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Global War on Terror Is Top U.S. Priority, Powell Says

Global War on Terror Is Top U.S. Priority, Powell Says

U.S. Secretary of state outlines Bush's second term foreign policy priorities. Washington D.C., November 9, 2004. Source: State Department.

The global war against terrorism, strengthening alliances and resolving regional conflicts are foreign policy priorities of the Bush administration's second term, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Briefing reporters November 8 en route to Mexico City, Mexico, to attend the 21st meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission, Powell, in response to a question, outlined foreign policy priorities for the second Bush term.

"First and foremost, the Global War on Terror will remain a priority of the administration," said Powell.

This includes close cooperation with Pakistan to defeat the al-Qaida and Taliban elements that are working in the frontier areas of Pakistan, as well as continuing to fight those elements in Afghanistan that are trying to stop Afghanistan's progress toward democracy, Powell said.

"We will continue to consolidate the success that we have seen in Afghanistan as manifested in the presidential elections and get Afghanistan ready for the parliamentary elections next Spring," Powell said. He added that the United States will continue to support Afghanistan's reconstruction activities and efforts to resettle Afghan refugees who have returned to the country.

Calling Iraq a "major priority" for the second term, Powell said the United States is looking forward to the Iraqi elections in January 2005. Noting recent developments, he said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has agreed to increase the size of the U.N. presence in Iraq and that voter registration packages are being distributed.

"And, as you know, we have begun an operation in Fallujah today to take back Fallujah and to defeat this hornet's nest of insurgent activity and terrorist activity [in Iraq]," added Powell.

On the Arab-Israeli conflict, Powell said: "the United States stands by to work very actively to get the Road Map moving forward."

Powell said the second Bush administration will continue to work to strengthen U.S. alliances in Asia and Europe and enhance U.S. relations with India and Pakistan. Through having good relations with both India and Pakistan, the secretary explained, the United States aims to "serve a useful role as a friend" to both countries as they continue to reach out to each other and work on the difficult issues outstanding between them.

Powell said President Bush wants to have a "strong relationship with all of our European friends and allies and notwithstanding any disagreements we have had in the past."

Noting cooperation such as NATO support for training of Iraqi security personnel, France's commanding of multilateral forces in Afghanistan and in Kosovo, and the European Union's recent financial commitment for Iraq, Powell said he will be in Europe in the coming weeks to attend EU, NATO and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe meetings, as well as other bilateral meetings.

Powell also said the second Bush administration will continue to press in Africa to resolve regional conflicts, in Sudan, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cote d'Ivoire.

On Sudan, the United States is "doing everything we can" to expedite the arrival of the 5000-member African Union force into the Darfur region, said Powell, adding that he is concerned the force in not being introduced as rapidly as necessary. Powell said the U.S. is watching very carefully to make sure the Sudanese government does not "back off" or "start backsliding" on any of the openings they made to allow free movement of goods and humanitarian supplies into the Darfur region. "So yes, we are concerned. It's always a subject to be taken up again by the [U.N. Security] Council, but it's a very difficult issue," he said. "We will continue to press it."

"But there is a lot going on, and so much of it is positive and really is evidence of the president's National Security Strategy of reaching out, of partnerships, of open trade, of fighting disease, of fighting poverty, of increasing assistance to nations around the world," said Powell.

"Yes, I understand the importance of Iraq; I understand the overhang that that and the Middle East have on how we are viewed in the world and the impression that some people have of us," he said. "But, it's an impression that will change as we start showing our success such as the kind of success we showed in Afghanistan [recently]."

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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).