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Powell Confident About a New UN Resolution for Iraq

Powell Confident About a New UN Resolution for Iraq

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell granted an exclusive interview to Christian Malar of TV-3 France. Washington, DC, June 2, 2004 (11:30 a.m. EDT). Source: US Department of State, Washington D.C., June 3, 2004. (Excerpt Aired on France 3 TV).

Christian Malar: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for having me here at the Department of State again.

Secretary Powell: My pleasure.

Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV, interviews U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: Mr. Secretary, American soldiers are still targeted, killed every day in Iraq. The situation is still very chaotic, in spite of the shaping up of a new interim government, which will have to be accepted by 20 million Iraqis.

In such circumstances, in this chaos, do you think it's a mere utopia to think we can have a real transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis on June the 30th?

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Secretary Powell: We're going to have a transfer of sovereignty on June the 30th, and there's no reason not to. I think part of the security problem we have is that many Iraqis wonder who is in charge of their country. Is it the United States and the CPA, or is it going to be their own people? It's going to be their own people. It's going to be Iraqi leaders who assume sovereignty on the 1st of July.

And the clearest evidence of this is that Ambassador Bremer is going to get on a plane and leave, having done a great job, and there will be no CPA. And therefore, the government that we have known for the last year under Ambassador Bremer is disappearing. Well, who then is the government? The interim government of Iraq is the government, led by the individuals who appeared on television yesterday and said to the world, “We are prepared to assume the responsibility of being an interim government, and to be a caretaker government until we can have elections at the end of the year.”

Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV, interviews U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: Will this government, according to you, show how strong it is and independent?

Secretary Powell: Yes, it will be sovereign. It will have full sovereignty. And the UN resolution that we are working with our friends in New York now will make it clear that this government is sovereign. It has full sovereignty, and it is inviting the coalition military forces to remain there with the consent of this sovereign government because they are not yet ready and able to provide for their own security.

It is a dangerous place. Americans and others are being killed, Iraqis are being killed, by Iraqis, Iraqis who want to go back to the past. But we're not going back to the past. We're going into the future. And the future is a democratic Iraq that will rest on the principles that we all believe in of democracy and openness and respect for human rights, a diverse country that will use that diversity as a source of strength, not as a source of dissension.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: Do you have the feeling, Mr. Secretary, that on July the 1st American troops won't be perceived any longer as occupation forces, which was the case, incidentally, by the Iraqis?

Secretary Powell: I'm sure that Iraqis will still know that there are 138,000 American troops there. But they will now know that those American troops are there with the consent of their own leaders. And they understand perfectly well that those American troops are the basis for their stability and security right now. We hope that the new Iraqi government, under the prime ministership of Mr. Allawi, will be able to explain to the Iraqi people that you now have your own leaders; let's get together and get ready for elections, and then you will have elected leaders at the end of the year.

Now, there will still be people in Iraq left over from the old regime, terrorists who have come in to make trouble, who will do everything they can to not have peace, to keep the fight going. But the world needs to remember that while we regret that the fighting will continue, what are they fighting? They're fighting democracy. They're fighting freedom. They're fighting to enslave the Iraqi people again. And this is the time for all of us to come together, first and foremost in New York on this UN resolution, to say to these people and to the international community and to the Iraqi people that we are standing with you, we are standing for freedom, we are standing for the future, not the past.

Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV, interviews U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: When President Chirac says that the new UN resolution in Iraq is not coherent with the idea of sovereignty, aren't you afraid that the French Government, the French authorities, might be again a source of nuisance for your Administration at the UN?

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Secretary Powell: I don't think so. We have been in very close touch with our French colleagues. I've spoken to Minister Barnier several times. We have shared texts.

When one writes a UN resolution, there are always different points of view that have to be accommodated, different points of emphasis. That's what consultations are all about. And I am confident we will arrive at resolution language that will satisfy all members of the Security Council, and we will see.

Christian Malar: When? Do you have any idea?

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Secretary Powell: Well, I'm always reluctant to say what day it will happen; but I don't think it will be a long, protracted debate. This is good, healthy discussion within the Security Council. When you ask the members of the Security Council to vote on a resolution as important as this one is, then they all have to be satisfied that their concerns have been taken into account. The biggest concern I've had is: Does this resolution actually give this new Iraqi interim government sovereignty? And it does. Any language that people wish to add to make that clear, well, let's see, let's entertain it.

Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV, interviews U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: But what do you answer when President Chirac says this new interim government must control the U.S.-led multinational forces?

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Secretary Powell: Well, the new interim Iraqi government will clearly command its own troops. All of the Iraqi troops, police forces, civil defense forces, border police all belong to the new sovereign government. The sovereign government has asked the coalition military force to stay, with the consent of the sovereign government, and to continue to help with the security challenge.

We will work out arrangements -- and those arrangements are being worked out now -- between Mr. Allawi and his cabinet ministers and the coalition military authorities on the relationship that will exist between this sovereign government and with the coalition forces. It is not all that mysterious a thing to work out. We have had arrangements of this type for years and years. We've had them in Germany. We've had them in France. We've had them in Korea and many other places.

So let this be worked out between the sovereign government, if that's what President Chirac and everybody else wants to see -- a sovereign government -- let that sovereign government make its arrangement with the coalition military authorities. It's not a matter, it seems to me, for the UN to work out in a resolution; but let the sovereign government work it out with the coalition authority that is there at the consent of the sovereign government.

Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV, interviews U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: Do you worry about the destabilization of Saudi Arabia by the Muslim fundamentalist terrorist networks? Might it lead to the destabilization of the whole Middle East, lead to a problem controlling the world oil market, and lead also to a world economic crisis?

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Secretary Powell: Well, I think Saudi Arabia is dealing with the terrorist threat. I don't think it's going to lead to the destabilization of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia now knows that it has a major terrorist challenge on its hands and it's going to have to defeat these terrorists. In recent months, the Saudis have done a lot with respect to building up their forces, exchanging intelligence information, and they have been aggressively attacking these terrorists. The terrorists are responding by attacking, as you've seen over the last couple of days. But I don't worry right now about Saudi Arabia being destabilized. I think they have the will and the forces and the ability to deal with this terrorist threat.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: And what about the prices of oil? Is this also --

Secretary Powell: The price of oil always reflects the supply in the market, the demand in the market, and the uncertainty in the marketplace. Whenever there is some uncertainty, then prices tend to rise. And when that uncertainty is dealt with, prices drop. And so I learned long ago never to predict what might happen in the oil market.

Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV, interviews U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: Mr. Secretary, you are a great man of peace. Aren't you mad at Sharon's attitude and Arafat's, not working for peace? Don't you think it's the root of all evils in the Middle East, and of the root of terrorism also?

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Secretary Powell: We are anxious to see peace in the Middle East. We are committed to creating a Palestinian state that will have reformed, responsible leadership, a state that will be contiguous, coherent, that lives in peace with the state of Israel. We know that this has to be accomplished by the two sides talking to one another, negotiating with each other, especially on those final status issues. The United States cannot impose a solution. Neither can anyone else. We can work for a solution, and that's what we're trying to do now.

Prime Minister Sharon has put forward an interesting plan that would remove settlements, all 21 settlements from Gaza, and begin the removal of settlements from the West Bank, beginning with four settlements. I think this is a good start, and I hope that the Palestinians will realize the opportunity that exists here and begin to prepare themselves, their political leadership and their security forces to take responsibility for Gaza.

Both sides have obligations under the roadmap. The roadmap is intact. The Quartet is working with both sides to get this process going again. I still think that there is a chance for a solution that will be satisfactory to both parties.

Christian Malar: But without Arafat?

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Secretary Powell: Arafat, frankly, has been a problem. He has been a hindrance. He has not taken advantage of the opportunities presented to him. We've made it clear. That's why I said earlier we need reformed Palestinian leadership. But it is up to the Palestinian people to attribute to Mr. Arafat whatever standing he has.

But he has not been a partner for peace. He has disappointed this Administration. He has disappointed the Administration before us, President Clinton's Administration. And that's why we want to see an empowered Prime Minister of the Palestinian people, in this case Mr. Abu Alaa, who has control of the security forces. Israel needs a responsible partner for peace. We need a responsible partner for peace. And we believe that should be the Prime Minister, with control of the resources of the Palestinian Authority, but especially the security resources of the Palestinian Authority.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: Mr. Secretary, you are going to attend the ceremonies of the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day. How does the war hero you are from Vietnam feel about this 60th Anniversary of the D-Day, and what message would you be tempted to convey for these specific circumstances?

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Secretary Powell: I think it'll be a great day for all of us to be assembled at Normandy and to try to imagine what it was like 60 years ago when those brave young soldiers came ashore. They came ashore and many of them gave their life, gave their life to liberate Europe, to liberate France and Belgium and the other countries that had been overrun by the Nazis.

It was a marvelous time in history when we saw the forces of freedom come together to give freedom back to nations that had lost their freedom. It showed what free people can do when they are united.

I look forward to looking again over those battlefields and thinking on the sacrifice those brave soldiers made.

It was also a time, from then for the next 50 years, where the United States and France especially were great allies in the Cold War, once again friends and allies, which has really been the pattern for most of our 220-odd years of history. We will be reminded in Normandy of all the things that pull us together as allies. Disagreements will come along. There will be problems from time to time. But the values that cause us to be strong friends and allies -- a belief in freedom, a belief in human rights, a belief in the dignity of the individual, a belief in democracy -- these ties are so strong that they will take us through any disappointment that comes along from time to time.

And there at Normandy, when you see the leaders assembled, especially President Chirac and President Bush, I hope that all of my French friends, and certainly all of my American fellow citizens, will remember what it is that brings us together.

Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV, interviews U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Christian Malar: I know that during his speech in Normandy at Colleville, the famous U.S. cemetery, where we have all these soldiers who gave their lives, President Bush wants to compare the fight for freedom 60 years ago against the Nazis and the fight for freedom in Iraq. Do you think it's comparable? Can we --

U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell answers to Christian Malar, Editor in Chief from France 3 TV. Washington D.C. June 2, 2004. Department of State Photo © Courtesy Christian Malar.

Secretary Powell: I think we can compare the fight against the Nazis and the fight against Communism with the fight that we are now all engaged in against terrorism. Iraq is one part of that battlefield, but there are other parts of the battlefield. What happened in Saudi Arabia in recent days when people are murdered in their homes. What happened in Madrid. What happened in Istanbul. What happened in Bali. All around the world. This is a new threat that we face, and we have to approach it in the same way, with all of us working together, a great alliance of people who believe in peace and freedom and the democratic process, to say to terrorists, "You will not succeed. We will fight you." It may cost us lives. It may cause disappointments between allies from time to time. But we are unified in this fight against terrorism until we defeat it. The civilized world demands that this new ideology of terrorism be defeated.

Christian Malar: Mr. Secretary, once more, thank you very much. I wish you full success. All the best to you.

Secretary Powell: Thank you very much.

Christian Malar: I'll probably see you in Paris, in Normandy on Sunday.

Secretary Powell: I look forward to it. Thank you.

Christian Malar: Thank you very much.

2004/621
[End]


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

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