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Colin Powell and Kofi Annan Brief the Press

Aired November 28, 2001 - 15:32   ET


DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Let's take you and listen to Secretary of State Colin Powell. He is with Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's been my pleasure to receive once again Secretary General Kofi Annan, who has been here the course of the day to meet with President Bush, to receive a number of awards in the course of the day, befitting the contributions that he has made to peace and humankind. And we're especially pleased to have him in Washington just about on the eve of his departure for Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

And once again, Mr. Secretary General, congratulations.

We've had a chance to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and to talk about not just the military campaign, but the humanitarian effort that we are all committed to, the reconstruction effort that we are all committed to, and to review the progress of the discussions in Bonn with respect to the creation of a provisional government. Those talks seem to be going reasonably well in their second day.

We also talked about other areas of interest, especially the Middle East, and the usual range of issues that the secretary general and I speak of.

So I'd like to invite him to say a word or two, and then we'll take a question or two before the secretary general has to leave to be up on Capitol Hill by 4 o'clock.

So, Mr. Secretary General, Kofi, my friend, welcome again.

KOFI ANNAN, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY GENERAL: Thank you very much. I'm very happy to be here once again to be able to continue our usual constructive discussions. We have had a very good exchange.

And I think on the talks in Bonn, my only message to the Afghans -- the Afghan leaders who are in Bonn is that they have a unique and historic responsibility to do something for their people, who have suffered for far too long not to be given a chance to live in peace and in stability; and that if they seize this moment and form a broad- based government -- a broad-based transitional administration, the international community will have a partner to be able to carry out the kinds of programs Secretary Colin Powell has referred to. Because without a credible partner, we are not going to be able to put in the kinds of resources that will be required to develop the country.

So I urge them and plead with them, for the sake of their people and their country and the region, to show the leadership required and work with Lakhdar Brahimi, my representative, to come up with the right decisions.

Thank you. We'll take your questions.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, has anyone outside of our ilk asked you to explain what exactly the president meant when he said on Monday that Saddam Hussein would just have to wait and see what happens if he doesn't allow weapons inspectors back in? And if they haven't, if they do ask you, what will you tell them?

POWELL: I'll tell them to listen carefully to what the president said. The president said that the Iraqi regime should allow the U.N. inspectors back in to complete their very, very important work. And when the president was asked, "Then what if they don't, and what will happen?" what he said was, "He'll find out." And I think that's a pretty good statement. I leave it stand. I don't think it requires any amplification at this point.

The president and the international community, we all have a full range of options available to us to keep trying to get rid of these programs of weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein has been trying to work on for the last 10 years. But the president's statement seemed to me to be clear, declaratory and not requiring amplification. I think everybody understood what he meant.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary General, would you like the -- this question is addressed to both of you, if I may. Would you like the parties in Bonn to agree to non-Afghan peace keepers to be deployed in Afghanistan?

ANNAN: I think the -- obviously we are all looking at the security environment in which we will have to operate, either to deliver humanitarian assistance, or for the new administration to assume its responsibilities and carry on the rehabilitation and reconstruction. But this is an issue that I think, as we move forward, we will also discuss with the Afghan leadership as a it is emerging.

But I will have to say that we are looking at the security situation, which, for the moment, is impeding some of the assistance in certain parts of the north and south. But we haven't taken any concrete decision as to what sort of security regime should be put in place to secure the environment. We will get to that later.

POWELL: Thank you. I've got to get the secretary general on his way.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, with the Spanish prime minister (sic) here today, it seems as if some of the European countries are concerned about military trials, that the suspects would not be guaranteed civil liberties or perhaps the death penalty.

Are you prepared to offer any assurances? And do you see this as an impediment to trying suspected terrorists of crimes?

POWELL: The president has a full range of legal options to deal with those who commit crimes against U.S. citizens. The president has a full range of legal options to deal with terrorists. One of those options includes what has come to be called the military commission option, but that's not the only option he has, and that option has not been exercised against any particular individual.

What President Aznar of Spain said earlier was that he is not in receipt of any requests for extraditing anybody to the United States for prosecution by any kind of tribunal, and if such a request had come to him, he would take it under consideration.

And so I don't think it's a problem at the moment. And I know that concerns have been expressed, but I think those concerns can be dealt with as we go forward.

So I was quite satisfied with the answer that President Aznar gave at his press conference earlier today.

Thank you.

KELLEY: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan with Secretary of State Colin Powell there. Secretary General met with the president earlier today, and there you just heard the Secretary General Kofi Annan saying that there is no concrete decision made, that they would talk to the Afghan leaders and discuss what they would need to keep security in the region.

Earlier, they had discussed about putting a U.N. peacekeeping force there and that has been a snag now in the Bonn talks with those four factions trying to put together the transitional government, because the Northern Alliance is rejecting that. They don't want U.N. peace keepers or a security force there. So, those comments from Kofi Annan important there. We will talk more about that as the day progress. Secretary of State Colin Powell talking about the military, humanitarian provisional government, Middle East and Iraq, all the issues that they addressed when they were talking together.




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