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Colin Powell, Javier Solana Addresses Reporters at State Department

Aired April 4, 2003 - 14:50   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We take you to the State Department now, where Secretary Colin Powell has been meeting with the E.U. representative, Javier Solana.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... movement in Middle East peace and the status of the road map, and we're watching the work of Mr. Abu Masun (ph) as he prepares himself to be confirmed as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority.

And we also discussed trans-Atlantic relationships. We believe that yesterday's meetings in Brussels have helped to bridge some of the differences that exist. And I look forward to further such consultations and meetings.

So Javier, welcome again.


And Colin, you know how good is to be 25, you know, to realize that. It happened to me a couple of years ago.

It's always a pleasure to be here and to have the opportunity of talking with the secretary. We were today -- yesterday together. We have continued today. And as he has said, the topics we have talked about, it has been well enunciated by him.

I think the cooperation that was reinforced yesterday, in the long session that we had in Brussels, was very positive. And we've continued today talking about the Middle East and international (UNINTELLIGIBLE) relations.

Happy birthday, and thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can you give us an idea of your views of the interim administration, how quickly it might be set up, the proportion -- or, if you want to be proportional about it, insiders, outsiders?

POWELL: Yes. All of these questions are under discussion within the administration. We've had several discussions this morning, after I got back, Secretary Rumsfeld and myself with Dr. Rice, and also in the course of the morning with the president. We are anxious to move quickly now that the day of liberation is drawing near. I don't know when it will happen, but certainly we can conceive what's going to happen in the not-too-distant future, we hope.

And so we're hard at work on this issue. We want an interim authority that is representative of all the groups who have an interest in the future of Iraq.

And as I've said on many occasions, we wanted to include those who were in the external opposition who have worked so long and so hard and with such determination for the liberation of Iraq, but also individuals inside. And we are now putting together plans to structure that approach, and in due course, we'll make it known to everyone.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), what about the timing? Do you think that a provisional government should be appointed before the country actually falls, or there's a U.S. victory?

POWELL: Well, that is also one of the questions that we are examining now. And when we have finished our examination and are prepared to let everybody know what we're doing, we'll let you know what we're doing.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what are your thoughts on the Saddam Hussein's appearance today on television, both the speech he gave, as well as the video that was seen of him walking around?

POWELL: I just caught a glimpse of it. I haven't had a chance to study it, and I've heard no reports on whether or not it is actually him, or whether it's accurate. I just don't know.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), what is your guess?

POWELL: I've learned that it's wise to wait for experts to examine such things. I have no opinion on it yet, because I really haven't studied it, and I haven't heard from our experts as to whether it might or might not be him, and when it might or might not have been shot. I just don't know.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), what does that do psychologically? Does that help or hurt anything in our war? Is that some sort of...

POWELL: Well, we don't know what it is yet. And I really don't want to comment until we make a determination as to whether it was or was not him. Psychologically, it's not going to affect our efforts. Our troops know what they are there to do. They are there to liberate Iraq, and they will be successful in that mission.

And whether he is there at the end or not or found or not is almost irrelevant. We are almost totally in control of the country, and we'll be in complete control soon. And better days are ahead for the Iraqi people.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, and also Mr. Solana, how much progress did you make yesterday on coming to a unified view on the role of the U.N. in postwar Iraq? And also, Mr. Secretary, you had a meeting with your Russian counterpart yesterday. Did you get any clarification from him on the Russian role in this possible selling of military equipment to Baghdad?

POWELL: The purpose of our meetings yesterday was not to come to closure on the role of the U.N., but to exchange views. Ultimately, that judgment will be made at the U.N. Security Council. And, of course, the secretary general has to play a part in those deliberations, and he was not there yesterday. I spoke to him a little while ago and gave him a report of our deliberations.

And so we are at the beginning of a process of dialogue, pragmatic dialogue, to determine what the appropriate role of the U.N. should be. The U.N. will be a partner in all of this. Everybody understands that. There's no disagreement about that.

And as President Bush and Prime Minister Blair and Mr. Aznar said at the Azores summit, they expect the U.N. to play a major role as a partner in this effort.

And we'll work our way through the intricacies of the role to be played by the U.N. in the days ahead.

With respect to Foreign Minister Ivanov, we did have a good conversation yesterday. We talked about the issue you made reference to, with respect to equipment that might have been provided, and we have decided that it is best for our two intelligence services to finish their mutual analysis and discussion on this particular issue.

SOLANA: I agree with the words of Secretary Powell. It was a good meeting. Of course, it was not a meeting, as he have said, to resolve all the problems. But we move forward in the idea that we have to continue talking, discussing the subject, and taking a very pragmatic approach. I think it's as far as we can go today, and we are going to continue working on that direction. But the U.N. will have, as the secretary has said, a major role to play.

POWELL: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: Being sung "Happy Birthday" by the reporters there. The secretary's birthday evidently tomorrow or over the weekend. He's been meeting with the representative of the E.U., Javier Solana.

Just quickly, the headlines from his comments, he said at one point, "We are anxious to move quickly, establishing a new government in Iraq." He said, "The day of liberation is drawing -- it is close at hand." He said the U.S. coalition forces have, if not total control, they will soon have complete control of the country.

He also said whether Saddam Hussein is alive or not, it's irrelevant. He says U.S. coalition forces are moving. They are making progress. And his presence, Saddam Hussein's presence, won't make a difference one way or another.

And as you heard him say at the end, he does expect the United Nations to play a role, and he said that U.S. officials from President Bush on down still discussing the shape any of post-Saddam Hussein government in Iraq.

Well, that's all we have time for for this hour's coverage of CNN's...

I'm sorry, I'm told that Colin Powell is back at the microphone at the State Department. Let's listen.

POWELL: The bodies included that, and -- as an amendment to the supplemental of the House. And we'll wait and see how that works out in the Senate. We believe it would be better if there were not such conditions placed on the supplemental.

QUESTION: Do you have a plan soon to meet with Kofi Annan to discuss the U.N. role in reconstruction?

POWELL: He and I had a good discussion this afternoon already. I expect to talk to him again later this afternoon or over the weekend. I don't have a plan right now to meet with Secretary General Annan. I'll be traveling early next week with the president. But when I come back, I'm sure we'll continue our conversation.

I do have to get up. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Colin Powell answering a couple of more questions. Again, the bottom line, he said coalition forces are all but in total control. We will shortly have complete control of the country of Iraq.



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