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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 > November

Remarks to the Press With Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, High Representative Javier Solana, and Commissioner Christopher Patten

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Brussels, Belgium
November 18, 2003

FOREIGN MINISTER FRATTINI: (In Italian) I would like to thank once again Colin Powell, the American Secretary of State, for our meeting together with the E.U. Foreign Ministers, with the Commission and Mr. Patten, and the High Representative, Mr. Solana.  What I can say, first of all, is that our meeting has confirmed a strengthening of our solidarity and our Euro-atlantic alliance that is based on common values and goals. We agreed on the need to have between Europe and the United States a system of open and frank consultation, coordination, as well on the main issues of international politics. Matters of common interest, because it's only through consultation and close continuous coordination without too many official procedures, but we can get to know each others positions and we can understand each others positions. And this is how our meeting went today on some very sensitive issues. We discussed obviously Iraq, confirming our appreciation of the process underway, that is to say of transferring powers to an Iraqi government, while at the same time confirming the importance of an overall framework where the United Nations has an important role in reconstruction and security.

We also discussed the Middle East, and Mister Powell confirmed the full commitment of the United States to peace in the Middle East and he also recognized something which is very important to us Europeans, and that is to say the role that Europe has to play in the peace process in the Middle East. And indeed we, as Europeans, intend to play that role within the Quartet.

We also touched on some sensitive issues such as Iran. You know that yesterday I met, together with Mr. Solana, Rohani, the head of the Iranian Security Council, and we said that we are expecting specific results. Commitments and promises are not enough. And yesterday the E.U. Council of Ministers approved an important decision. We decided that in all agreements and in all treaties, both joint and multilateral agreements to which the E.U. is a party, we will ask for the inclusion of a non-proliferation clause. That is to say, where the country that wants to sign an agreement with the E.U. will have to agree to the principal of non-proliferation. And in that way, we subscribe to the project that we share with the United States, and also in combatting terrorism, that is another subject that we discussed.
In conclusion, I would like to say that we also stressed the importance of Europe trying to establish a constitutional treaty. And this is a very important step in the process of integration. And many of us, I and other colleagues, said in friendly terms to our friend Colin Powell that he can trust in this process, also in areas such as defense which will never be an alternative or in a hostile way to our alliance within NATO. And there too, we agree on a very sensitive topic. And the United States and Europe also agreed on a multilateral approach to tackling crises.

The United States are important to us in Europe, but as has emerged quite clearly, we are also important to our American friends. So I would say that this has been a very successful meeting, not only in a climate of trust and friendship but also in the way we addressed the subjects.

So thank you very much, Colin, for coming and meeting us.

SECRETARY POWELL:  Thank you very much, Franco, and I want to express my thanks to you and my other colleagues in the European Union for attending our meetings today, and also to my two good friends Chris Patten and Javier Solana for the work they have been doing in support of the U.S./E.U. partnership. This year we celebrate 50 years of relations between the United States and the European Union and its predecessor organizations.  The United States wants a unified Europe, an expanded Europe, a Europe that plays a full role on the world stage.  Our security is bound together in NATO, even as the European Union expands its capabilities.  And we support all the initiatives that are under way to expand the capabilities of the European Union in the security field. 

We come together at this time, at this important meeting, because we have much work to do together.  We act as we did 50 years ago on the basis of a shared vision and shared values.  Together we are expanding the community of freedom.  We are doing it in many ways, by expanding NATO and the European Union, bringing stability to the Balkans, fighting terrorism, helping Africa, and fighting the scourge of HIV, AIDS around the world, especially in Subsaharan Africa. By working together to forge peace in the Middle East, and by opening up new opportunities for trade and investment between the United States and the E.U., and with the United States, the E.U. and other parts of the world, and bringing the benefits of democracy and stability to Iraq and to Afghanistan. 

None of these tasks are easy, none will be done quickly.  While we have differences of opinion from time to time as to how we should go forward, we all recognize that only by working together, in partnership, we will be able to succeed, and succeed we must.  These meetings today have made our partnership, in my judgment, more effective.  Just today, for example, among the other things we did was to initial a new container security agreement, which will allow cargo in containers to pass more freely and with security between our ports.  So in these practical ways, and the kind of steps the European Union has taken, as the Minister mentioned earlier, the new non-proliferation accord that will be a part of all future agreements that the European Union enters into.  It shows how we are coming together through our shared vision and values to work together to deal with the major threats that we are now facing.  In practical ways, as well as in grand ways, the transatlantic partnership is making the world better for our children and for the people that we are able to help around the world. 

I would like to thank Franco once again for his effort in putting this meeting together today, and I look forward to further conversations in the course of the afternoon.  Thank you very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER FRATTINI:  Thank you very much, Colin. Javier?

HIGH REPRESENTATIVE SOLANA: Thank you very much, very little, because everything has been said.  Let me also only say that it has been a very constructive meeting. We had a meeting with the Secretary of State, our friend Colin Powell, a friend of Europe.  And no doubt that after the meeting the relations between the European Union and the United States are better than before the meeting.  This is the best thing I can say.  We have really had a good and constructive meeting. Thank you.

QUESTION: Arshad Mohammed, of Reuters. Secretary Powell, with regard to the IAEA board meeting on Thursday and Iran, what is your reaction to the British-French-German proposal for a resolution which we’re told does not include the words "non-compliance" or referring the matter to the Security Council? And Mr. Solana, do you believe that Iran is in non-compliance?

SECRETARY POWELL:  We had a very candid discussion about the draft resolution, we are studying it.  We have some reservations about the resolution draft that we have seen, and we will be in discussion with our European Union colleagues and other members of the IAEA as to whether or not the resolution is strong enough to convey to the world the difficulties we have had with Iran over the years.  And the fact of the matter is that Iran has been in non-compliance and it is a position the United States has taken for some time and finally the facts became clear to all.

I am pleased that Iran seems to be moving in the right direction now, but we can't be satisfied until Iran has demonstrated that all of the programs it had been pursuing have now been made known to the international community and they are now being brought to a halt.  And to be absolutely certain in our own mind that we have seen it all, and that Iran is cooperating fully and openly with the international community.  And whether or not we can come up with a resolution that will enjoy the full support of the IAEA board, I think that remains to be seen and will be a subject of intense discussions in Vienna over the next couple of days. 

HIGH REPRESENTATIVE SOLANA:  Let me very briefly answer your question.  I think the objective that we have in common with the United States and the European Union is to prevent Iran to go nuclear.  This is the objective that we share in the concerted effort to make this world with less proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  As far as Iran is concerned, the European Union has had, what we may call a constructive engagement with Iran in order to avoid that it goes in the line or in the direction of becoming a nuclear power.  For that we have to analyze the past, we have to analyze the present, and we have to analyze the future.  On the past, it is very clear, and the report from Dr. El Baradei, is very clear, that the behavior of Iran is not compatible with what it was expected to do. This is a very clear thing. 

Second, on the present, we are trying to construct, with Iran, through a good constructive dialogue, the impossibility, or the prevention from going into the enrichment process.  We want to stop the enrichment process and we want to stop all the elements that can go into the risk of going into the development of nuclear capabilities for non-peaceful means.

And third, for the future, for the future as you know, Iran has promised, and says it is going to sign the additional protocol which will allow, the thing that happened in the past, it will do it properly, if the (inaudible) do it properly, it will not pass in the future.  And this the approach that we have and I think that it is very compatible with the approach that we share, which is to work together, in order not to have a new nuclear state in the middle of the Middle East.

QUESTION:  (Inaudible ) for Danish Television.  Mr. Secretary, in your opinion, how damaging is it for Transatlantic relations that the United States is holding European citizens on an indefinite basis in Guantanamo Bay?

SECRETARY POWELL: I know that this is a subject much in the mind of European governments and we have discussed it extensively at lunch, and I have had some bilateral discussions with some of our European colleagues about this matter.  We are trying to resolve these detainee cases as fast as we can.  We have to make sure that we have interrogated them fully, to get whatever information they have that might be useful for us as we pursue terrorists.  And we have to make sure that they have not been responsible for any crimes for which they should be brought to justice.  And I will go back to Washington with a very good understanding of the concerns that my European colleagues have about this issue.  They have expressed these concerns to me before, but they reinforced the need for us to resolve these cases as quickly as we can. And I will be taking that message back and doing everything I can to resolve these cases.

QUESTION: (In French) Secretary of State, (Inaudible), from NBC Arab Television.  Question on Iraq. Everything seems to point to the fact that the security situation is getting worse in Iraq. If this is the case how will the coalition manage to stick to the deadlines for setting up the Assembly in the spring and government in June?  Will there be slippage in the timeline?

SECRETARY POWELL: We developed those timelines with the Governing Council, aware of the security challenges we face. The security challenge is the challenge given to us by the remnants of the old regime. They not only wish to see the Americans gone, they want to see democracy gone, they want to return to the old days of dictatorial leadership. Those old days are not coming back and these remnants of the old regime will be defeated. I am confident in the ability of coalition military forces, as well as the Iraqi forces that are now being built up: police forces, border patrols, local military units, and other Iraqi forces that are now being created. Between those Iraqi forces and coalition forces, I am confident we will be able to get the security situation under control. American forces and coalition forces have started to act more aggressively in recent days against this danger. There is also, of course, the danger of foreigners and terrorists who have come in to take advantage of this situation.

But what is important is that the Governing Council, in the presence of this security threat, came together last weekend and said "We are going to move forward. We want a fundamental law written, and based on that fundamental law we will hold elections for a transitional assembly, and from that transitional assembly we will create an interim government by next summer, early next summer, so that sovereignty can be transferred."  These are brave men and women who, in the face of this danger, are willing to step forward and put themselves on a course that will bring sovereignty back to them, and also bring democracy to the people of Iraq. And they have done it ahead of the timeline that was established in UN resolution 1511, which was a 15 December timeline.

I think it is also important to note that in the course of our discussions this morning, we talked about the role for the United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative to play. We are hopeful that Secretary General Annan, in the near future, will appoint a new Special Representative who can go back to Baghdad and begin now working with the Governing Coalition and with the CPA, and with the Governing Council as they work on a fundamental law and as they put in place those institutions that will be needed, and the procedures that will be needed, to hold elections for an interim assembly. And to help with the creation of the fundamental law.

QUESTION: Sonni Efron with the Los Angeles Times. Secretary Powell, following your discussions today, are you satisfied that the European proposal for the Agency for Defense Cooperation will not undermine NATO or are you left with lingering concerns?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, we didn’t discuss the agency at all, frankly, we were onto other issues. It wasn’t appropriate for it to be discussed in this forum but, based on our understanding of the agency, it looks like a sensible agency to have in the structure and it doesn't cause us any concern.

QUESTION:  Mr. Colin Powell, from Mile News Egyptian Television. I am just wondering, are you going to put a red line, you are going to ask the Iraqi government not to pass or are you going to give them all the freedom after they are there?

SECRETARY POWELL: I am sorry I didn't ...

QUESTION: Just, I was asking: are you going to put red lines, you will ask the government, the Iraqi government not to cross?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think the Governing Council has made a clear statement of the kind of society they wish to have and the kind of law they want to see undergirding that society. If you look at the statement they made over the weekend, they talked about human rights, they talked about independent judiciary, they talked representative government. These are the right kinds of elements to have in a fundamental law, and the right sorts of words to have come out of the mouths of the Governing Council. I am very pleased.
We have made it clear that once they have created an interim government on the way to a final government, a final constitution, sometime after that. But once they have created that interim government and it is resting on a base of legitimate authority given to it by the people, through an election for this transitional assembly and transitional government, at that point the work of the Coalition Provisional Authority is changed, it is different, it is ended. Now, we expect that they will want us to stay on for a longer period of time, as a result of what may well be a still not entirely secure situation throughout the country, and as they built up their own institutions. And we will certainly be willing to do that. But as long as they are moving in the direction that they have set out, then we will be very satisfied with the outcome produced by that work.

MODERATOR: (In Italian). Thank you very much.  Well, unfortunately we cannot take this any further because the speakers have other commitments. Thank you.

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