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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 > 2004 > February

Remarks with Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain After Their Meeting

Secretary Colin L. Powell
C Street Entrance
Washington, DC
February 9, 2004

(11:05 a.m. EST)

SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, everyone. It was my pleasure to receive the Crown Prince here this morning. We had a good discussion. The United States and Bahrain have been friends for many, many years.

He thanked me for the support we provide to Bahrain, and I thanked him for the support Bahrain has provided to the United States. It really has been a strong and superb relationship for many years.

That continues in the work we are now doing on a free trade agreement. The first round of talks have been held and they went very, very well, and I hope that the next round will go just as quickly so that we can conclude a free trade agreement with Bahrain in the very near future.

We also discussed the situation in the region, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian issue. So it was a good, fulsome discussion with the Crown Prince, and my pleasure to welcome him and extend to him best wishes to King Hamad.


CROWN PRINCE SALMAN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. It's always a pleasure to come to the United States. I would just reiterate our deep thanks and appreciation for the role the United States plays in the region and its support to the Kingdom of Bahrain. We are very happy to receive that support, and likewise we reciprocate in whatever way we can.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary.


QUESTION: Would you kindly go on the record about your trip to Pakistan, tell us when you're going, which of several issues you might have on your agenda, please?

SECRETARY POWELL: I have no plans to travel to Pakistan. I'm sure I will before the spring and summer are out, but I read with the same interest as you did over the weekend that someone said I was on my way to Pakistan.

I have had conversations with President Musharraf. We had a good conversation on Friday evening, but neither in that conversation or in any other conversations have I indicated that a trip was imminent.

But I look forward to visiting Pakistan again. I hope it's in the not too distant future, but there are no trip plans on at the moment.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --

QUESTION: Excuse me. Could you give us a little bit on the conversation so far as those remnants of that network, the Sam's Club of technology?

SECRETARY POWELL: We made it -- (laughter).

QUESTION: That's what David Kay called it. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY POWELL: We had a very good conversation. The Pakistani Government has done quite a bit now to roll up the network. I said to President Musharraf that we wanted to learn as much as we could about what Mr. Khan and the network was up to, and it has to be pulled up by its roots and examined to make sure that we have left nothing behind. He assured me that that was his objective as well, and that he would share with us all of the information that they came up with.

We also talked about the issue of amnesty for Dr. Khan, and President Musharraf reminded me that it was a conditional amnesty. And that's the way they are dealing with the matter. And it's a matter for the Pakistani Government to handle and to make their own decisions with respect to how to roll up the network and what the appropriate action might be with respect to Dr. Khan.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, are you actually --

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, there is an important parliamentary vote this week in France regarding the banning of religious emblems.

Sir, are you concerned that this vote might curtail religious freedom in schools, state schools in France? Have you expressed your concerns, if you have any, to Dominique de Villepin?

SECRETARY POWELL: This is an internal matter for the French people and the French Government to decide. And I had lunch with Foreign Minister de Villepin on Friday, and we did not go into this. I'm sure the French know our view of such matters and how we deal with them in the United States, but this is an internal French matter that I did not discuss with Mr. de Villepin.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, are you and your G-7 partners considering some kind of an initiative to promote political and economic reform in the Middle East. And are you considering, as the Post suggested, offering more aid, support for WTO accession, tighter security arrangements to encourage Middle Eastern countries to reform?

SECRETARY POWELL: We are looking at these sorts of initiatives and we have some underway now. We have the Middle East Partnership Initiative. We had free trade agreements of the kind that we're working on with Bahrain. We have them with other countries in the region -- and I might just single out Jordan in that regard -- and we're looking at what else we might do and how we can institutionalize it all.

But the important thing to keep in mind here is that we're not looking for something to impose on the region, we're looking for things we can work with the region on. It's an effort to engage the region, and there are nations in the region that are making very important decisions and steps, with respect to democracy, with respect to the protection of human rights, with respect to economic development.

Bahrain is an example, a good example, of one of these nations. And so we're looking at how we can bring this all together to support reform in the Middle East for the benefit of the people in the Middle East.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: One for the Crown Prince?


QUESTION: To follow up on Secretary Powell's discussion of the Middle East Initiative, can you talk about how you view this in Bahrain and in the region? You've been very outspoken about the need for reform in the region. Do you think this is -- what you're doing is compatible with what the U.S. is looking to do in the region, or do you think that this is something that should happen organically among the people of the region without the interference of any other country?

Thank you.

CROWN PRINCE SALMAN: Well, I think one size fits all is not going to work across the whole region, but we certainly support the general principles advocated by the reform process. And you can, I mean, summarize them in three basic principles: one is democracy; two is rule of law; and three is adherence to a free market or capitalist system.

I think those three pillars need to be encouraged, and each country needs to define how it wants to move and when it wants to move on these issues. Now, if they do want to move, there needs to be support for them and help to get them across the difficult barriers that lie in the way of real reform.

In the Kingdom of Bahrain, we have been committed to these three principles for many years now, and we have worked very hard to see them implemented and developed continuously to reflect the need that the region has for those things.


QUESTION: (In Arabic.)




Released on February 9, 2004

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