Secretary Powell's Press Conference
Secretary Colin L. Powell
January 8, 2004
SECRETARY POWELL: Good afternoon, ladies and
gentlemen, and a slightly belated Happy New Year.
I thought I would start out the new year by coming
down and saying a few words and taking your
questions. Frankly, it was a suggestion I received
before the holiday period from one of your
distinguished colleagues that it is something I
should do, and so here I am, always, of course,
responding to the requests of the press.
But it also is appropriate at the beginning of the
year to kind of reflect on where we are in the
area of foreign policy. The President has led now,
for almost three years, a foreign policy based on
values and principles -- democracy, dignity of the
individual, human rights, economic freedom and
openness of trading systems -- and we remain
committed to those principles and values.
And in the year 2004 you will see us moving even
more aggressively to do everything we can to
expand peace throughout the world, to expand
economic opportunity to all nations in the world,
for the purpose of generating wealth and
opportunity for prosperity for the peoples of the
world, and pressing for freedom and openness in
systems and societies around the world, not in a
lecturing mode, but recognizing that we believe
strongly that human rights and freedom are God-given
rights and not just the purview of a particular
We enter 2004 in an interesting arrangement, if I
can use that word. We saw a lot of things happen
over the last few months. We've seen progress in
the global war against terror. We've seen greater
cooperation between the nations of the world. But
the challenge ahead of us is a difficult and a
long one. As the President said from the very
beginning, after 9/11, it will take a long time,
it will take our best efforts, and it will take
working with all of our friends and partners.
But with each passing day we see cells being
rolled up, we see terrorists being brought to
justice, and we know that there is still an enemy
out there that would do us ill, would do us damage,
and we'll be going after that enemy.
Two principal areas that we worked on last year,
and we’ll continue to work on this year, obviously,
are Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan, just in
the last few days, we saw a successful
constitution Loya Jirga which put in place a
constitution for the Afghan people, which will now
set the stage for elections in the middle of next
And so we see considerable progress in Afghanistan,
but we are not unmindful of the dangers that still
lurk there with respect to old Taliban elements,
and we are working closely with our Pakistani
friends to get them to use all of their assets and
resources. And I was pleased to note that the
Pakistani army began operations this morning that
relate to that challenge.
We will stay the course in Afghanistan. We will
work with our friends. We thank NATO for taking on
a new mission in Afghanistan, a unique mission for
In Iraq, the challenge is clear. We are working
very closely with the Governing Council. We have a
good plan, the 15 November plan, that will result
in the creation of a transitional executive branch
as well as a transitional assembly, by the middle
of the year, we hope; and at the same time, the
State Department, at the President's direction,
will be building up our capacity in Baghdad, so
when the time comes we can have a smooth
transition from the Coalition Provisional
Authority, with sovereignty returned to the Iraqi
people, then we would have an embassy function, a
normal embassy function. It will be a very large
We still have a security challenge, and we saw
that again today. We regret the loss of life of
our brave young men and women and other coalition
men and women and those civilians who have lost
their lives. But they are serving in a good cause
to give the Iraqi people peace and freedom, and
what is not there anymore is a horrible,
dictatorial, filthy regime that did develop
weapons of mass destruction, that used them
against people, a regime that filled mass graves.
It is gone. It is not coming back.
The difficult work is still ahead of putting in
place a new government that will be responsive to
its people, but, as the President said repeatedly,
we are committed to that end, and we will be
We have seen some dramatic things take place
within the last few days. We saw Libya decide,
after many years, that it wasn't worth the game,
it wasn't worth the candle, to continue to develop
weapons of mass destruction. And as a result, a
very, very solid diplomacy on the part of the
United Kingdom and the United States working with
the Libyans, you are aware of the announcements
that have been made, and we are following up to
make sure that we get verified removal of those
weapons and programs of mass destruction, and then
we will be in conversation with the Libyans as to
what the nature of our relationship will be in the
future. But verify first.
We've seen progress in the Sudan. You saw an
announcement the other day where the negotiators
in Lake Naivasha in Kenya have come to an
agreement on wealth sharing. There are just one or
two outstanding issues, difficult issues, having
to do with disputed territories. But the key here
is that after 20 years of the most terrible war,
Sudanese leaders have come together and are just
one or two steps short of having a comprehensive
peace agreement that will bring peace to Sudan.
And I'm pleased that the United States, through
the President's personal involvement, the work of
Senator Danforth and the work of a number of
people here in the Department and over at the NSC,
have brought us to this point.
Diplomacy doesn't happen overnight. It takes time.
It takes dedication. It takes being prepared to
accept some slipbacks as you move forward. But we
see an improvement in the situation in the Sudan.
Take a look at what happened on the subcontinent
with the Indians and the Pakistanis reaching what
has been characterized as an historic agreement
the other day. Many of you will remember a year
and a half ago where our problem was: Is war about
to break out, and might it go nuclear? And you
remember how much time the entire international
community devoted to that. And yet we see this
kind of progress, people desiring stability,
people desiring peace.
And in the months ahead, we will lend our good
offices to our Indian and Pakistani friends to
whatever purpose those good offices could be used
to keep this process moving forward. And I had
good conversations with President Musharraf and
Foreign Minister Sinha of India and Foreign
Minister Kasuri of Pakistan yesterday on this
In Iran, we have seen some interesting
developments with respect to Iran signing the
additional protocol to the Nonproliferation Treaty,
and also the work that was done by my European
Union colleagues from France, Germany and Britain
working with the Iranians to get more of a
commitment from them.
And Javier Solana is heading into Iran now and my
Japanese colleague, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi, is
there now. So we are all working together to
convince Iran that this is the time to eliminate
these kinds of programs and to bring whatever
you're doing under full supervision, and to make
sure that there is no possibility of a weapons
I was also taken by the quick response we got from
the Iranians on the relief that we offered in the
terrible, devastating earthquake, so many lives
lost. The President was quick to respond and he
gave us directions to get in touch with the
Iranians very quickly and offer our assistance.
And we did that and they responded very quickly.
This is not a political breakthrough, but it was
nevertheless a human breakthrough in the sense
that help was offered when it was needed, and it
was accepted. And so we will see what happens in
the future with respect to our relationship with
Liberia. Taylor is gone. And we worked with friend
and partners in Africa and in the UN to cause that
to happen, and provided just a touch of military
presence and military force to ensure that Taylor
would depart and that the Liberian people would be
given a new opportunity.
We've used our alliances in such an important set
of ways, whether it's working with our NATO allies
to expand the NATO alliance, whether it's working
with the EU as they expand the European Union,
working with our West African friends in Liberia,
working directly with the Russians a few weeks ago
as we dealt with a challenging situation in
Georgia and Tbilisi.
And now we've had a successful election and there
is a president-elect in Georgia. Our good friend,
an old colleague from the Reagan days, President
Shevardnadze, found it necessary to step down, and
it was done in a way that did not lead to violence.
And I'm looking forward to attending the
inauguration of the new president on the 25th, the
25th of January, a couple of Sundays from now.
In all these areas, we have worked with friends
and partners. We have tried to show our ability to
listen to others. We have pressed, as well, on
economic opportunity and prosperity. The President
has been in the forefront of open trade, free
trade. We have concluded a number of free trade
agreements. We're committed to the FTAA for our
own hemisphere, a subject that will get discussed,
hopefully, at the Summit of the Americas next week.
The Millennium Challenge Account. We now have a
terrific individual working in the Department,
Paul Applegarth, who will bring that program into
being and we can actually start putting out this
new kind of assistance, development assistance, to
people -- the kind of development assistance they
so badly need on top of the development assistance
that we have already been giving through our own,
our other programs, as well as the splendid work
being done on a regular basis by USAID.
With respect to freedom, just giving people access
to the basic human rights that they should have.
The President made a powerful speech at the
National Endowment to Democracy, talking about the
God-given rights that people have and how he wants
to work with countries around the world, but
especially in the Middle East, to ensure that
their people, in due course, at a rate and at a
pace to be determined by their own leaders,
understand that democracy can be theirs, too, and
it is not just the private preserve of Westerners
and the United States.
The Middle East Partnership Initiative also blends
into this. So, as we go into 2004, I'm excited by
the opportunities that are in front of us. I also
know there are significant challenges.
The Middle East is a significant challenge. We
have not made as much progress as I would have
liked to have seen in the Middle East, far from it.
And we have the President's vision of June of
2002, and we have a roadmap that is the way
forward, that's been signed up to by the parties.
What we need is, I believe, more responsible
action on the part of the Palestinian Authority,
in order to bring terrorism under control, make
sure that violence is being brought to an end, and
then I think the roadmap can be put into use and
can provide us with the way forward.
It's going to be an exciting year for us here, as
well, because the President, as you know, will be
hosting the G-8 here later in the summer, and we
have stewardship of the G-8 process this year. And
the President is also looking forward to the NATO
summit in Turkey in June, as well as the summit in
Monterey of the Americas, Mini-Summit of the
Americas next week. And there will, of course, be
a US-EU Summit, as well as a number of other
things -- all in an election year.
It shows that the President is engaged and the
Department will be fully engaged in pursuing all
of our foreign policy agenda items, focusing on
expanding peace throughout the world, expanding
economic opportunity that can bring prosperity to
individuals, and above all, pushing forward basic
concepts of freedom that we all believe in and are
at the bedrock of America's value system and of
our foreign policy.
So, with that, I hope that you will be with me
every step of the way for the rest of this year
and into the future. And let's see what happens
with the questions. Who would like to begin?
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can I try you on
something a little less rosy than some of the
things you cited? Iraq U.S. inspectors are pulling
out. Carnegie, in a report today, says the threat
was vastly exaggerated, Iraq posed no immediate
danger to the U.S. They have some recommendations
that the CIA Director's job be made a career job
instead of a political appointee. A lot of
probables, a lot of maybes were left out by senior
officials in describing what intelligence had
Looking ahead, but also looking back, would you --
would you have rephrased your speech to the UN, in
light of all of this, if you had another chance?
SECRETARY POWELL: No. I knew exactly the
circumstances under which I was presenting that
speech to the UN on the 5th of February: the whole
world would be watching, and there would be those
who would applaud every word, and there would be
those who were going to be skeptical of every word.
That's why I took the time (clears throat) --
excuse me -- I took the time to go out to the
agency and sit down with the experts. And anything
that we did not feel was solid and multi-sourced,
we did not use in that speech.
What the Carnegie report, which I have not read,
but I'm familiar with it from press accounts this
morning, it said that there was that capability
within Iraq and they were doing these kinds of
things. And they believe that we, perhaps,
overstated it, but they did not say it wasn't
The fact of the matter is, Iraq did have weapons
of mass destruction, and programs for weapons of
mass destruction, and used weapons of mass
destruction against Iran and against their own
people. That's a fact.
Now, that's back in 1988 when they used it against
their own people. But throughout the '90s, when
they had every opportunity to come clean, make the
declarations, and get right with the international
community, they had the chance to respond to every
one of those UN resolutions during the '90s, when
they were threatened by President Clinton in 1998
with a bombing and they still didn't come clean,
and then they caused the inspectors to have to be
forced out of the country, there is, I think, a
solid case that has been made to many governments
by their intelligence agencies, and that has been
the consistent view of UN inspectors and of the
United States intelligence community, that this
was a danger we had to worry about.
Now, in terms of intention, he always had it. And
anybody who thinks that Saddam Hussein, last year,
was just, you know, waiting to give all of this
up, even though he was given the opportunity to do
so, he didn't do it. What he was waiting to do was
see if he could break the will of the
international community, get rid of any potential
for future inspections, and get back to his
intentions, which were to have weapons of mass
destruction. And he kept the infrastructure. He
kept the programs intact.
Where the debate is, is why haven't we found huge
stockpiles, and why haven't we found large caches
of these weapons. Let's let the Iraqi Survey Group
complete its work. There has been the movement out
of some of the individuals from the group. I
presume that their particular job is finished.
But I am confident of what I presented last year.
The intelligence community is confident of the
material they gave me; I was representing them. It
was information they presented to the Congress. It
was information they had presented publicly, and
they stand behind it. And this game is still
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the Palestinian Prime
Minister said in an interview today that if the
Sharon government goes forward with some of the
ideas that were outlined in Prime Minister
Sharon's December 18th speech, incorporating some
land that Palestinians see as theirs, that the
Palestinians would effectively abandon the idea of
a two-state solution and demand full rights in --
with the Israelis in a single state.
Do you see -- he also suggested that Sharon's
ideas in that speech were tantamount to an
apartheid solution and sort of pushing the
Palestinians off into cantons. I wonder if you
think this idea of a single state has any sort of
SECRETARY POWELL: No.
QUESTION: -- and what you think about his
SECRETARY POWELL: No, we're committed to a two-state
solution. I believe that's the only solution
that'll work: a state for the Palestinian people
called Palestine; and a Jewish state, the state of
Israel, which exists. And what we have to do is
get to a table where we can negotiate the terms of
I don't believe that we can accept a situation
that results in anything that one might
characterize as apartheid or "bantuism." What we
need right now is for the Prime Minister of the
Palestinian Authority to get control of security
forces and to use those forces and use the other
tools available to him to put down terror and to
put down violence. And if that happens and we see
that kind of commitment, then I am confident that
we can move forward on the roadmap.
Mr. Sharon's comments recently and some of the
plans that he has talked about or have been
speculated about are just that right now -- plans.
Mr. Sharon begins all of his discussions by saying
he would like to see a solution; he is looking for
reliable partners he can work with. And his plans
that he has spent some time presenting recently
suggest what he feels he might have to do if he
doesn't have a reliable partner. What we are
trying to do is to get that reliable partner to
stand up and start acting.
We'll go to the back.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --
SECRETARY POWELL: Let me bounce around a little
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, today in The Washington
Post there was an op-ed by former National
Security member Ken Lieberthal on the situation in
Taiwan, expressing concern that if Chen Shui-bian
continues with his planned referendum, this could
create a very serious situation for the U.S.,
somewhat critical of the Administration that there
was no follow-up to the very clear statements that
President Bush had made when Premier Wen Jiabao
Could you tell me, what has the Administration
done to follow up there, and is there a concern
that Chen Shui-bian is not hearing the message?
SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, he's hearing. And the
President spoke so clearly and forcefully in
support of our "One China" policy and based on the
three communiqués and our responsibilities under
the Taiwan Relations Act, that I don't know that
he had to repeat the message. The message was
heard and received, and we will see how Taiwan
works itself through the referendum idea a little
later on in the spring.
But I think we've handled this very well, and when
Premier Wen was here the President gave him a
solid message of reassurance with respect to our
policies and what we thought the right solution
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm trying to mix it up a
little. Back there. The gentleman.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Mr. Secretary, I'd like
to ask you about yesterday's comment about North
Korea. It was very positive on the -- some North
Korean authority comment, and the -- you say maybe
freezement of all aspects of a nuclear program
might be a positive step. But on the other side,
North Korea is still maintaining their principle
of simultaneity and they are requesting the -- you
know, the supply of food aid or economic aid and
So maybe freezement without payment, without
payment with their commitment, might be a first
step as a -- maybe during the next round of talks,
SECRETARY POWELL: We're anxious to have the next
round of talks. And hearing from my Asian
colleagues, they're getting encouraging signals
from the South Koreans and the Chinese and the
Japanese that we might be closer to the next round
But as I've also said a couple of times this week,
just because we're not sitting in a guest house
somewhere talking at the moment, that doesn't mean
discussions and negotiations and trading is not
taking on -- going on and taking place.
What is absolutely essential is for us to move
forward. We need a clear statement from the North
Koreans that they are prepared to bring these
programs to a verifiable end. We have made it
clear, in response to North Korean concerns and
the comments we have received from our colleagues,
that security assurances are appropriate, and we
believe we have good solid ideas on how to provide
That's the opening step, and that's what we're
anxious to see in the next round of talks, then we
can get into how one goes down that road and what
the needs of the North Korean people are and how
those needs can be addressed. But what we can't do
is say, "You have been doing things that are
inconsistent with your obligations, and now we're
going to pay you to stop doing it."
We have to begin with, "We're not going to do it,
and we're not going to do it in a verifiable
manner." And in return for that, we will describe
the kind of security assurances we will give. And
they also have to make it clear that what they're
doing is permanent because we don't want to have
this -- see this movie again; and then we have
very solid ideas with respect to security
assurances, then things start to flow from that,
but not before.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes. Let me, let me -- some new
faces I haven't seen.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. You and the President,
Mr. Secretary, keep asserting your commitment to
the roadmap. On the other hand, there seems to be
a great deal of frustration with your other three
partners in the Quartet. They're saying that there
is total paralysis on the roadmap. They look at
the Palestinian Authority facing total bankruptcy.
They will not be able to pay the wages next month.
And on the other hand, we see Mr. Sharon with a
plan for a state, maybe on 40* percent of the West
Bank. How do you see their state? Where is it
going to be?
SECRETARY POWELL: I've been in touch, I've been in
touch with all of my Quartet partners. They are as
disturbed as I am that we haven't seen the kind of
progress that we had hoped for, but they remain
committed to the roadmap. I occasionally read
press accounts that somebody has a new idea, but I
think the roadmap is a good idea.
It's an idea that has been accepted by the
Palestinians, by the Israelis, by the Arabs and
all of those who were represented at Aqaba last
year, to include the Quartet. And so I'm always
willing to hear new ideas from anybody, to include
my Quartet colleagues, but at the moment the
Quartet remains solidly behind the roadmap.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the CPA released a new
State Department survey of Iraqi public opinion
just a short while ago. It contains one
interesting finding that says that nearly a
quarter of Iraqis surveys believe that attacks on
U.S. forces are actually helpful, including 31
percent in the city of Basra. What does it say
SECRETARY POWELL: Helpful?
QUESTION: Thirty-one percent.
SECRETARY POWELL: Helpful in the sense?
QUESTION: That's what -- this is your survey. It
says that the attacks are --
SECRETARY POWELL: You're reading it, I mean.
You're about to ask me a question on it so.
QUESTION: Are helpful to the Iraqis, attacks on
U.S. forces. What does it say about our efforts to
win hearts and minds in Iraq if a State Department
survey of public opinion over there says that such
a large minority thinks these attacks are actually
SECRETARY POWELL: Helping them to -- well, they're
not helping. The attacks are keeping going an
insurgency that has as its goal denying democracy
to the Iraqi people. So they're not helping. Now,
maybe this particular survey found 31 percent who
felt that way, but I presume the other 69 percent
felt another way.
And so what we have to do is continue to: one,
show that these people are losers and they're not
going to win, and our military is hard at work on
that; and we also have to show through our
reconstruction efforts and the kind of programs
that are now starting to flow that there is a
better life waiting for the Iraqi people, and that
better life is being slowed down, getting to that
point is being slowed down by this kind of
If it wasn't for these insurgent activities and
this continuing resistance on the part of old
regime elements or terrorists, we would be much
further along, and everybody would be throwing
roses at our efforts, as opposed to saying, "When
is security going to get under control?"
And so there's a better life out there waiting for
the Iraqi people, and we will convince them of
that as they see the reconstruction money from our
supplemental start to flow, as they see, I hope,
the UN play a more important role, but most
importantly, as they see their own security forces
stand up and start to provide for security within
the country and security within the -- with the
cities and towns, and finally, when they see that
the November 15th plan that we now have in place
and are getting as much support for as we can,
they see that that plan really does give them a
timeline when they will have their sovereignty
back, and it will be a happy day for them and a
happy day for us.
I'm going to try to get to the back. The lady way
in the back. Yes.
QUESTION: Thank you. Me?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah, you. Yeah.
QUESTION: Yeah? Okay. On Latin America --
SECRETARY POWELL: You don't want it?
QUESTION: Yes. (Laughter.) On Venezuela --
SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah, you had your hand up. Oh,
I'm sorry. Well, we'll do both ladies. You first,
QUESTION: Oh, okay. Thank you.
QUESTION: Good man.
QUESTION: Who first? Me? Okay.
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes.
QUESTION: On Venezuela --
SECRETARY POWELL: We've had two this week.
QUESTION: Mr. Powell, on Venezuela.
SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah.
QUESTION: I just want to know what is your
perception on the current relationship between the
U.S. and Venezuela. And you are still believe that
the electoral, peacefully and constitutional
solution is close to Venezuela?
SECRETARY POWELL: It's certainly a possibility.
We've had a strained relationship with Venezuela
and with President Chavez. We are pleased that a
referendum took place and now the votes are being
certified. I'll have to wait for that
certification, but if the certification shows that
enough people have asked for the recall election,
then there will be a recall election. The
Venezuelan people will have the opportunity to
once again express their view as to how they wish
to led, and it will be done in a constitutional
manner. And the United States supports the
constitutional way of resolving this problem.
Andrea. I'll come back to you in a minute.
QUESTION: On the subject of weapons of mass
destruction, Mr. Secretary, one of the other
conclusions of that report was that there was no
evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein
and al-Qaida and that there was no evidence of a
likelihood that he would transfer weapons to
What do you think about that, looking back? And I
know that, you know, hindsight is 20/20, but to
think back --
SECRETARY POWELL: My presen --
QUESTION: Do you think that there were ways other
than war to have handled this threat and that the
-- that it was not an imminent threat to the
SECRETARY POWELL: My presentation on the 5th of
February when I talked to this issue made it clear
that we had seen some links and connections to
terrorist organizations over time, and I focused
on one particular case, Zawahiri, and I think that
was a pretty solid case.
There is not -- you know, I have not seen
smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the
connection, but I think the possibility of such
connections did exist and it was prudent to
consider them at the time that we did.
Were there other ways to solve this problem? I
think the President gave the international
community every opportunity to solve this problem
another way. The international community gave the
Iraqis 12 years to solve this problem any other
The President took the case to the international
community and said: For 12 years, you have been
defied. What are you going to do now? It's time
for us to act.
And the President, after a reasonable period of
time -- inspectors were still being thwarted, we
got an incorrect, ridiculous declaration from the
Iraqi Government in response to Resolution 1441 --
and after waiting a sufficient period of time, the
President decided he had to act because he
believed that whatever the size of the stockpile,
whatever one might think about it, he believed
that the region was in danger, America was in
danger, and he would act and he did act.
And he acted with a large number of countries who
felt likewise, and he acted under the authority
that we were absolutely sure we had because we
negotiated it that way in UN Resolution 1441.
Now the young lady in the back.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. This is in Cuba
regarding two statements this week. One of them,
what evidence U.S. have regarding the point made
on Cuba's intention to destabilize the region?
And the second one, exactly on Cuba and the
relationship with Argentina, comments made by Mr.
Noriega regarding Cuba being too soft or too
indulgent with Cuba? What is your opinion?
SECRETARY POWELL: Argentina being too soft?
QUESTION: Yeah. That's a comment that Mr. Noriega
made this week in New York. So can you please
SECRETARY POWELL: I've been in senior national
security positions for -- on and off over the last
17 years, and for that whole period of time, Cuba
has been trying to do everything it could to
destabilize parts of the region. Now, fortunately,
they turned out to be massive failures for the
most part. And -- but I remember very vividly my
days as National Security Advisor in 1987 and '88
when that was a real and present danger to
democracies all over the region.
We now, in our wonderful hemisphere, have 34 of
those 35 nations democracies, different problems
and different challenges for each of these
democracies, but democracies; no juntas running
anything, except for one place, and that's Cuba,
which continues to oppress its people, which
continues to deny its people a better life, and
given the opportunity, will stir things up. That
has been his history. That has been his tradition
for all these many years, and I think Assistant
Secretary Noriega was just calling it the way it
And I think it's incumbent on those of us in the
hemisphere who are committed to a community of
democracies, who are committed to the documents
that were signed at the Quebec Summit back in
2001, who believe in freedom, to speak out when
one nation in the hemisphere denies freedom to
people. And when people express their rights, they
get thrown in jail for their views in an open
manner, an honest manner, they get thrown in jail
for long periods of time, and we have phony
And so I think Roger Noriega was speaking clearly
and directly, and I know that it upset some of the
Argentine leaders, and I look forward to seeing
Foreign Minister Bielsa about it and discussing it
on Monday in Monterrey.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary --
SECRETARY POWELL: Okay. Let me -- I'm trying to
really mix it up today. Yes.
QUESTION: Thank you. Turkish Prime Minister will
be here in Washington soon. And what do --
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: Turkish Prime Minister --
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes.
QUESTION: -- will be in Washington soon. And what
do you expect this visit to accomplish, taking
into concentration Turkey's concern on some issues
like the future of Iraq, Cyprus and EU accession
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we're looking forward to
Prime Minister Erdogan's visit, and Turkey is a
good friend and an ally. And we know they have
concerns about some of the developments in Iraq,
particularly PKK, it used to be called, up in the
Kurdish part of the country, and I'm sure we will
discuss these issues. But we really are delighted
to see the Prime Minister come here so we can
reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-Turkish
We had some difficulties last year. We have to
keep in mind, though, that when we asked the Turks
to take the difficult decision -- a brand new
government, a brand new parliament to take the
difficult decision of allowing U.S. troops to go
through Iraq -- the government, Prime Minister
Erdogan, took that decision and took it to his
parliament. And for a few hours we thought it had
prevailed, but the parliament decided against it.
It was a disappointment. We worked through that
disappointment. And when we were considering again
a contribution of Turkish troops a few months ago,
they took that decision to the parliament again
and got approval. We subsequently determined that
it would not be the right thing to do to bring
Turkish troops at that time or at that place, but
Turkey was standing with us.
So Turkey is a good friend. We want to be
supportive of its efforts. We want to work with
Turkey to see if we can find a solution to the
Cyprus problem using the outline of Kofi Annan's
plan. And we also want to work with Turkey and our
other European colleagues, as we prepare Turkey
for, hopefully, eventual integration in the
Okay. I'm really -- let's see. All the way in the
back, the gentleman with the coat.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, your good friend, the
Foreign Minister of Greece, George Papandreou, is
assuming a leadership role in the governing party
in Greece. Do you have a comment for Mr.
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, George, George Papandreou,
is a very good friend of mine and we have done a
lot of things together over the last several
years, and I congratulate the announcement that he
made today that he would be running for leadership
of the party. And I wish him all the best of luck,
but it is a free, open democratic election and it
will be up to the Greek people to decide which
party they wish to have lead them, and who the
next Prime Minister will be.
I couldn't help but notice, though, that as the
news broke yesterday, there were all these
wonderful pictures of George running in shorts and
George jogging and George dancing, so the campaign
has begun, clearly.
QUESTION: Thanks. While over at Carnegie this
morning, they're criticizing you for carrying out
the President's policy, in his new book, Richard
Perle, and along with David Frum, says that you're
a softliner and you don't carry out the
President's policy. He also alleges that you get
overly positive coverage by the media. So I just
wanted to -- (laughter). I just wanted to know --
Indeed. He didn't mention any names -- wanted to
know how you respond to that kind of criticism.
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't do book reviews. Next.
Right there. Yes.
QUESTION: Yes, sir. Could you give us a little
SECRETARY POWELL: But, seriously, one, I don't do
book reviews. Two, if I was not carrying out the
President's policies, there is only one person I'd
be worried about finding that to be distasteful,
and that's the President.
QUESTION: Could you give us a little about your
hopes for Mr. Burns' trip to Egypt, in terms of
the roadmap, and will it maybe build something?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah. Bill is going out to
consult with our friends in the region, and I hope
he can build a little momentum to get a little
more pressure from Egyptians and others to place
on the Palestinian Authority. They have got to get
going and they have got to wrest authority away
from Arafat that will allow the Prime Minister of
the Palestinian Authority to start taking action
with respect to terror and violence.
Now the number of incidences have gone down, but
there is still a potential where any one terrorist
organization, on any day of the week, can blow up
any progress we have made. And I have seen it time
and again over the last three years. So Bill will
be encouraging them to play a more active role.
All the way in the back, the lady standing. We'll
go to gentleman in a minute.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. On
immigration, yesterday, President Bush made a very
broad proposal on immigration. Nevertheless, the
response by President Fox was that it was not
enough and it was below expectations. And I
believe your colleague, Derbez, said pretty much
the same thing, and he -- that it wasn't enough. I
was wondering if this is a disappointment for the
U.S. Government, and if you were expecting a
stronger endorsement by the Mexican President.
SECRETARY POWELL: No, the report I got from
Foreign Secretary Derbez, and I hope to call him
this afternoon, but we did get communication from
him last evening, that he was pleased with the
President's announcement and encouraged by it. Of
course, people would always like to go much, much
further than, you know, the opening position.
But I think the President's announcement was a
bold one and dealt with a very, very important
issue. And we are trying to deal with the problem
of 8 million individuals who are here without
documentation, who are illegal, and how can we
deal with them. We need them. They are a part of
our economy. We want to give them a sense of hope
and belonging. We want to make it possible for
them to go back to their homes and come back into
the United States.
And so I believe the President's initiative
announced yesterday is a good one, a solid one,
and I know that the President looks forward to
discussing it with President Fox next week.
This will be it. I've got to go.
QUESTION: To go back to the Western Hemisphere
just for a second. In addition to all of the
problems that have been mentioned or the problems
mentioned with Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba and now
just with Mexican disappointment, you also have a
serious deterioration in the situation in Haiti
where you have some experience, and also this new
dispute with Brazil. And I'm wondering, as you
head into the summit next week, if you think that
there can be progress made hemispherically on
these two issues.
SECRETARY POWELL: No, thank you for mentioning
Haiti. Invariably, it's a very long list of
countries in the world, but I'm very disturbed
about the situation in Haiti and we are pressing
President Aristide to take the opportunity
presented by the bishop's proposal that would
bring some order to the political process and
provide a constitutional way forward so that they
people of Haiti can express their will. And so
we're encouraging President Aristide and the
opposition to take advantage of the bishop's
proposal. And I'm sure this will be a subject of
discussion next week as well.
With respect to Brazil, I talked to the Foreign
Minister yesterday, Minister Amorim, about the
identification program. And they were disturbed
about what we did, but they knew what we did was
coming. It's something that's required by our law.
I am pleased that most people coming through our
facilities now, whatever feelings they might have
had about it, they realize it's a pretty
straightforward, simple process: two fingerprints
and a picture. In fact, one of the -- it was
reported to me this morning by some of the
Homeland Security people that people are kind of
enjoying the novelty of it all, but the novelty
will wear off, too.
But nevertheless, it's something we have to do.
Why? To protect ourselves. To know who's coming
into our country. That's not unreasonable.
Now, the Brazilians, in a particular case, a judge
found that offensive and responded by saying, "We
will now do this to all Americans." The difference
is that they single our Americans, whereas our
program is universal, except for the visa waiver
And so I talked to Minister Amorim yesterday and
said, "Let's work our way through this," and not
-- it should not be the basis of a major problem
between the United States and Brazil. And I think
there -- some modifications are being made in
Brazil with respect to the judge's instructions.
Thank you very much.
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