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Colin Powell, Jack Straw Address Reporters at State Department

Aired November 13, 2003 - 12:46   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The secretary of state and the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, speaking to reporters at the State Department right now. Let's listen in.
COLIN L. POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: forward to the visit, where we can celebrate once again the strength of our bilateral relationship.

And so, Mr. Foreign Secretary, it's a great pleasure to have you here and I ask you to say a word or two, and we'll take some questions.

JACK STRAW, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.

The honor is mine to be here with you, Colin. And it was also my honor, our honor to be part of that award ceremony yesterday, where you were presented with the George C. Marshall honor in recognition of your great service as a soldier and a diplomat. And it was a wonderful evening and it was great to be there.

As Mr. Secretary says, we have a wide range of issues to discuss. We have been talking about the situation in Iraq.

I would like to repeat the condolences that both Mr. Secretary and I expressed to President Ciampi last night at the award ceremony in respect of the deaths of the Italian personnel in the outrage at Nasiriyah, and also of the eight Iraqis who died in that outrage as well.

STRAW: The security situation in parts but not all of Iraq is unsatisfactory, but we are determined to get through this difficult period and to ensure that power and sovereignty is transferred to the Iraqi people as quickly as possible but in a way that ensures that the future of that country is safe and prosperous.

As Mr. Secretary said, we also discussed the state visit and we're all looking forward very much to the visit of the president of the United States to the United Kingdom next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the invitation of Her Majesty, the queen, and there will be a wide agenda to discuss there.

And in the discussion that we are about to have over lunch there will be a wide range of other subjects on the table.

Thank you very much. POWELL: Another thing I might add is that, in our conversation earlier we expressed the appreciation for the Italian government for their reaffirmation...

STRAW: Indeed.

POWELL: ... of their commitment to our efforts in Iraq. It shows what a strong partner the Italians have been in this difficult and challenging time.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, could you comment please on the suggestion of an accelerated timetable for the transition to self-rule in Iraq?

POWELL: Well, as you know, Ambassador Bremer was back early this week for consultations with the president and the national security team. We had good conversations with Jerry.

And we're all interested in accelerating the process of putting in place a government for the people of Iraq reflecting the will of the Iraqi people and representing all the people of Iraq.

POWELL: And it has been our mutual goal, the United Kingdom and the United States and all of our coalition partners, to do this as fast as we can.

And so Ambassador Bremer came back with some ideas that he and the governing council had come up with. We discussed those ideas. And now he is heading back to Iraq to talk to the governing council and other leaders within Iraq about these ideas and how we can take them forward. And in due course, after he's had his consultations, I'm sure we will hear from the governing council.

Remember that the governing council has a requirement under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1511 to report to the council by the 15th of December on how they would plan to go forward. And the consultations we've had this week are all related to helping them meet that deadline.

BLITZER: The secretary of state, Colin Powell, answering a question about an accelerated timetable for moving towards Iraqi control of the situation in Iraq. Ambassador Paul Bremer going back to Baghdad with some new options. We will continue to monitor what is happening at the State Department, as the secretary meets with the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw. We will get some more information on that.

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