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Powell, Emir of Qatar Address Reporters

Aired May 9, 2003 - 14:37   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to move over to Foggy Bottom. The secretary of state, Colin Powell, is addressing reporters along with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... he and his nation have provided to us during these difficult times. They have been very good friends to the United States and very good friends to the people of Iraq. And as a result of the strong support they provided to our efforts, the Iraqi people are now liberated, free and able to choose their own form of government. And I expressed to His Highness our hopes that we'd be able to cooperate more closely in the future as we go about the reconstruction effort in Iraq.

Our two nations have been close friends for a long time. And I also expressed to his highness my admiration of the constitutional referendum that was held recently. And I look forward to an early opportunity to visit Qatar and explore strategic dialogue with them before the end of the year is out.

So, Your Highness, welcome. It's very good to have you here again.

Would you like to say anything, you would you just like questions?

QUESTION (through translator): Could you tell us about what happened in the meetings that you had today with the vice president and Secretary of State Colin Powell?

AL-THANI (through translator): We have discussed the bilateral relationship between Qatar and the United States. We covered all kinds of relationship, and in my assessment the discussions were good.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you've just put forth a new U.N. resolution today. What do you think the prospects are for getting a smooth passage of that, or are you going to be heading back up to New York every other week?

POWELL: Oh, I don't think it's going to take as much time as 1441 did. This resolution is straight to the point; it's a resolution that will serve the Iraqi people; it's a resolution that will ultimately result in the lifting of sanctions so that the world can again trade with Iraq. It also makes it clear that the coalition that is in Iraq now will be responsible for the governance of the country until we can put the governance of the country into the hands of the Iraqi people. We plan to conduct governing activities through General Franks and his associates from other nations as well as with the work that's going to be done by Ambassador Jerry Bremer. We're going to do it in the way that is open, that is transparent, that will also be working with an interim authority that we hope to create in the not-too- distant future, representing the Iraqi people.

And what this resolution does is also give a role for the United Nations to play, for the secretary general to have someone more closely involved in all of the activities that are taking place in Iraq. And most importantly, the resolution will help us deal with a very, very practical problem that we will be facing in the near future. And that is within the next couple of weeks, the oil fields will be producing a sufficient quantity of oil that it will very shortly fill all of the storage capacity in the area.

And so we have to begin moving this oil out of the storage facilities for two reasons. One, in order to keep the refineries running. We don't want the refineries to shut down, because the refineries produce gasoline and cooking gas and the other things that are needed by the people of Iraq.

And the second reason we need to deal with this problem is that we don't want to deny the people of Iraq the funds that would be available as a result of being able to sell the oil.

So for these two reasons, there's a sense of urgency in order to get the United Nations to act, so we can get the economy flowing again through revenues that are coming back into the country. Even though the coalition provisional authority will be the government, we are anticipating that as a result of this resolution, a fund will be established, a fund that can receive money from the sale of oil that will have a board that supervises activities, that will be completely open and transparent. And the funds that will be in that fund would only be used to benefit the people of Iraq.

So this is a means by which we could rapidly begin to use the oil of Iraq to benefit the people of Iraq. And we hope that our colleagues in the Security Council will see it in that light, and will act quickly along with us to relieve the burden of sanctions from the people of Iraq and allow us to use oil revenues to benefit the people of Iraq as well.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you're leaving this evening for your first trip to Israel in about a year.

Sir, what will your message be to the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and to Prime Minister Sharon in the hopes of breaking the deadlock?

And for the Amir, sir, if you could please respond whether or not you believe that the road map for peace has the necessary ingredients to succeed where previous attempts at peace have failed?

POWELL: My message to the new prime minister of the Palestinian Authority is that the United States wants to support him in his efforts. He has committed himself to the road map. And now the action he has to take is to speak to the Palestinian people about the need to end violence and all acts of terror, bring under the control those elements within the Palestinian community that still practice those sorts of activities and terrorist activities and violence, and we will be there to help him.

We are committed to the road map, as President Bush has said. I will also have discussions with Prime Minister Sharon with respect to obligations that Israel has under the road map and see if we cannot get this process moving now that we have new transformed Palestinian leadership that has made a commitment, as the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority has made with respect to speaking out against violence. Speaking out against terror was the first thing he said after Prime Minister Abu Mazen was confirmed by the Palestinian legislature.

So I'm encouraged that we may have a fresh start. It's not going to be easy. We have seen things in the area in recent days that show us that it's not going to be easy. But I'm anxious to get started and I'm anxious to see if we cannot make progress as rapidly as possible and take advantage of the new strategic situation created by the end of the regime in Baghdad and the new strategic situation created by the appointment of a Palestinian prime minister and the presentation of the road map.

AL-THANI (through translator): Regarding the road map, we believe it is a good proposal, this road map. It is accepted by the Palestinians. And unlike what the media is trying to portray, we don't believe that this is going to be easy to achieve. And sacrifices must be made by all sides in order for peace to be achieved.

POWELL: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Secretary of State Colin Powell there with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, addressing reporters after meeting today. Obviously, Qatar gaining increased importance as far as the U.S. is concerned. As troops are pulled out of Saudi Arabia, much of the force in that region will move into Qatar. This on -- as the secretary of state prepares to embark on a trip to the Middle East saying he believes there might be a fresh start for the road map toward peace. Not going to be easy. Anxious to get started, given the new strategic situation post-war in Iraq.


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