the "axis of evil" when the President made it clear that there was a problem for us and for the world from these kinds of nations.

What we have learned is that we have to deal with these nations. It isn't always a military solution. Sometimes, preemption is the appropriate measure to use, but other times, it's diplomacy. What we've learned is, don't hide from the reality of a nation that has weapons of mass destruction, trying to develop them or is working with terrorist organizations. Don't pretend it isn't the case. Don't stick your head in the sand and say it's not happening, or even worse, saying, "Well, look what happened. It isn't going to happen to me. They're going after the Americans."

We now know that these are worldwide threats. Bali. I could go around the world and show you that it is not any longer an isolated event. And so the United States is committed, as the President has said at every stop in his trip he is now concluding, it is a worldwide campaign that has to be fought against terrorism, and the lesson from Iraq and recent events is that we have to use all the tools at our disposal. It's not always the United States army. Very often, it's law enforcement efforts, it's the exchange of intelligence information, the exchange of financial data, transaction flow between terrorists and terrorist organizations. It's pulling together other nations in a common effort to go after one of these problems.

The six-party talks that we are working on with respect to North Korea is an example of that. The Proliferation Security Initiative where we are working with a number of nations to start interdicting this stuff on the high seas or however else it travels around the world, this is an example of what we are trying to do in a multilateral way in order to stop this kind of activity and the flow of these kinds of weapons, which are a threat to the world, not just to the United States.

And so, I guess one answer to your question is that we have to do more at an international level and we are. The Proliferation Security Initiative, with taking the case to the United Nations Security Council when we find out that there's a problem, such as we did in Iran, and such as we did in North Korea, the IAEA to condemn this kind of action, and to work with the international community.

We're accused all the time, and particularly in the European press, of being the unilateralists who are forever running around doing their own thing. But I can -- I can make a ledger for you of what I have done and what the President has done and what our cabinet has done over the last almost three years of this Administration, and say, "This is what we have done that shows we are multilateralists and believe in partnerships and friendships, and this is what we have done which you all call unilateralist.

And I'm quite confident that the multilateralism column will far outweigh what people would say belongs to the unilateralist column: the expansion of NATO; our support for the expansion of the European Union; going to the UN repeatedly on these matters and getting resolutions in almost every case except for the second resolution earlier this year, which everybody focused on; working with the Asian countries -- Japan, South Korea, Russia and China -- on the North Korea issue; what we're doing with free trade agreements; trying to get the WTO moving and the Doha round moving; and working on getting regional free trade agreements -- a Free Trade Area of the Middle East that we're trying to get created over the next ten years, Free Trade Area of the Americas, Central American Free Trade Area; bilateral trade agreements with Singapore, with Chile, with Jordan; Community of Democracies in the Western Hemisphere.

All of these are examples of a nation that values its partners, values its alliances, values its friends. The President just spent a week going through -- going through Asia. APEC, the Asian Pacific Economy, and then strong positive meetings with the Philippine leadership, the Chinese leadership, the Korean leadership, the Japanese leadership, the Australian leadership, the Indonesian leadership, and anyone else who was in Thailand last week.

This isn't evidence of a nation that doesn't value its alliances and partnerships and doesn't realize that it's better to work together than to go off on our own. And I'm sure you will give me Iraq as an example of the unilateral action on the right-hand side, Kyoto and the ABM Treaty as examples of our unilateral action. I could go over each one of those to say that we took the Iraq problem to the UN, got a resolution, 1441.

On Kyoto, we made the case that we are concerned about the environment in which we live, but sorry, we just didn't think Kyoto was the right solution. There appear to be other nations recently who are taking a look and wondering whether Kyoto was the right solution for them.

And with respect to the ABM Treaty that was the subject of such debate during our first year, where we were just accused of getting ready to totally undermine the entire strategic framework of the world almost. And we took our time and we debated this with our Russian friends and with our European friends and others in the world who were concerned -- the Chinese, we spent a lot of time with the Chinese on this -- and all other nations that have nuclear weapons and are interested in deterrents and interested in getting rid of nuclear weapons.

And everybody swore an arms race would break out and we would rupture our relations with Russia forever. And we took our time, and we talked to the Russians for ten months and explained to them our position with respect to missile defense and why the ABM Treaty is a vestige of the Cold War.

They never agreed with us, and I'm the one the President sent to Russia, to Moscow, and then I went to France, Germany and England in one day to tell every leader that we have looked at this and we've decided that we have to leave the ABM Treaty and wanted to let you know.

And I remember sitting -- I'll never forget sitting with President Putin in the Kremlin and saying to him, "We've had ten months of discussion, but we can't quite come to an agreement on this, so the President wanted to let you know that he is going to announce that we'll be leaving the ABM Treaty."

And President Putin looked at me and said, "I think you're wrong. I think it's a wrong decision. You're making a mistake. You shouldn't do it. But the Treaty allows you to do it, so you're going to do it. Now that we've got that behind us, let's get on with talking about our strategic framework."

Six months later, we signed a new agreement on strategic weapons, and the world did not collapse. The strategic framework did not fall apart. Russia and the United States started working more closely together because we didn't have to talk about the ABM Treaty anymore.

And so you would -- I think I just took ABM from there and put it over on the multilateral side.

(Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.


Released on October 26, 2003

  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.