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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Powell Speaks Before House Committee

Aired March 13, 2003 - 10:41   ET

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

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Colin Powell is speaking before the Senate (sic) Appropriations Committee, and he's talking about Iraq. Let's listen.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... driven by us trying to help the United Nations do its job. It is driven by our concern for the people of Iraq.

Of course we have a concern for the state of Israel. We have been one of Israel's strongest supporters, if not its strongest supporters for many years, 50 years, and we will continue to do so. But we have other friends in the region as well. All across that part of the world we have close alliances, whether it's Saudi Arabia, whether it's Egypt. These are nations that have been friends of ours for many years.

We also have a commitment to trying to help the people in the occupied territories, to create a Palestinian state, and President Bush is committed to that.

So we have a comprehensive policy for the region. The strategic with respect to Iraq has derived from our interest in the region and our support of U.N. resolutions over time. It is not driven by any small cabal that is buried away somewhere that is telling President Bush or me or Vice President Cheney or Condi Rice or other members of our administration what our policies should be.

I would also point out that this past fall the Congress of the United States passed another resolution supporting the president's efforts to cause Saddam Hussein to come into compliance. And the joint resolution passed by the Congress said we should do it through the U.S., and if that doesn't succeed then we should be prepared to use United States armed forces in a willing coalition.

So this is not just the result of a few individuals who are running loose, as some suggest, but it's a comprehensive policy developed over the years, over several administrations, with the support of the United States Congress as reflected in last fall's joint resolution, the action that Congress took in 1998.

REP. JIM KOLBE (R-AZ), CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I think it's important to have that response on the record.

Ms. Lowey, I'll turn to you for your opening statement.

REP. NITA LOWEY (D), NEW YORK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And welcome, Secretary Powell.

I know you are extremely busy with other national security matters, and please be assured that we are especially grateful that you have taken time to be with us today. And I personally want to tell you how much I appreciate, and I know the chairman does, as well, your continuous briefings that you and Deputy Armitage provide, and I thank you very much.

I intend to take a few minutes as we open this hearing to express some concerns I have not only about world events, but also about the FY 2004 request.

Anticipating that we're about to commence a campaign to disarm Iraq and bring about a regime change, I would first commend you, Mr. Secretary, for your continued efforts to secure the support of our allies in this endeavor. As you may know, I supported the congressional resolution on Iraq last fall and I continue to support efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein.

However, I do have several concerns.

I am most concerned about the manner in which the United States has approached the U.N. and our allies during the diplomatic...

COSTELLO: OK. We're going to dip back out of this House Appropriations Committee hearing. As you heard, Colin Powell was speaking on the subject of Iraq.

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