to Syria– Talks on Iraq and the ‘Road Map’
a three-day trip to Europe and the Middle East on Thursday last
week, in which he visited Coalition countries regarding Iraq and
stopped in Damascus and Beirut.
U.S. backed ‘road map’ is the political path to peace. Still,
Islamic extremists call for the destruction of Israel despite
political talks. As depicted here, a Palestinian boy walks
among terrorists from the Al Aqsa brigade of Yasser Arafat’s
Fatah movement carrying rocket propelled grenades in Gaza.
Saturday, a British journalist, James Miller, was killed
in the area. Witnesses give different accounts, with the
PLO placing blame on the Israelis. At least one other reporter
in the area saw Palestinian terrorists firing at Israeli
troops from a crowd of civilians including children. Israelis
were fired upon and returned fire in defense. Reportedly
there is an investigation into James Miller’s death, with
one witness saying that the gun fire on Miller came from
the Palestinian side.
by Hatem Moussa / AP
meetings in Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Powell told the press
in Damascus that he was there to address terrorist organizations
in Syria that are a threat to Israel and the world. He wants Syria
to end support to organizations "that are headquartered in
Syria that have rejectionist agendas." And he said that also
at issue are "weapons of mass destruction development, sealing
of borders with Iraq and a number of issues that are well known."
reporters asked about the ‘road map.’ Powell said "both sides
have to reach out and begin dialogue with one another on security
issues, on economic issues, on political issues, ultimately. It
all has to begin, however, with the cessation of violence and
the ending of acts of terror."
On ABC’s "This
Week", George Stephanopoulus interviewed Powell about his
3 hour meeting in Syria with President Assad. He asked Powell
about the trustworthiness of the Syrian leadership’s word: "Syria
has double-crossed you in the past. A couple of years ago, President
Assad promised to stop the flow of oil, Iraqi oil, through the
Syrian pipeline, and then the flow continued. How can you be sure
that President Assad will keep his word this time?"
"I don’t — it’s not a matter of me being sure. It’s a matter
of him [President Assad] performing. I reminded him at our meeting
yesterday of his promise two years ago that was not kept, and
that we would be measuring performance this time and not assurances."
Tirana on Friday (2 May), joining the foreign ministers of Albania,
Croatia, and Macedonia in signing the US-Adriatic Partnership
Charter. "This charter will serve as a roadmap to them on
their path to Euro-Atlantic integration," Powell said. "Every
European democracy that seeks NATO membership and is ready to
share NATO responsibility should be welcomed into the Alliance,"
Secretary of State Colin Powell, left, adjusts his headphone
beside Spain’s Foreign Minister Ana Palacio during a press
conference in the La Quinta palace just outside Madrid,
Spain Thursday, May 1, 2003 where the two earlier held talks.
Powell is on a one day visit to Madrid.
Doyle / AP
the first of Powell’s meetings on the road to Damascaus; on Thursday
he had a brief meeting with Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and
spent time with his counterpart, Spain’s Foreign Minister Ana
Palacio, to discuss the EU’s role in rebuilding Iraq and the much
talked about ”road map’ to peace–a plan that Israel says must
be based on performance in terms of PLO stopping terrorist attacks,
rather than a ‘road map’ that is based on dates.
might do to prevent a peaceful process to the planned ‘road map’
is of great concern. Ana Palacio told reporters after meeting
with Syrian’s leaders that she saw Syria’s stance on Middle East
peacemaking changing and hoped the country would support the ‘road
map’ plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
been fighting terrorism for years in the Basque region and has
made successful arrests of al-Qaeda operatives in the Barcelona
region of the country. Almost inexplicably Spain and Britain (UN
Security Council members and members of the EU) have been under
intense pressure from members of their parliament and loud factions
in the populace to take more action in forming a Palestinian state.
Both countries have a significant Islamic population and they
also have key positions in the media.
of State Powell was asked during an interview for Spanish television
about the Israeli-Palestinian road map and did he think that the
proposed road map would be different from others. Powell called
Arafat "a failed leader" and said that "there is
a significant difference now, and that is that the Palestinian
Authority has begun to transform itself. A new Finance Minister
came in some months ago-has grabbed hold of Palestinian finances,
and we now have confidence that their finances are being dealt
with in a transparent, uncorrupt way." Reportedly millions
of dollars of US aid to Arafat for the Palestinian people was
put in secret bank accounts in Egypt and for other uses, but Arafat
did not use the money for the Palestinian people and used it for
billionaire by the name of Monib al-Masri was rejected by Arafat
and his Fatah party for Abu Mazen to be the new Palestinian Prime
Minister. Abu Mazen, also known as Mahmoud Abbas, was the PLO
deputy chief, and according to reports Mazen financed the massacre
of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich in 1972. Despite his ties
to terror, Mazen was welcomed in 1993 after Oslo to the White
House with Arafat.
in 2003 is being touted as a moderate. However, as Powell was
in Spain talking about the ‘political process’ having a future
now in Iraq, the first day Mazen took office there was another
Palestinian terrorist attack against innocent people, this time
at a night club in Tel Aviv where the homicide bomber, wearing
explosives, killed 3 and seriously wounded over 50 tourists and
in a statement released to the press on May 4th by the PLO, they
want the immediate implementation of the ‘road map’ based on the
‘time schedule and international control,’ and they are demanding
that Jerusalem be their capital. Israeli officials stated Sunday,
the ‘road map’ should be based on ‘performance’ by the PLO in
stopping all terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens and tourists
visiting the State of Israel as a condition for the advancement
of the ‘road map’ plan.
ABC on Sunday "the violence and the actions of those committed
through the Intifada have not produced a Palestinian state, peace
for the Palestinian people or any movement toward their goals."
"So it’s time to end that and move on down this roadmap and
with performance on the part of both sides, I think we can get
to terror in Syria and Iraq have been a constant force in preventing
security and peace for Israel. Palestinian terrorist, Abu Abbas
was found living in Iraq, and on April 14, Abu Abbas was captured.
carry pictures of terrorist Abdul Abbas in protest of his
arrest in Iraq, Saturday May 3, 2003.
in southern Baghdad. "Abbas was described as the secretary
general of the Palestine Liberation Front," said Army Brig.
Gen. Vincent Brooks. "Abu Abbas is a terrorist. He was a
terrorist and he remains a terrorist, and he will be viewed as
also known as Mohammad Abbas, planned the 1985 hijacking of the
Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro in the eastern Mediterranean
Sea and brutally murdered a wheelchair-bound American citizen,
Abu Abbas’ role in terrorism and his links to other terrorist
organizations are clear. "Perhaps what’s more important:
He was found in Baghdad," he said. "We’ve said for a
long time that Baghdad and Iraq, and the regime that no longer
exists, have harbored terrorists, have provided a safe haven for
terrorists and in some cases have facilitated the operations of
progress against terror being made in the dismantling of Saddam’s
terrorist regime in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Powell thanked
PM Jose Maria Aznar and Foreign Minister Ana Palacio for "the
strong support that Spain has provided to the coalition that liberated
Iraq" "..the people are free.. we have gotten rid of
a regime that was terrorizing its own people, that was developing
Weapons of Mass Destruction" said Powell.
victims are being exhumed and their remains returned to their
families. In the south, the terror Hussein inflicted upon the
Shia population is coming to light. "This was a terrible
regime," Powell said. "This was a regime that was deserving
of the justice that has been meted out."
said, Spain and many other countries are offering valuable support
as "we all come together, not to fight any longer, but to
heal, to rebuild a nation, to help people who are in need –
in need not as a result of this conflict, but in need as a result
of 20-plus years of dictatorship."
noted that in Iraq coalition forces removed a dictator. "And
with each passing day we can see what that dictatorship had done
to the Iraqi people and to the infrastructure of the Iraqi nation,"
Ana Palacio noted Spain has already appointed a "high-level
commissioner" to coordinate reconstruction efforts and is
sending "four high-level civil servants" to Iraq to
integrate different areas of support.
Interview With Spanish Television, TVE
Colin L. Powell
May 1, 2003
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary of State Powell, in your tour of different
capitals, why Madrid? What is the frame of your conversations
with Mr. Aznar and Ms. Palacio?
POWELL: Well, I was anxious to visit Madrid to express my appreciation
directly to President Aznar and to Minister Palacio for the strong
support that Spain has provided to the coalition that liberated
Iraq. And frankly, it’s to bring a message to the Spanish
people that they should be very proud of the stand that their
government has taken. I know there was a great deal of concern
and there was a great deal of popular opposition, but look what
we’ve achieved: their dictator is gone, the people are free,
people are now being fed, humanitarian supplies are flowing into
the country, the electrical system is being fixed, and the Iraqi
people are already becoming part of the process, the political
process to determine how they will be governed in the future.
So we have given a hopeful future for the people of Iraq as a
result of the coalition effort, and we have gotten rid of a regime
that was terrorizing its own people, that was developing Weapons
of Mass Destruction, and I wanted to express my appreciation to
President Aznar. Of course, President Aznar is coming to Washington
next week to see his good friend President George Bush, and it
was an opportunity to review our bilateral agenda before then.
In the future, what kind of cooperation do you expect from Spain
in Iraq? Do you expect humanitarian, economic aid?
POWELL: Yes, from my discussions with Foreign Minister Palacio,
it’s clear that Spain wants to play an active role in the
future of Iraq. And we talked about potential military contributions
in peacekeeping efforts, and we talked about humanitarian support,
financial support, for the coalition’s efforts to help the
Iraqi people. And of course, Spain is a member of the Security
Council, a very important member of the Security Council, so it
was an opportunity for us also to discuss the way forward in the
Security Council to help the people of Iraq.
What do you see as the reason there are people refusing, this
past week in Fallujah, for instance, cooperation with the American
soldiers? Do you think the population will escalate this kind
POWELL. I don’t know if it will escalate, and frankly, most
of the country elsewhere is pretty stable. There are instances
here and there. In Fallujah, we’ve had three days of demonstrations,
and we need to make sure that we have enough presence there to
control the situation, and our commanders are now working to find
out the sources of the grievances that people have, and hopefully
the situation will calm down in the near future. One should not
be surprised that, after an operation such as we’ve just
had, Operation Iraqi Freedom, there will be a period of continuing
hostilities, not like having a war, but there will still be a
lack of security in certain places. And people for the first time
are free to demonstrate, and sometimes demonstrations get out
of control. We’ll continue to convey to the Iraqi people
that we are there to help them—we are not there to occupy
the country. We will only stay long enough to make sure that they
have in place a representative form of government, and that the
situation is stable, and then let the Iraqi people be in charge
of their own future, their own destiny.
Talking about the future of Iraq—will it be possible to
build a democratic system—they’ve never had a democratic
system. They have lived under British rule, under a monarchy,
and under Saddam. Will it be hard to build one?
POWELL: It will be a challenging, but it is now possible. If you
look at what has been going on in the Northern part of Iraq, where
the Kurds have been for the last 10 years free of rule from Saddam
Hussein, they have put in place a system of government that is
more representative, certainly, than the rest of Iraq. So there
is no reason that the Iraqi people can’t have a democracy
of the kind that you and I would recognize, not identical to Spanish
democracy or American democracy, but there is nothing inconsistent
between being a Muslim country, and also a democracy, a representative
form of government—even though it’s a new experience
for them. It’s a new experience for many countries in the
world, I mean you look at the countries behind the Iron Curtain
that are now free and they have put together democracies after
decades of being pressured by dictators, in Moscow and in their
own capitals. So we should not immediately assume the Iraqi people
have never had it before, therefore they don’t know how
to do it now. We’ll help them, and we’re encouraged.
The first two meetings that we have held with political leaders,
they’ve come, they’ve sat, they’ve argued, they’ve
debated with each other, they have agreed, they’ve disagreed,
they’ve come out with a statement of principles—this
is democracy by definition.
You are going to be in the Middle East later this month. Do you
think it is possible to agree with these proposals, with the road
map? Is it the same old process with a new name?
POWELL: There is a significant difference now, and that is that
the Palestinian Authority has begun to transform itself. A new
Finance Minister came in some months ago-has grabbed hold of Palestinian
finances, and we now have confidence that their finances are being
dealt with in a transparent, uncorrupt way. That was an encouraging
element of transformation. And now we have a new Prime Minister,
Mr. Abu Mazen, and he has independent authority, not just authority
from Arafat—he has been empowered by the Palestinian legislature.
And he has already come out, immediately, the first day, condemned
violence, and said we must stop this, we must end the terror.
Mr. Arafat, in our judgment, is a failed leader. He led the Palestinian
people for all those years, but didn’t lead them. He did
not get them a state, he did not get them peace, he just led them
from one intifada to the next. The United States felt strongly,
and Pres. Bush gave a speech last June, that said we must help
transform the leadership of the Palestinian authority. We are
now seeing that transformed leadership come forward. Mr. Fayyad,
the Finance Minister, and now with the new Prime Minister, and
Muhammad Dahlan , as Minister of State for Security Issues. And
we hope that this puts this new face on the Palestinian Authority—the
Israeli side will find a partner for peace and they can begin
working with each other. But it’s a bit much to expect that
the road map goes down one day, and the next day everything is
fine—there are no more bombings, there are no more actions
on the part of the Israelis. Remember, there are people, there
are groups in the Palestinian Authority who don’t want to
see progress, they don’t want to see a road map working.
So as soon as progress starts they will do everything they can
to stop it. We must not let them stop it, we must not let them
lose this last chance that the Palestinian people have for statehood.
Is it possible to expect an official investigation from Washington
on the case of the Spanish cameraman Jose Couso?
POWELL: Well, we are continuing to look into it. Commander General
Franks has launched an inquiry to find out what else we can find
out about it, what more information might be available. I don’t
know if we’ll learn any more, other than that it was a tragic
incident, an accident of war. We knew that hotel was full of journalists
and others, and that’s why we’ve never targeted it.
It was never on our target list to be struck by aircraft. But
what happened on that day was, it wasn’t being attacked
by aircraft, there was a battle on the ground taking place around
the hotel, and our troops were being fired at. And they have to
protect themselves, they have to defend themselves, and more than
that, they have to go after the enemy that’s shooting at
them. It was a battle zone, and unfortunately in the course of
that battle, our troops took actions which resulted in the death
of several people, including this gentleman, and I extend my condolences
once again to his family, and extended my condolences to Minister
Palacio. But it truly was an accident that happened in the course
of war. Thirteen journalists were killed in the course of this
conflict. Not one did we want to see killed or was targeted. Some
were killed by Iraqi action, some were killed as a result of friendly
fire, all regrettably. We tried to warn everybody who was in the
theatre, that it is dangerous to be in the middle of a battleground,
and I very much regret the loss of this life.
Mr. Secretary of State, thank you very much for this time.
POWELL: Thank you.