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Special Event

Secretary of State Colin Powell Delivers Remarks at NATO Headquarters

Aired February 27, 2001 - 7:01 a.m. ET

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

COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State Colin Powell is making a big deal on Iraq sanctions during his overseas trip. And right now he is in Brussels at NATO headquarters making remarks. Let's listen in live.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

COLIN POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: ... we will come out together. And in the process of doing so, make sure that we have the right mixture and balance of forces at all times.

This alliance has succeeded in maintaining strategic stability through many difficult and trying decades. We have done so because we have worked together and worked through problems together. And as we look at future threats, we work for stability through offensive reductions in our nuclear force posture, we look at nonproliferation efforts as part of our strategic framework, we look at diplomatic efforts, and we look at missile defense.

We believe it is our responsibility to create a missile defense that protects the United States, our allies and friends all against the threat of missile proliferation that could deliver weapons of mass destruction to any of our countries. We should use all available instruments to deter and defend against that threat.

We are committed to close allied consultations to address these issues together prior to deciding on specific technologies or architecture. And I told my colleagues this morning that we will be consulting with them as we conduct our own review in going forward.

We will also consult with other governments, including, of course, Russia and China.

NATO enlargement is a key part of the process of uniting all of Europe. A decision to invite in qualified new members is among the most serious the alliance could make. It threatens no one, the enlargement of NATO, and contributes concretely to stability in Europe.

At the same time, we will work to strengthen NATO's other partnerships. We hope Russia will become a more active participant in alliance activities and objectives. We welcome a European security and defense policy that strengthens both the alliance and the European Union, just as President Bush is committed, after a thorough review of our national goals and means, to seeking new resources for America's security.

So we hope, too, that as we move forward with ESDI, the nations will seek new capabilities to add to the overall capability of NATO and the EU, and they will do it, and especially the planning for the use of ESDI forces, within the context of NATO planning activities. The United States supports ESDI, as President Bush indicated last week in his press conference with Prime Minister Blair. We also welcome all steps to improve these capabilities, including the European Union's headline goal.

Ladies and gentlemen, no other institution has done as much to keep the peace and been so important for our collective security as NATO. I began my duties as a friend of NATO many, many years ago as a young lieutenant, and now I return as secretary of state, representing my nation to the NATO councils. And I do it with profound respect for the achievements of the alliance and with a commitment to contribute to its success in the future.

Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. OK, wait for the microphones to get to you, please.

MCEDWARDS: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell speaking to NATO headquarters in Brussels, saying that the U.S. supports the Strategic Defense Initiative. Also talked about strengthening the NATO alliance and the European Union. We're going to stay with this just for a minute and listen as the secretary of state is taking some questions. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

QUESTION: To whom is it going to fall to deal with those extremists? Is it going to be NATO troops or is it going to be the forces of the Yugoslav authorities themselves?

And to you, secretary of state, one of the key problems for NATO in the border zone and in policing this area has been the unwillingness of the troops of many NATO countries to really get to grips to -- out in the field with the infiltrating Albanians and so on. Often we have heard that American forces have been somewhat restricted in their roles as well.

Are you willing to say that, if it does indeed come to a requirement for a show of force by NATO, that American troops will be more willing to take an active role rather than just policing the roads and so on?

LORD GEORGE ROBERTSON, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: Well, can I say first that the responsibility for not using the ground safety zone for violence rests with the armed extremist groups who are using it at the moment. And the call, therefore, is for them to stop using that, to stop using violence in that area. And that is a common message that comes from every direction.

MCEDWARDS: You are listening to Lord George Robertson, the NATO secretary-general, addressing some questions there where U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is speaking as well. And we will continue to monitor this news conference and bring you more as we get it.

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