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Source: Secretary-General
11 June 2003

Washington, DC, 11 June 2003 -
Secretary-General's press encounter with
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
following their luncheon meeting

(Secretary Powell made an opening statement and then invited the Secretary-General to speak)

SG: Thank you very much. As the Secretary of State said, we had a very fruitful discussion. We covered lots of ground, but on the Middle East issue, let me also offer my sympathy and condolences to the families that lost their loved ones and those who are now in hospital. But I think that it is important that the leaders stay the course. What happened this morning is utterly reprehensible but it should not deter the leaders from moving ahead. Obviously, we should deal very firmly with all these terrorist attacks, but the only path to peace is the Road Map, the promise of Aqaba. We all were very hopeful; after the meetings of Aqaba and the statements the leaders made, with the strong support of the President, we thought finally we were going to move forward. And I hope the leaders will not be deterred by these violent acts.

I would also want to say that we did talk about Iraq, the developments in Iraq, the UN operations in the Congo, and the multinational force that has landed in Bunia to help calm the situation.

We talked about the situation in Liberia and other issues of common concern.

We should take your questions…

[Secretary Powell then added that they also talked of the detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. A journalist then asked the Secretary if he would care to comment on Hans Blix's claim that he was a victim of a smear campaign. The Secretary replied.]

Q: Could we also ask the Secretary-General whether he believes there was a smear campaign or pressure on the inspectors? [She also asked the Secretary to comment on a statement today of Senator Joseph Biden that members of the Administration had hyped the intelligence in order to push toward war.]

SG: Let me say that Blix is a very professional person and a very honest person. He did a very good job and he had universal respect for his professionalism and his efforts. I'm sorry to see him leave at the end of the [month]. He is a very good public servant and I am sure he is going to remain engaged and we haven't heard the last of him.

As to the smear campaign, I can't really get into it, except to say that I've seen some articles in the press which I considered unfair, given the work he has done.

On the question of the quality of intelligence or its being hyped, obviously, intelligence was given to the inspectors who used it in Iraq. You know the results – we didn't get very much.

I don't think I want to go beyond that. [The Secretary then made a closing comment.]

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