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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 > December

Interview With Anne Will, German ARD-TV "Tagesthemen"

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Brussels, Belgium
December 4, 2003

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, how would you characterize German-American relations after the strains of the Iraq War?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think theyíre excellent and improving. We had a major disagreement, and thereís no doubt about this, over whether or not we should have gone to war. And it caused quite a disruption. But we have spent a lot of time since the Spring of this year repairing whatever damage might have been caused. The United States and Germany are held together by so many strong bonds Ė in my own personal life, I started my military career in Germany. Iíve lived in Germany for years. And those bonds will not be broken. Weíre all coming together now to make sure that Iraq is reconstructed, and the people of Iraq can look forward to a better life, free of the tyrant Saddam Hussein. No more mass graves, no more people being suppressed by the dictatorial regime. We all have the opportunity to come together and build a democracy that we can be proud of.

QUESTION: Are you satisfied with burden sharing in post-war Iraq, or would you like to see Germany doing more?

SECRETARY POWELL: I would like to see all of the nations of the world doing more. I think the international community should feel an obligation to help the people of Iraq who are coming out of three decades of the most terrible kind of leadership. Germany will have to decide what it might be able to do. It has made some offers with respect to helping with the training of police and other things that might happen. And as we move into next year, and as we get closer to the transfer of authority from our coalition forces back to the Iraqi people, and as NATO considers whether or not it ought to perform a more expanded role, Germany might find an opportunity then to make a greater contribution than it is able to now.

QUESTION: Next year?

SECRETARY POWELL: Weíre almost in next year, and so Iíve covered myself that way. But I think it will take a few months for people to see things settle down, the security situation get under control, and once for example, NATO makes sure that it is on top of the situation in Afghanistan, as we discussed here today in Brussels, I think NATO will turn its attention to how it might do more in Iraq. And I hope as part of that discussion, Germany will review what it has been doing and what it might be able to do. But it will take some months, I think. Germany has made clear that it is not going to send any combat troops, and it is unable to make more of a financial contribution than it already had. But I hope that as the needs of the Iraqi people become more clear and as a new government gets going Ė of the Iraqi people -- next year, I hope Germany will review the situation and see if it cannot do more as part of the international community.

QUESTION: Do you wish to comment on Chancellor Schroederís plans to sell a plutonium factory to China?

SECRETARY POWELL: Iím not familiar with this statement on the part of the Chancellor and so I think I will just let that question go by.

QUESTION: Was Washington consulted in advance on this deal?

SECRETARY POWELL: Iím not familiar with the deal so Iím afraid I canít comment.

QUESTION: Wasnít it customary in the past for Berlin to consult Washington on nuclear issues?

SECRETARY POWELL: Iím not familiar with the particular deal so I donít know what consultation might have taken place with other authorities in the United States, but I can assure you that we closely consult with our German colleagues on a full range issues to include nuclear issues. I just donít have knowledge of this particular deal.

QUESTION: Yesterday afternoon in Rouns, a six-day joint military maneuver began. Are you really concerned about European efforts to set up independent military command structures?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think that we are satisfied that between the NATO authorities and the European Union authorities, we have a common understanding of how we should move forward with respect to dealing with future crises. And we call it Berlin Plus. It essentially means that when a crisis comes along, NATO will have the first call on whether or not the Alliance as a whole should respond to that crisis.


SECRETARY POWELL: But NATO first. Everybody agrees. Thereís no longer a debate on this subject, there wasnít much of a debate after it was agreed to earlier this year. NATO first, and that is the judgment of NATO and the judgment of the European Union. Thereís no disagreement.

If NATO for one reason or another decides that it should not participate or not take this mission on, then the European Union can make a judgment if it wishes to, calling upon NATO assets to help it. And if that is not appropriate, for one reason or another, and if the size of the operation and the nature of the operation is of a nature that the EU can do it alone Ė humanitarian or peacekeeping operation using its forces -- then the EU will do so, using either a national headquarters and whatever other assistance may be required, calling upon the assets of the European Union nations.

What we donít want to see is a duplication of effort. We donít want to see the EU doing things that itís better for NATO to do. We really donít want to see that kind of duplication. We do want to see full transparency. With respect to joint exercises and training and the creation of those kinds of units that might be useful in these kinds of operations, thereís no reason not to encourage that.

QUESTION: But what you donít want is that what France, Germany and Belgium are thinking out loud is a European alternative to SHAPE.

SECRETARY POWELL: There is no alternative to SHAPE. There is no other headquarters in Europe that has the capacity of SHAPE, so thereís no question about an alternative to SHAPE.

What we are looking at --and the debate that we have been having in recent weeks with our German, French, and British colleagues -- is if the European Union is going to act autonomously, as we say, on a third level of involvement, how best for the European Union to have a planning function, a planning cell, to prepare it for such missions? One alternative is perhaps to have a small cell inside of SHARE. Others have suggested something that perhaps is directly related to an EU organization. This is a reasonable debate that weíre having and we did not resolve it today, but Iím sure that it will be resolved to the satisfaction of all in the near future.

QUESTION: Lord Robertson criticizes the embarrassing Ė as he said -- lack of military equipment in Afghanistan. Will you soon be approaching Berlin with a request for more?

SECRETARY POWELL: This is up to Lord Robertson or his successor, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. We are very pleased with what Germany has done in Afghanistan, putting in a Provincial Reconstruction Team, the other support, troops that Germany has sent. Germany has made an enormous contribution to our peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan. Whether there is a need for more German forces or German capability, I will let George Robertson work that out with ...

QUESTION: And the other countries?

SECRETARY POWELL: All countries, I think, that have the capacity to support the NATO deployment to Afghanistan should do everything that they can. What George Robertson was speaking about earlier was he had a need for additional resources, helicopters and other things, and the Alliance members were a little slow coming forward. What he was saying, if we have the political will to so something, if we make a political decision to do something, then we must be prepared to provide the capability necessary for the successful accomplishment of the mission. Thatís a very reasonable statement. And all of us sitting in the room today with George Robertson agreed with him. Now we have to make sure that our governments are prepared to put the capability where the political will is.

QUESTION: A last question. How close are you to getting Saddam Hussein?

Secretary Powell: I have no idea. I donít know were he is. I donít know if heís dead or alive. What I do know is that heís not in power and he will never be in power again.

And although thereís been a great deal of criticism of our actions, and Germany and the United States had a major disagreement over this, I hope that all of your viewers in Germany will recognize that a very terrible person is no longer in charge in Baghdad Ė somebody who abused human rights in an outrageous way, somebody who filled mass graves, somebody who used chemical weapons against his own people, used chemical weapons against his neighbors, invaded his neighbors, and who took the wealth of his people and used that wealth for his own palaces, for weapons and for terrorizing the region. Heís gone and heís not coming back.

And the United States and its coalition partners are proud that we have removed this threat from the region and from the world, and now we are hopeful that the entire international community will come together to help the Iraqi people build a better nation, one that is founded in democracy and human rights. And Iím pleased, frankly, that the international community is coming together. Germany has supported us in a number of resolutions since the war in the United Nations. And I look forward to cooperating with my German colleague Joschka Fischer as we move forward.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much.

Secretary Powell: Thank you, Anne.



Released on December 5, 2003

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