|New Palestinian Leadership Opportunity for Peace, Powell Says|
Discusses Iraq, Iran, China in discussion of Bush administration agenda
In the wake of Yasser Arafat's death, the United States will assist responsible new Palestinian leadership in ending terrorism and moving toward peace and an independent Palestinian state, according to the Secretary of State Colin Powell.
"Chairman Arafat carried the hopes and dreams of the Palestinian people and now he is gone," Powell said. "I know the Palestinian people mourn for him, but tomorrow a new leadership will have to decide how they will organize themselves."
In a wide-ranging broadcast interview November 12 on The Wall Street Journal Report, Powell reiterated that the Bush administration will continue to work with the other members of the Quartet -- the United Nations, European Union and Russia -- and remains committed to the Mideast road map as the way forward to a settlement.
Following is the transcript of Secretary Powell's broadcast interview on The Wall Street Report with Maria Bartiromo:
Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
November 13, 2004
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
on The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo
November 12, 2004
MS. BARTIROMO: Welcome to the program. Perhaps not before in our lifetime have world affairs had such a direct and visceral impact on the lives of Americans and American business in general. I'm at the State Department for this special edition of Wall Street Journal Report and I'm joined by Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for being with us.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you for being here.
MS. BARTIROMO: Let me begin with the death of Yasser Arafat. On Friday, the President made a comment about the impact this may have on U.S. foreign policy. I'd like to ask you about that. Let's listen to what the President said. He said: "I think it's fair to say that I believe we have got a great chance to establish a Palestinian state and intend to use the next four years to spend the capital of the U.S. on such a state. I believe it is in the best interests of the world that a truly free state develop."
How exactly will the U.S. spend that capital?
SECRETARY POWELL: This is the position the President has had for the last two years, since he gave his speech in June of 2002, and that is he is dedicated, committed, wants to see brought into being a Palestinian state.
How to go about it: We need responsible leadership on the Palestinian side. Chairman Arafat carried the hopes and dreams of the Palestinian people and now he is gone. I know the Palestinian people mourn for him, but tomorrow a new leadership will have to decide how they will organize themselves, get ready for elections.
And what we're looking for is for the new Palestinian leadership to clamp down on terrorism, speak out against terrorism, and to use their security forces to go after those who commit acts of terror. And we're also expecting the Israeli side to go forward with their disengagement plan from Gaza and some of the settlements in the West Bank, and for the two of them to start working with each other.
And the United States is prepared to assist, to assist in helping them with their political dialogue, to assist in bringing up security forces that are competent in Gaza to take over the disengagement, to assist in getting us into the roadmap with the Quartet. We remain fully committed to the roadmap.
And what the President said is he is going to expend his political capital if he sees that there are responsible partners on both sides ready to move forward. And he has done this before. He did it last year when we went to Aqaba. Unfortunately, we didn't get the kind of results we hoped for. Now, perhaps, there is a new opportunity with new Palestinian leadership.
MS. BARTIROMO: So are you comfortable with the leadership that is being put in place right now? Are you going to take a more active role in the peace process?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I am in touch with all of these leaders, as is the President. Now, they have to have an election for a new president in the Palestinian Authority. We'll have to see how that goes and we're hoping that that goes smoothly and we're in touch with the Israelis so that they can be of assistance in making sure the Palestinian people do get the opportunity to move freely and to participate in this vote. But I know Prime Minister Qurei, I know former Prime Minister and now Chief of the Executive Committee of the PLO Abu Mazen. We know these gentlemen well, and I hope to be able to see them in the very near future to discuss what their plans are and how to move forward.
MS. BARTIROMO: America's involvement in the Middle East has already cost, some estimates say, $150 billion just from the war in Iraq. How much more money is the U.S. willing to spend?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we can't answer that question, how much more money is needed, and the U.S. will not be the only source of it. The European Union stands ready to provide money. The international financial community, the World Bank and the IMF, stand ready to provide money.
And so there is a considerable amount of money available to help the Palestinian people put in place a solid security system. The Arab world also is prepared to help, help to put in place a solid security system, help rebuild their economy, which is in tatters right now.
And so I'm not worried about finding enough funds for this, but people will only put funds into democratic institutions and into a governmental organization that looks like it is prepared to use the money for the right purposes.