Skip to main content /TRANSCRIPTS



Colin Powell, Marwan Al-Muasher Address Media

Aired April 11, 2002 - 14:20   ET



MARWAN AL-MUASHER, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: ... something that can be implemented along the way. Something that, as I said, would go far beyond pacifying the security situation, and hopefully address the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all. We know how important the secretary's mission is. We want to help ensure its success.

And his majesty expressed the view that Jordan stands ready and is very committed to work with the United States and with all the parties, to ensure the success of this mission and to ensure a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mr. Secretary.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. You've given a comprehensive overview of the discussions that I had earlier this evening with his majesty and members of his cabinet.

I might add one word, that we also discussed the humanitarian needs that exist in the territories. And when this crisis comes to an end or is abated, there will be a need for this humanitarian effort and I am pleased that Jordan stands ready to provide that kind of assistance, as does the United States. And there is much work that will need to be done.

I very much value the advice and counsel that I received from my colleague. This is the second time we've met in the last 10 days. And I always value the advice I receive from His Majesty.

I leave now and go on to Jerusalem, where I'm looking forward to conversations with Prime Minister Sharon in the morning.

And then on Saturday, I look forward to conversations with Chairman Arafat.

I go committed to carry forward the president's vision as expressed in his April 4 speech, the vision that was expressed by my colleagues in Madrid yesterday, the U.N., the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States. And we look forward not only to find a way that will bring the violence down, end the incursion that is currently under way, which the president has asked for the Israelis to bring to a conclusion, and get a cease-fire in place if that is possible, but also, as the minister said, move aggressively with respect to political action, move aggressively with respect to getting a political track started.

So that while security is restored, while confidence is being built up, as provided for in Tenet and Mitchell, there is a political process in Mitchell which we believe has to be accelerated and expanded upon in order to show the Palestinian people that there is hope out there; hope for them to have their own state, living side by side in peace with Israel.

I very much appreciated the vision put forward at the Arab League summit not too long ago. It is a powerful vision, speaking of these two states, a vision that all 22 Arab nations have solidified behind. And I think there is much to work with there. And I appreciate the efforts of the Jordanian government to bring about that vision.

So once again, Mr. Minister, thank you for your advice and counsel and, of course, for your hospitality.


QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you believe that Sharon's rejection of George Bush's call for a cease-fire and pulling out from the West Bank as an affront to the U.S., the superpower? How do you see that?

POWELL: I don't see it as an affront. The president has made his desires very clear to Mr. Sharon. In my conversations with Mr. Sharon this morning, he was pointing out some of the withdrawals that are taking place in addition to some earlier. It's perhaps not as fast as some might like.

And I look forward to the opportunity to discuss the schedule with Mr. Sharon in the morning and to hear what his plans are. And we're looking forward to a very a long conversation on this subject in the morning.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary? (OFF-MIKE) the Israelis indicated that they intend to stay on a (OFF-MIKE) basis. After two weeks of defiance, do you have anything in your pocket to pressure the Israelis to comply with U.N. resolutions of international requests? And is the United States prepared to use it?

And to Mr. Muasher, the king mentioned a mechanism that Jordan and Egypt might be able to discuss with the United States to facilitate the American mission. What specifically was he talking about?

POWELL: What I'm planning to do is to have very extensive conversations with Prime Minister Sharon in the morning. And if there are things in my pocket or not things in my pocket, I think I'd better discuss that with Prime Minister Sharon.

And it'll be a straightforward discussion. We know each other well. We speak to each other frequently. We speak to each other directly. And you'll hear the results of those conversations in due course.

AL-MUASHER: I think we are talking both about the endgame that is clear and that will clearly define the overall parameters of a solution. We are also talking about a roadmap to take us toward that endgame, so that we truly present a credible alternative to the violence that is going on today.

And this is still work in progress. We stand ready to work with Egypt and the United States to translate these ideas into concrete steps that might be taken in the future in order to affect such an outcome.

POWELL: Let me say that I welcome what the minister just said. And part of the reason for my swing through the area, speaking with the Egyptians, the Moroccans, the Saudis and now the Jordanians, was to generate that kind of interest and energy and new ideas that would further our efforts.

QUESTION: Sharon made it very clear that he is not going to stop the recent attack until he concludes his mission. Do you have U.S. political will to make Sharon to stop such (UNINTELLIGIBLE) aggression right now against the civilians and daily killing of the innocent Palestinians?

POWELL: I think the president has made his position clear: He wants the incursion stopped. He has noted some progress, but he wants to see more progress. And this is what I'll be discussing with Prime Minister Sharon in the morning.

QUESTION: A question for Mr. Minister: Secretary Powell several times, over the last week, has said that if a cease-fire is in place and this political track begins, he would expect Arab governments, including Jordan, to call for an end to the violence, he said, on the Arab street.

Given the anger that your country confronts, do you see that politically possible for Jordan?

AL-MUASHER: I think everybody has to do its part, and the way to do this is for us jointly to come up with, again, the sort of plan that I talked about, a detailed and timeline plan that would give people hope that, indeed, there is an end to this and there is a credible alternative to the path that some are advocating today.

Only if we can do that, we feel, will we have a reasonable chance of getting out of the present situation and engage in a political process that would end in a reasonable timeframe. And I think this is the kind of effort that we all agree on and the kind of effort that we intend to engage in in the future.

QUESTION: But would you call for an end to the violence?

AL-MUASHER: Within the context of an agreed plan, a detailed -- absolutely. Everybody has to do its part.

POWELL: Thank you. QUESTION: Why have you stopped using the word "immediate" or "now," when you're calling for Israeli...

POWELL: The president said now, the president said immediate.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Trying to listen to the very end of that comment as Colin Powell walked out the room. Andrea Koppel of CNN directing that question to the secretary of state, why he is not using the word "immediately" anymore. In a couple public appearances throughout the day today, it has been thought that the White House yesterday, told directly by Ariel Sharon, in essence, to back off or back away the pressure. Publicly to tell Israel to stop its current military activity.

Colin Powell in that briefing there did not use the word withdraw "immediately." He only said that the president right now hopes that the incursions stop, and that the withdrawals continue. As Colin Powell makes his way across the tarmac at Amman's airport, he will climb onboard that plane, make about a 25-minute flight to Tel Aviv.

Later tonight he will be here in Jerusalem. But what's interesting to note about Colin Powell's statement right there is that the U.S., he says, hopes the withdrawals do continue on the Israeli side. Now, about 24 hours ago the Israeli army has said here that about two dozen towns, about 24 towns, withdrawals had begun.

But as they said that, there were two other towns -- one near Ramallah, university town, another one near Hebron. Apparently two fresh incursions did commence. We're told there's not much military activity taking place in those two towns.

Nonetheless, though, it seems to be at least a mixed signal right now, in terms of military strategy, on behalf of the Israelis. Yesterday Ariel Sharon, on a visit to soldiers in Jenin, said that the current goals of the operation have not been met. They have not been satisfied. And therefore, the military operation will continue until those goals are met.

Colin Powell will be here and it's going to be a rather interesting picture, to have the secretary of state on the ground in Jerusalem, in talks and discussions with Ariel Sharon, the prime minister of Israel, while that military activity does continue.

President Bush has made no bones about it. Over the past week he has said numerous times that he wants the Israeli military to get out. As Colin Powell leaves the frame, from Amman again to Tel Aviv at Ben Gurion international airport, he should arrive sometime right about 10:00 local time. That's a bit more than 30 minutes from now.

And then later tonight to Jerusalem. You heard him mention his meeting with Ariel Sharon, tomorrow in Jerusalem. That meeting right now on the schedule for 3 hours in length. And Colin Powell -- they have a history. They talk quite often, he says. And indeed they'll be talking once again tomorrow. On Saturday, Yasser Arafat at his compound in Ramallah.




Back to the top