of State Colin Powell
Media Availability En Route to Shanghai
October 17, 2001
SECRETARY POWELL: Who wants first?
SECRETARY POWELL: I have been talking with my staff back in Washington and they
have been in touch with both sides. The Palestinian Authority put out a strong
statement condemning the assassination. At the time they put it out it was still
an assassination attempt because the minister hadnt died but he has subsequently
died. So, it is a very serious situation and Ill make additional calls
when I land. Our Consul General in Jerusalem is in direct touch as well as Ambassador
Kurtzer. My staff is following it in Washington. I have been in touch with some
foreign leaders already Minister Fischer. Ill be doing more calls
when I get on the ground.
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, Ill wait and see. Ill get on the ground
and get recommendations from my staff, get the state of play and then Ill
make my judgments.
QUESTION: Are you hoping to close a deal with the Russians on this trip on ABM
amendments so that it can get done before the two presidents meet?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think were going to have good discussions and a number
of things have been teed up for my conversations with Igor Ivanov tomorrow night
and for the presidents conversations with Mr. Putin on Sunday, but I would
not expect that we would arrive at closure on the strategic framework issues
on this trip. But, certainly, well be moving the ball quite a bit further
down the field before approaching Crawford in about three weeks time, I guess
or almost a month later.
QUESTION: Could you say anything about what is teed up? What do you mean by
SECRETARY POWELL: We have had a number of meetings and exchanges with the Russians
on the strategic framework and the issues within the strategic framework. I
dont have anything that I want to announce tonight or say tonight with
respect to what they may be talking about on Sunday which you will hear from
QUESTION: We know that the last meeting with the Chinese was disappointing on
proliferation issues. Are you going to be talking with them on this? And, how
do you expect to push them on this issue without their going to be a little
bit more productive on this ahead of the Presidents visit there?
SECRETARY POWELL: Her question has to do principally with the November agreement
of last year, and we have been in discussions with the Chinese ever since my
visit. Now what needs to be done to satisfy that agreement, the grandfathering
issue, the issue of export controls, and the issue having to do with our ability
to waive certain sanctions in order for them to go forward with the satellite
purchases. We have not received satisfaction and, in fact, as a result of that
we imposed sanctions on one of their companies, as you recall, SEMAC, a few
weeks back. There has been no additional progress, and I am sure its something
that I will find time to discuss with my Chinese colleagues.
SECRETARY POWELL: We talked about it before and sometimes you just keep working
on a problem, keep chipping away and ultimately you hope that you arrive at
a solution. So, well keep working on it but we have not abandoned the
position that we have taken because we think that the elements in an agreement
are important. If they want to move forward with respect to that kind of technology
from us those conditions have to be met.
QUESTION: What concrete steps do you hope will come out of tomorrows terrorism
roundtable among APEC foreign ministers?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think we will have a good breakfast discussion, and then
as you know statements are being prepared for the leaders. I think well
come out with a pretty strong joint statement that will reflect the cohesion
of the coalition, that it is standing together in this time of crisis. I have
detected no weakening in the political commitment that leaders have made. I
think that the discussions at APEC both at ministerial and at leaders
level will reflect that and will be reflected in the statements that will come
QUESTION: Just to follow up, what will you be looking for in terms of contributions
to the campaign against terrorism and also toward a future in Afghanistan?
SECRETARY POWELL: As you know, every nation is making a contribution in a way
that is appropriate for them. In some cases it is just diplomatic and political
support and in other cases its a contribution of military forces. The
Australians made a very strong statement by their commitment of military forces
which Prime Minister Howard, I think it was yesterday or today, I cant
recall, Im losing what day we are in.
Most of the arrangements that we make like that are bilateral or within the
NATO context. I dont know that we have any specific requests to put before
any of the nations that will be here that we have not already put before them.
Im not expecting any significant additional announcements of troop contributions
or other elements of support that we are not already aware of, but my Pentagon
colleagues are hard at work while I have been traveling through south Asia.
If something comes up I will be sure to let you know.
QUESTION: Arent these statements already done? So what do you talk about?
Similar to OAS and UN, etc?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, you would be surprised. You can get very intense discussions
on the statement and whether or not someone wants to make a modification or
a change to the statement. Most of the diplomatic conferences Ive gone
to involve not the whole statement, but a sentence in the statement or a word
in the statement or the shaping of a statement. I think well have a chance
QUESTION: So youre heading to East Asia. Months ago you were very confident
that North Korea would come around, that you would open discussions with them.
That was more than four months ago. Do you expect that the issue will come up?
And, what do you suppose is going through the North Korean minds these days
in four months without a response.
SECRETARY POWELL: I think eventually the North Koreans will respond in a way
that will allow us to go forward because I dont think they have any other
choice or future. Their economy doesnt get any better. Their agricultural
situation doesnt get any better. I cannot predict when they will make
that decision and I cannot pretend to get inside the mind of the leadership
circle or the mind of Kim Jong Il. So we will have to wait and see.
I think perhaps the events of the 11th of September have caused them to slow
down their decision process. As you know, they are on a list of states that
sponsor terrorism and I think things were slowed down by the events of the 11th
of September. I will look forward to the discussions that the President will
have with President Kim Dae Jung. Maybe we will get some better insight into
North Korean thinking. As you know, they have also pulled back on some of the
commitments they have made to the South Koreans with respect to travel back
and forth. There is something churning going on.
In dealing with the North Koreans its going to be a long-term, slow process
but I think it has to move in a positive direction because of the severe needs
that exist within that country.
QUESTION: On a step from A to Z, if A in Afghanistan is this political vacuum
that you fear and Z is some sort of functioning parliament, whatever broad-based
government you form, Id like to know what youre thinking about how
you get from A to Z?
SECRETARY POWELL: We may see a political vacuum immediately or sort of a deteriorating
situation that leads to a political vacuum. And I think what you are going to
need, as I said before, is some sort of broad-based assemblage of individuals
and leaders representing all aspects of Afghan society who will come together
with a common purpose and perhaps using the position of the king as a rallying
point and, from that, let them come up with some ideas of how they wish to be
governed in the future. Then use the United Nations as the facilitating body
that will help them go back into the country. Provide a sense of order and have
the UN perhaps perform some interim role as they are organizing themselves and
gathering their strength and developing the capability they need to govern themselves.
Its not something that the United States or any other nation is going
to be able to dictate. I think its something that we have to help them
with, something that we have to help them get organized, support, and use international
bodies as has been used in the past in other situations, Cambodia, East Timor,
not that those are models. This one is rather unique. The UN has experience
in doing this kind of thing and Mr. Brahimi is quite experienced in this regard
QUESTION: On Chechnya, there have been a number of interesting statements, ambivalent
developments in the past few weeks. What do you expect you will be saying to
Igor Ivanov tomorrow evening about Chechnya?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think we will be encouraging them as we have in the past
to seek a political solution, to move aggressively toward a political solution
and to not think that it can be solved militarily. Once again to recognize that
even though we are anxious to work with them and we recognize that they have
to fight terrorist activities in Chechnya, they have to do it in a way that
reflects a solid consideration of human rights and accountability for past atrocities
that we know took place. Not every Chechen who is in a resistance mode is necessarily
a terrorist. We have to make some distinctions and judgments and ultimately
the only way it can be sorted out and brought to ground is with a political
QUESTION: You leave South Asia having wrapped up the framework for opposed help
on government. What happens next in specific terms? And, secondly, now can you
reflect a little bit on Iran and say that they will be part of the coalition
or help you and the fact that you know have all the countries around Afghanistan
playing a set role?
SECRETARY POWELL: What was the first question? You know, the military campaign
will continue, and we hope that all the pressure that is being brought to bear
on the Taliban will produce results as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Whats next for you to do?
SECRETARY POWELL: For me to do? We are pushing in on all fronts. We are working
on the military campaign. Im continuing to work with coalition members
to see if there are more things that they can do and to encourage them to remain
steadfast and they are doing so. I will be also working with the United Nations
with respect to the question asked earlier about how we create a grouping that
can come together. I will be spending time on the humanitarian issue because
winter is approaching. Ramadan is approaching. Also, thinking not just about
humanitarian relief but beyond that, the rebuilding of Afghanistan. Helping
these people to reconstruct a life for themselves. This isnt the United
States going in and nation-building with troops. This is helping the international
community helping the people of Afghanistan to create hopeful conditions within
the country so that they are not vulnerable to this kind of a threat again in
QUESTION: What about Iran?
SECRETARY POWELL: Iran has always been hostile toward the Taliban and as you
know we have been in touch with them through various channels and we are exchanging
some ideas and information. I think you saw an administration spokesman indicate
that they have even indicated to us that they would be willing to perform and
ready to perform search and rescue missions. I dont think that will become
necessary because I cant envision us needing it in that part of the theater
but that was an interesting statement on their part.
When you go from Iran and clockwise around Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,
Pakistan and come all the way around, they are surrounded with no friends in
that surrounding neighborhood as my Indian colleague liked to call it. I think
this has been putting incredible pressure on this regime. We are going after
their money. It will be hard to find it all but Im sure thats having
an effect already. They are being subjected to a military campaign and well
just keep squeezing.
QUESTION: Are there examples of what the UN has been able to do in the past?
SECRETARY POWELL: East Timor and Cambodia are examples of what the UN has done
in the past but I would not say that is a model that you would say, I would
use the Cambodian model or the East Timoran model in Afghanistan. I think it
is quite different. It shows, East Timor, Cambodia, or you can go to Bosnia
or Kosovo, you can look at all of the previous examples.
The UN has quite a great deal of experience in going in and helping with this
kind of a situation. Cambodia, they went into absolute chaos. They had a king.
I dont want to give you the impression that we are going to take the Cambodian
model because there was a king there and there is a king here, and therefore
thats the model. Im just saying there are examples of the UN having
successfully done this kind of thing in the past, and therefore they bring qualifications
to this kind of situation to do it again in the future. Im not suggesting
that any one of the countries I mentioned is a model for Afghanistan.
SECRETARY POWELL: I think there probably will be a role for peacekeepers of
some kind and that is part of our discussions.