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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 with Macedonian Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski After Their Meeting

Secretary Colin L. Powell
C Street Entrance
Washington, DC
November 25, 2003

(11:55 a.m. EST)

SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I just had a good conversation with Prime Minister Crvenkovski. We reviewed the strong bilateral relationship that exists between Macedonia and the United States.

I reflected to the Prime Minister how far Macedonia has come over the last several years. When I first became Secretary of State, it was an early crisis for us, and we worked through those difficult times, a framework agreement was created, and Macedonia is executing on that framework agreement, and the Prime Minister indicated to me that the last big step having to do with decentralization should be acted on in the very near future.

We discussed the strong support that we have given to each other in the global war against terror. We talked about the fact that Macedonia was there for us when we needed help in Afghanistan and in Iraq. They have provided troops to both of those theaters -- small numbers, of course, but nevertheless the symbolism is huge.

I also thanked the Prime Minister for entering into an Article 98 agreement with the United States and ratifying that agreement, even in the face of pressure to withhold such signing and ratification.

All of this shows how far we have come together over the last several years.

Another milestone will be reached on the 15th of December, when the European Union Military Mission will conclude, and, for the first time in years, there will be no international military presence in Macedonia because one will not be needed. Macedonia has reached a degree of political stability and stability within the society that they can provide for their own needs, with some outside assistance but no longer a military force needed.

All of this reflects the kind of leadership that the Prime Minister has given over the past year since he's been in office on this term, and I congratulate him for that. So it's been a great pleasure to be with the Prime Minister, and also with Deputy Prime Minister Xhaferi as well as my colleague Foreign Minister Mitreva. Great pleasure to have you all.

Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER CRVENKOVSKI: The relations between the United States and the Republic of Macedonia are on the very high level. Republic of Macedonia is small country, but Macedonia, in the same time, is very stable and reliable partner and ally of the United States of America.

I used this opportunity to inform the State Secretary about the actual situation in my country, about the progress that we made in the last period, and also I informed the State Secretary about our aspirations to become the part of the Euro-Atlantic structures. After this meeting, I know that we will have the U.S.A. support through that process.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, may I roll back to a previous meeting you had today with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs? There's a report that the President says he's willing to return Charles Taylor to Liberia if Liberia asks. Can you update us on that? Did you get into that?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, we did not get into it, and I saw the press report afterwards. And as I understand the press report, I think President Obasanjo said that they’d consider returning Mr. Taylor if Liberia asked for him for the purposes of the special tribunal. But I have nothing to add to that. We continue to believe that Mr. Taylor ultimately must face justice of the kind that is awaiting him before the special tribunal.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, it seems to be that an agreement is shaping up at the IAEA. You've reached agreement with the Europeans. Can you say whether you think that this agreement that you've reached is strong enough to hold Iran accountable for any further violations if they make them?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, as you know, we've worked very hard over the past week with our European colleagues and other colleagues around the world, who constitute the Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, some 35 nations. And a resolution was tabled yesterday that I expect will be voted on tomorrow, and we're very satisfied with that resolution.

The resolution notes all that Iran has been doing over the years, with respect to its nuclear programs. It notes that Iran has been in breach of obligations. And there is one particular paragraph in the resolution which makes it very, very clear that if Iran does not now comply with its obligations and the others agreements it's entered into, then this will be a matter that will be immediately referred to the IAEA Board of Governors for action, as appropriate, under the various statutes.

So that's, I think, an important element in the resolution, an element that we wanted to see in the resolution, which points out that action will be forthcoming, appropriately so, if there is any indication in the future that Iran is not meeting its obligations.

So I'm very happy with the resolution. I'd like to thank my European Union colleagues, who worked so hard on it, especially the EU 3, as well as other members of the IAEA Board of Governors, that we've worked closely with. We're pleased with it.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, are you prepared to receive Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao soon, and are you making preparations to talk about Taiwan?

SECRETARY POWELL: We look forward to his visit and receiving him, and you can be absolutely sure that we will be prepared to discuss Taiwan. As we always do, we reaffirm to our Chinese guests that our "one China" policy remains our policy; it's founded on the three communiqués, as well as the Taiwan Relations Act, and we do not support independence for Taiwan. And that's very clear U.S. policy which we look forward to reaffirming again when Mr. Wen comes.

One more.

QUESTION: Macedonia want sort of guarantee for membership in NATO. Did you give it to our Prime Minister today?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it is not my place to give guarantees with respect to membership in NATO. That's why it's called an alliance. But I encouraged the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister to continue to work hard on the NATO membership action plan to meet the standards that are expected for anyone aspiring to join NATO, and I know that they are anxious to get the right kind of political signals from the United States and from the rest of the NATO allies.

And we look forward to the day when Macedonia is fully integrated, as the Prime Minister said, into all of the Euro-Atlantic structures, and we'll be working toward that end. How it comes about, at what pace, remains to be determined, and, of course, there are standards that have to be met in order to have membership in these structures.

Thank you very much.

(The Secretary escorts the ministers to their car.)

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can I ask you about al-Qaida? Given the threat now from al-Qaida and the end of Ramadan, how do you protect facilities abroad and how do you balance the need to warn with what may turn out to be crying wolf sometimes?

SECRETARY POWELL: It's a judgment call. It's a -- (laughter).

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: Every day, here in the Department, and I'm sure over at the Department of Defense and at our commands around the world, in the Department of Homeland Security, you review the threat information that you have and you have to make a judgment as to what is necessary to do to protect our facilities overseas. You don't want to cry wolf too often, but when there is a threat that you take as being a serious one, you have to put different levels of security around our facilities. And we do it on a daily basis, reviewing it for all of the embassies around the world.

Ramadan has now come to an end. We will be vigilant during this period to see if anything is coming our way in the days ahead. But it's a judgment call that you make every single day. How can you make sure that our facilities are open so that they can do their jobs, but at the same time in a way that protects our people? And so we constantly review it and try to make the best judgment that we can.

But there is risk. Our diplomats are on the frontlines of freedom, representing America's interests. And to represent America's interests well and to do their jobs, they have to be out and about, they have to take their work out to the people and the countries in which they are serving. And we try to do it in a way that protects all of our diplomats and their family members and all of the other individuals that are assigned to our embassies and missions around the world.

QUESTION: Do you have a date on the six-party talks?

SECRETARY POWELL: Happy Thanksgiving. (Laughter.) Not yet.

Released on November 25, 2003

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