Secretary of State Colin Powell
Remarks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
State Department
Washington, D. C.
September 19, 2001
1:50 P.M. EDT

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It was again a great pleasure for me to receive my colleague, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, here at the State Department. This is our eighth meeting. We have met in Cairo, in Rome, Budapest, Brussels, Hanoi, Washington twice, and I have promised him that our next meeting will be in Moscow, unless we happen to meet in Crawford, Texas, or somewhere -- or in Shanghai.

So it's part of a long series of discussions and constant phone calls that have allowed us to develop a solid relationship, not only between our two ministries, but between our two countries. And today was no exception. We spoke about terrorism at considerable length. I was very pleased to receive from the Minister expressions of condolence for those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon last week.

Deputy Secretary Armitage called me from Moscow this morning to also tell me what it was like in Moscow to have Russian citizens coming by our embassy to place flowers and candles and otherwise remember those who lost their lives.

We had a good discussion of potential areas of cooperation as we go after this worldwide threat to civilization, and a comprehensive campaign where all elements of national and international power must be used: law enforcement, military activity, legal actions, financial actions, anything that can be used to get at these terrorist organizations. In the first instance, al-Qaida and Mr. Usama bin Laden, but ultimately terrorism wherever it rears its ugly head.

We also had a full discussion of regional issues, Iran, Iraq, Macedonia and other areas of interest to us, and we had a good discussion as well of the conversations we have been having between our two sides on a new strategic framework. And I think we are moving in the right direction. We have not solved the problem yet of how we can find a new strategic framework to go forward. But I think in our conversations today and the conversations that Under Secretary Bolton and Assistant Secretary Fife of the Pentagon have had with Russian military officials and Defense Ministry officials and Foreign Affairs Ministry officials, we can begin to see a way ahead that will increase stability and lead us in the direction of a new strategic framework.

So, once again, Igor, a great pleasure to receive you, sir.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: (As translated.) First of all, on behalf of the President of Russia and on behalf of the entire Russian people, I would like to once again express sincere condolences to the people of the United States over the tragedy which occurred on the 11th of September in the United States. There is no doubt that this crime, unprecedented in its scale, goes far beyond the borders of the United States.

The international terrorism has caused a blatant challenge to all civilized humanity, to all civilized world. This reaffirms once again the urgent necessity to join efforts of the entire international community in the fight against new challenges and threats, including in the first place the threat of international terrorism.

Russia and the United States have agreed to closely coordinate their actions in these areas. We will be coordinating our efforts within the framework of appropriate agencies as well as within the framework of appropriate working groups that have already been established and that have already been working between the United States and Russia.

At the same time, we believe that it's high time that we established by joint efforts a global system to counteract global threats and challenges. And we believe that the work on establishing such global system must begin as early as today.

We also place the main focus of our negotiations today on the preparations for the forthcoming summit meetings between the Presidents of Russia and the United States in Shanghai during the summit of APEC as well as the preparations of the first official visit of Russian President Putin to the United States.

We are satisfied with the fact that the relations between Russia and the United States are gaining positive dynamics. This has become possible, first of all, thanks to the summit meetings that our Presidents, the Presidents of Russia and the United States, conducted in Ljubljana and Genoa. And we are convinced that the forthcoming meetings between our Presidents will give a further impetus, a further impulse to our relations.

As the Secretary of State of the United States has just pointed out, we are conducting intensive consultations on the entire scope of issues relating to strategic security. On some of the issues, our positions are becoming closer. On the other issues, we are continuing active consultations. We have agreed to continue these consultations to be able to report the first results during the forthcoming summits of our Presidents.

We have also discussed regional conflicts. First of all, we expressed some optimism in connection with a decrease of tensions, with some decrease of tension in the Middle East. Both Russia and the United States are in favor of beginning direct dialogue between Peres and Arafat to begin practical implementation of the Mitchell Plan.

We have discussed also a number of other issues on which we are closely cooperating. I would like to specifically underscore that the negotiations were conducted in an open and constructive atmosphere. And I would like to thank personally for this, Mr. Secretary of State.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much. I just might add that earlier today, I spoke to both Chairman Arafat and to Prime Minister Sharon and expressed my satisfaction that the first 24 hours of the arrangement they made yesterday has resulted in a significant decrease in the amount of violence in the region. I encouraged both sides to keep moving in this direction.

The Prime Minister advised me that he had talked to Mr. Peres earlier with the same message. Prime Minister Sharon noted that, for the first time in many, many months, he has seen quiet since midnight of last night. And let us all hope that we can keep this process now moving forward and it will result in an early meeting between Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat.

We have time for just a couple of questions.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can I ask you -- can I ask both of you -- there is obviously concern, as well as support, among your allies about the scale of any future American military action. Can you offer any reassurance to your allies about what you are planning?

And Foreign Minister Ivanov, have you had any words of caution to add?

SECRETARY POWELL: We are approaching this not as a single battle to be fought by the military but as a campaign that will involve all of our elements of national power. And we will be discussing with our friends and allies in the days ahead exactly how we think this campaign should unfold.

With respect to the military component of such a campaign, I would not of course get into any of the details. But we know that there are some of our friends who are in a position to participate in such operations, and others who really will just provide us other kinds of support, whether it's diplomatic support, political support or working with the international police and intelligence activities. So at this time, I am not prepared to describe what the nature of any of our military planning might be.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: (As translated.) As Mr. Secretary of State has already said, we have not discussed concrete issues related to possible reaction of the United States to these events. At the same time, we share common position that we need to strengthen international cooperation in combating international terrorism. All means must be used in the fight against terrorism, beginning from political and legal means and including, when and if necessary, use of force.

We maintain constant contacts through our specialized services and between our foreign ministries. We have ongoing information exchanges, and we will continue to maintain our constant, close contact on all these issues.

QUESTION: You mentioned that the United States is willing to fight international terrorism anywhere. Does that include Chechnya? Because Russia faced international terrorism much earlier than September the 11th.

And a question to the Foreign Minister. (In Russian.)

SECRETARY POWELL: We have discussed this on many occasions. Russia is facing a difficult challenge in Chechnya and we know it's a challenge they must respond to, and we will do what we can to help. But, at the same time, we have always encouraged our Russian colleagues to work hard to find a political solution to this tragic conflict, and also to defend their interests in a way that are consistent with human rights and other standards. But we recognize the serious challenge faced by Russia in Chechnya.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: (As translated.) I have said that, in combating international terrorism, no means can be excluded, including the use of force. At the same time, so far, we have not discussed with the United States any specific, any concrete actions.

QUESTION: Will you be requiring a UN resolution before joining in any military action?

SECRETARY POWELL: There is a UN resolution that was passed last week. And as we go forward in the development of this campaign, if we see a need for additional UN resolutions to authorize certain actions, not necessarily military actions but other actions such as with respect to fighting international terrorism or going after financial support of international terrorism, we would certainly bring such proposals to the United Nations.

FOREIGN MINISTER IVANOV: (As translated.) You know, the United Nations has already passed a large number of documents related to combating international terrorism. If I'm not mistaken, there are as many documents as 12 on this issue. We believe that the United Nations shall continue to play a leading role in joining in concerting the efforts, in combining the efforts of the international community in the fight against international terrorism.

SECRETARY POWELL: We have time for just one more before the Minister has to go see the President.

QUESTION: Is the United States going to send troops to Afghanistan?

SECRETARY POWELL: When we have decided what our entire campaign plan is, to include any military actions we might take, the world will know about it. But I am not prepared to discuss any potential military operations at this time.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, time for one more?

SECRETARY POWELL: I have to get to the White House.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, did the Russians make any linkages whatsoever, whether it be with Chechnya, national missile defense, with NATO expansion? Were there any requests on their side?

SECRETARY POWELL: We talked about all of these items, as we always do, missile defense, ABM, Chechnya. But they presented no linkages between that and the current incident. The current tragedy that we are dealing with, they were very forthcoming, they want to be helpful, and they didn't put any specific requests or bills or links on the table.

Thank you.