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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Colin Powell Speaking Live in Beirut

Aired May 3, 2003 - 07:56   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Colin Powell is speaking in Beirut live. Let's listen in.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: The minister of Lebanese has a role to play in all of this and I look forward to working with you and your colleagues in the months ahead as we move forward together.

Thank you.

I don't think they need to translate that.

Yes?

(QUESTION IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

POWELL: Am I calling?

(QUESTION IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) regarding these charges? And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) international conference has any chance of success if Israel keeps hindering all peace initiatives?

POWELL: We are doing everything we can to bring about a peaceful solution in the region. We are mindful of all of the appropriate U.N. resolutions. We have been working with the Palestinians to help them transform their leadership and we've been working with the Israelis, as well.

The road map that has been presented by the quartet places obligations and responsibilities on all of the parties. We must see the end of terror and the end of violence. We will press the Israeli side to do everything that is possible to make it easier for people to move around the territories and for them to play their role as we move forward.

We will have a conference in due course when circumstances permit, but our commitment is firm, is unmistakable. We want to see a Palestinian state created and as soon as possible, and as soon as is possible. The president's vision was for three years from the time he gave his speech. But we've got to get going and I think we now have the moment where we can get going, with the delivery of the road map, with Mr. Abu Mazen in place as the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, with the commitment of the United States and the other members of the quartet and with the assistance of the countries in the region to help in stopping terrorist and violent activity and supporting such activity. That was part of the message that I provided to my colleague here today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Associated Press.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, in what, on what issues did President Assad indicate a willingness to cooperate and on what issues raised by President Assad where you receptive?

POWELL: The President and I went over all of the outstanding issues, whether they had to do with sealing the border between Iraq and Syria and keeping it sealed and turning over any individuals who might show up in Syria from Iraq, senior officials or officials who might have knowledge of weapons of mass destruction activity. We talked about weapons of mass destruction themselves. We talked about support to Hezbollah. We talked about a variety of other issues.

In every instance, the President said he wished to consider the point of view that I presented and we will be following up in various channels, diplomatic channels as well as direct conversations that I might hold with Syrian officials in the future as they have had a chance to reflect on these issues.

I made it clear to them that the United States was committed to a comprehensive solution in the region that would include Syria and Lebanon. It would the Golan Heights. We talked about humanitarian issues also, with respect to custody cases, as well as individuals who have been missing in action from various countries, a variety of humanitarian cases, as well.

It was a candid discussion. It was straightforward and I wanted to make it clear to the President, and I believe I did and I believe he understood, that there is a new strategic situation here. We want to cooperate with Syria in adapting to that new strategic situation and we will be watching very carefully and anxious to engage with Syria on various performance measures as we went forward.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I was wondering if you have handed President Lahoud (ph) a copy of the road map plan? And I was wondering, as well, if that road map plan -- I know that the road map plan has not have any mention of the Palestinian refugees and probably you must have heard from President Lahoud that this is a major concern for Lebanon.

So are there any plans to adjust to the Lebanese concerns and how are you going to deal with that problem?

POWELL: The road map will be presented to the president by our ambassador and that'll be taken care of. But I believe he has had a chance to see what's in it. But we will make a formal presentation from the ambassador.

That specific issue is not dealt with in the road map. The road map concentrates on the issue between the Palestinians and the Israelis, the current conflict in the occupied territories. We fully recognize that a comprehensive solution as we go forward -- there has to be another track in addition to the track that is laid out clearly in the road map. There has to be another track that deals with Syrian concerns and Lebanese concerns and that, of course, includes the Palestinian refugees who are in Lebanon.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

POWELL: There has to be a solution...

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

POWELL: That's part of -- the comprehensive approach must deal with the issue of the Palestinian refugees who are in Lebanon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) last question here (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, did Syria do anything to close down or discourage the radical groups in Syria? Did they close them down? Did they do anything in advance of your trip as a sign of good faith?

POWELL: They did some closures. I expect them to do more with respect to access and appearances of various officials of these organizations and we provided some other suggestions to the Syrians, which they are taking under advisement, and I expect to hear back from them in the future.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COOPER: You have been listening to Secretary of State Colin Powell, where in bleb, appearing with Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obedy (ph). Powell has gone to Beirut to meet with Lebanese officials, the president, the prime minister, as well as representatives from the parliament. They are going to be talking about a wide range of issues, this after he has just come from Damascus, Syria.

For some observations about what Colin Powell has just said, let's go to Chris Burns, White House correspondent, who is in Crawford, Texas -- Chris, you heard the speech. What jumped out at you?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, you know, very important that the issue of Iraq to the president. In fact, he is meeting today with the prime minister of Australia, John Howard. It is not very often when he has heads of state over here at his Crawford, Texas ranch. They will be discussing Iraq. Very, very important right now to talk about a stabilization force, trying to bring stability to what in very many parts of Iraq is a lawless Iraq.

This is a bit of payback for John Howard, who has committed troops to this effort. Some 2,000 troops were in the battle. However, the president will be perhaps asking for more troops, as well, for this stabilization force. They had beef tenderloin, okra and grits last night and then they will be having today more conversations and a press conference, a limited press conference to a small group of reporters later today. We'll get that to you, as well. The president talking with John Howard about how Iraq needs to be stabilized, needs to be rebuilt, a very important effort as Colin Powell also has been talking about.

The president will also be talking in the next few days about the economy. The president made an appearance yesterday in northern California, where he went to a factory, a factory building some of the armored vehicles that were used in the war effort. The president making the comments during that speech about the economy, but also, of course, about Iraq, saying that a lot needs to be done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Major combat operations are over, yet we have got commitments to keep in Iraq. Parts of that country are still dangerous and we will provide security. We'll establish order in the parts of Iraq that are dangerous. We will chase down the leaders of the old regime and they will be held accountable for the atrocious crimes they committed on the Iraqi people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNS: The president now, however, also looking ahead to the domestic situation. Unemployment just hit six percent here in the United States and that is a big preoccupation for the Bush administration looking ahead to elections next year. The president wants to fight that unemployment with his new tax cut bill, very much under fire on Capitol Hill, trying to push that through. Made some comments during that appearance yesterday.

He's also going to be talking with small business owners on Monday. In fact, Monday is the day that he was supposed to travel to Canada to meet with Jean Chretien, who opposed the war in Iraq. No direct word from either capital as to whether this is a snub, but this does appear to be a snub. At the same time, he is hosting John Howard here over the weekend, a country that was very, very loyal in this war effort -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Chris Burns, thanks very much, Crawford, Texas.

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