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Powell Addresses Quartet in Jordan

Aired June 22, 2003 - 10:18   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta. We want to take you straight to Jordan, where the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is addressing the world quartet at the World Economic Forum. Let's listen in.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... a path through to the end of the bitter conflict, which has wrecked their hopes far, far too long.

It can be the region that President Bush described almost exactly one year ago now, "A region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace, security and dignity." The United States, working with our partners in the Middle East quartet, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations, developed a road map to achieve this vision. The road map offers a practical pathway for Israelis and Palestinians embedded in a continuing commitment to comprehensive peace and progress on all tracks.

We are interested in the Israeli-Palestinian track, but we are just as interested in finding a comprehensive solution that will include Syria and Lebanon.

The road map builds on a broad foundation, including U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, Madrid and the principle of land for peace. And it builds on the initiatives of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, as endorsed at the Beirut Arab Summit.

We waited for a new Palestinian leadership committed to peace. And on April 29, Palestinians gained that leadership with the confirmation of Prime Minister Abbas and his cabinet. The stage was set. True to his word, President Bush, in the name of the quartet, presented the road map to the parties, immediately, right away. We wanted to get on with it.

And then, just a little over two weeks ago, on the shores of the Red Sea, President Bush moved this vision an important step closer to reality. Putting the full weight of his office and his personal leadership behind this historic effort, President Bush challenged all parties to live up to their obligations for peace.

At Sharm el-Sheikh, Arab leaders stood with the president and committed themselves to support the road map with words and deeds. I'll never forget the strong statement that was made, a statement that I repeat over and over to audiences around the world to show the commitment of the Arab states. Quote, "The culture of extremism and violence in any form or shape, from whatever source or place, regardless of justification or motives, has to end."

So too was the pledge that they made to prevent support from reaching terrorist groups that continued to foment terror and violence. It was an important moment for the world. And we were deeply appreciative of the commitment made by the Arab states at Sharm el-Sheikh.

A day later at Aqaba, a moment we will never forget, a scene we will never forget. There we saw the prime ministers of Israel and the Palestinian Authority standing alongside King Abdullah and President Bush, all giving that consistent theme in their presentations that violence must end. And they committed themselves to real steps to achieve the promise of peace for their people.

This too will be very hard work. I returned to meet Prime Minister Sharon and Prime Minister Abbas two days ago to urge them to move forward. We spent our time on this occasion, not on esoteric subjects, not on rhetoric, but on practical details of implementation. How to stop terror and violence. How to transfer security responsibility to Gaza. How to restore dignity and bring tangible improvements to the daily lives of Palestinians.

At the president's direction, I will be returning often, as will my colleague, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the president's national security adviser. Our team is in place here. Ambassador Wolf leading our new monitoring group. Ambassador Burns, who was on the stage a few moments ago, will also be spending a lot of time in the region in order to help the two parties talk to one another, dialogue with one another, begin coordination with one another again on security matters, on access matters, on all the matters that have to be dealt with as the two sides move forward down the path laid out by the road map.

I was pleased also, two hours ago, to meet once again with my partners in the quartet and reaffirm our collective determination to implement the road map and to help the parties implement the road map. And to do everything we can do to isolate the violent extremists who threaten our path to peace.

Let me at this moment thank my quartet colleagues, Secretary General Annan, Foreign Minister Ivanov, Foreign Minister Papandreou, High Representative Solana and Commissioner Patten for their steadfast support. Over the past year, I have relied on them, relied on the quartet process to keep the international community unified behind this effort.

We have no illusion about how hard it is going to be. We can see it every day with some incident taking place on one side or the other. We have no illusion about how hard it will be to move forward in the presence of that kind of action. We had no illusions at Sharm el- Sheikh and Aqaba. But the other thing we knew was that we had no choice. Where else can we go? What else will we do? What choice do we have but to move forward now with this road map, with this total commitment of the international community, with all of these leaders standing together at Aqaba and saying "We are committed. We are obliged. We will move forward." So as these incidents come along, we will regret them. We will have to deal with them. But we must keep moving forward. The people of the region expect it, demand it, and we must meet their hopes, their dreams and their aspirations.

And I can assure today that the United States will be there for them. The United States will not shrink from the demands of this important effort that we are embarked upon.

WHITFIELD: You've been listening to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell address about 1,600 political and business leaders meeting in Jordan for the World Economic Forum. He says there that it will be difficult, it will be hard work to try to promote some peace in the Middle East, but he says it is achievable as long as you have other members of this Middle East quartet, including the U.S., the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.


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