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Secretary of State Powell, King Abdullah of Jordan Speak to Press

Aired January 31, 2002 - 11:46   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Colin Powell, King Abdullah from Jordan talking about the Middle East peace process outside the State Department, in D.C.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

QUESTION: You haven't said anything about the administration's -- let me call it pressure campaign against Arafat. You've spoken of frustration, which is code for the Palestinians' problems. How do you feel about Israel's problems and how do you feel about the way the administration is try to focus Yasser Arafat on stopping Palestinian attacks?

KING ABDULLAH II BIN HUSSEIN OF JORDAN: When I speak about frustration, I speak about frustrations of the of the Palestinian people, but at the same time, I know that the majority of Israelis want to find an exit.

I mean, at the end of the day, let's forget about the politics and the leadership. The peoples, I believe, the majority of Israelis and Palestinians, are just sick and tired of the cycle of violence and want a way out. And American policy from that of the president has been, from day one, to find a mechanism to get both people -- both sides -- out of it, and it has been a tremendous effort, a very strong effort in particular by the secretary of state to get both sides together, and we're working on formulas to be able to achieve that in the very near process (ph).

QUESTION: First of all, a belated happy birthday, your majesty.

Secondly, talking about a formula this morning on CBS that you would like to reach with President Bush to put the peace process back on track, can you tell us something more about this formula?

And secondly, you talked about a very balanced roll played by the United States toward the Palestinians and the Israelis. I'm afraid to say many people in the Middle East don't agree with this point of view.

ABDULLAH: Well, there's no formula per se. We have, obviously whenever we come to Washington, the ability to sit with our colleagues to explore the possibilities of being able to move forward. When I'm saying a fair balance, the President is committed to bringing peace and stability to the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Obviously, the ongoing cycle of violence has been a tremendous obstacle to all of us. What I say is that the president in his heart, I know, wants to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians and give hope and security to the Palestinians, and that is what we are here to try and achieve in our visit to Washington.

COLIN POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If I just might add a word to what his majesty said, when the president spoke at the United Nations last fall, he spoke of a vision that he had for the Palestinian people to have a state of their own called Palestine and to live in peace and security next to a state called Israel, both respecting each others' rights to exist, both living in security with each other. It was a vision that I then tried to put some structure to at my speech in Louisville.

And I tried to get a balanced speech, which showed the expectations that the world had for both sides and what both sides had to do to move forward.

And then General Zinni went to the region to try to make that happen, and we were having some success.

Unfortunately, in recent weeks, the violence has increased to a higher level, and we've got to get that under control. And the ship that came into the region, the Karine A, was a very, very complicating factor.

And so, we are in discussions with Mr. Arafat and applying some addition pressure to Mr. Arafat to ask him to deal with these two issues of increasing violence and the Karine A.

We will not give up hope, and we'll continue to work. And we'll continue to work with both sides in as balanced a way as we can to get back to a process that will lead to a cease-fire and the negotiations that we must have in due course, on the basis of U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, to arrive at a peaceful solution to this crisis.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, as you know, the kidnappers of Daniel Pearl have made demands of the United States. Do you think these demands are such that the United States would ever respond to them? And how concerned are you for his life?

And, Your Majesty, if I may, sir, not to belabor the point...

POWELL: Let's do one question at a time.

QUESTION: OK, sure.

POWELL: We've got a lot.

With respect to Mr. Pearl, we're deeply concerned about his safety, and our hearts go out to his family. And I know that his colleagues at the Wall Street Journal are deeply concerned.

We're doing everything we can to try to locate him and rescue him. I have spoken to President Musharraf in Pakistan about the situation, and I know that he is doing everything he can.

The demands that the kidnappers have placed are not demands that we can meet or deal with or get into a negotiation about. The detainees at Guantanamo are being treated humanely. People have been down there from various countries and various organizations to see them and can provide witness to this fact. And we are treating them in accordance with international norms and all of the agreements we are party to.

And so, now, I'll see if we have one more question for His Majesty, and then we have to go -- or for me.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary?

POWELL: Yes?

QUESTION: There have been a lot of voices demanding the U.S. to play a more effective role to diffuse tension between the Palestinians and the Israelis like sending General Zinni back to the Middle East. When can this happen? Where are we now?

POWELL: General Zinni is following the situation closely. We're in regular touch with him. He's available. And when we believe the moment is appropriate and we have got things under a greater degree of control than they are now with respect to violence, we'll consider at that time whether it would be appropriate for General Zinni to return. But we're watching and monitoring the situation closely.

HEMMER: King Abdullah of Jordan meeting with the secretary of state, Colin Powell. We do know King Abdullah not only in Washington will have meetings, but also be in New York for the World Economic Forum.

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