Interview on CNN with Jeff KoinangeSecretary Colin L. Powell
June 30, 2004
(6:18 p.m. EDT)
QUESTION: Sir, you're the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Darfur.
Your thoughts, your assessment?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have a very difficult situation here. It's a
humanitarian problem, a serious one, but it's really a security crisis. All
the other problems would fall in place if we could break the back of the
Jingaweit, and that was my consistent message to President Bashir, to Vice
President Osman Taha and to Minister Ismail. They have to do everything
they can to bring the Jingaweit under control so that people are no longer
living in fear so they can return to their villages.
Now, while that is happening, we have to take care of them in the camps and
we have to create more camps, and the UN is hard at work on that. The camp
I saw today was one of the better camps and the people there are being taken
care of. But we don't want to take care of them; we want to send them home.
We'll take care of them until we send them home.
QUESTION: You came close the other day when you were leaving Turkey to
saying this borders on genocide. Why won't any U.S. officials claim that
there is genocide going on down there?
SECRETARY POWELL: Because even though there are some indicators of
genocide, by the definitions that are used for such a determination, it
doesn't really meet the test yet. But what difference does it make? What
will that do for us by worrying about a particular label? It's a horrific
situation and we shouldn't spend all of our time trying to determine what
label to put on it. We know what it is. We can see it. Let's work on the
problem and not get tied up in legalistic discussions.
QUESTION: Two days into the handover, it must have been a tough 14 months,
sir. Are you glad to be out of there? Are you glad to have handed over
power back to the Iraqis?
SECRETARY POWELL: I am certainly not out of there. I'm very pleased that
the Iraqis are now the governing authority and we've returned sovereignty,
just as we said we would. And I'm very pleased at the way in which the new
interim government is performing. Prime Minister Allawi clearly is a
leader. He's clearly taking charge. He wants to be in charge and we want
him to be in charge. President Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar is doing the same kind
of job. All 26 ministries are now at work, working directly for their own
Ambassador Negroponte assumed his duties yesterday and he's off to a good
start. We're getting regular reports from him. But it's the Iraqi
government that you'll see out in front now. We are there as a diplomatic
presence, and also as a military presence to help them with the security
they need until they can build up their own security forces, and Ambassador
Negroponte will help them in the way we help every country in which we have
an embassy. This will be a large embassy. A lot of money will be available
for reconstruction. But you say, am I glad to be out of there? I can
assure you, I'm not out of there. I'm following the activities of our new
embassy every single day and we're going to be working with the new
government every single day to help them empower themselves.
Released on June 30, 2004