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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
(Berlin, Germany)
April 28, 2004


Berlin, Germany
April 28, 2004

MINISTER FISCHER: (In German) Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to be able to welcome here today my friend Colin Powell, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, and the members of his delegation. I would like to thank him in particular for his participation in the conference on anti-Semitism, the OSCE conference on anti-Semitism. And I must say that I was greatly impressed by his remarks during that conference. We just had a meeting here, a bilateral meeting, where we talked at length about issues that are of mutual interest, among them: Afghanistan; the situation in the Middle East; and, the situation in Iraq. We were debating issues related to combating terrorism. We were talking about the situation [in] the Balkans, Kosovo, G-8 issues that are related to the overall G-8 and Cyprus.

The Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America are and have been always very close partners, and indeed friends. And I think it particularly appropriate to remind all of us here in Berlin, in this reunified city, of what the United States have always done throughout the years in order to uphold the freedom of the city of Berlin and of Germany and to also remind all of ourselves and to pay tribute to the very valuable contribution of the United States of America to bring about the reunification of our country.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much Mr. Minister. It is a great pleasure to be back in Berlin-my second visit in just a few weeks' time. And I'm especially pleased to be here on this occasion for this anti-Semitism Conference. And let me congratulate you for hosting it and to your government for the support you have provided all of the OSCE delegations that are here.

As the Minister noted we did cover all the regional issues that he touched on. We didn't spend too much on bilateral issues because the bilateral relationship is so sound that we could really focus on regional issues. So, I am very pleased to be here. Berlin will always occupy a special place in my heart as a city of freedom, a city that we had so much to do, with respect to protecting it during the long days of communism. And never forgetting that marvelous evening when the wall came down and this wonderful city was reunified and to see what has happened in the years since. So, Mr. Minister, a great pleasure to be with you and thank you again for hosting me and especially for hosting this anti-Semitism Conference.

MINISTER FISCHER: Thank you very much. Two questions: one question here and one question there.


QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, is the United States thinking of increasing its estimate of the number of nuclear weapons that North Korea has to at least eight, and are you concerned that as the six-party talks move slowly, North Korea can use that time to build up its weapons.

SECRETARY POWELL: I guess there is a press report today that says there is a new number, but I am not aware of the new number and I have not been given any such information by the intelligence community. North Korea needs to come to the realization that nuclear weapons will not serve it any particular useful purpose. What they have to do is engage seriously in the six-party talks so that we can achieve complete verifiable irreversible dismantlement of their nuclear weapons systems. And the United States will not be pressured or pushed into any other outcome other than a verifiable outcome through the six-party solution. But I will wait to see what the intelligence estimates say. My last intelligence estimate from the Director of Central Intelligence was that we believe they could have had or might still have one or two weapons. If the number has changed, I am not aware of it, and we will wait and see what the intelligence community says with respect to the story.


QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you expressed earlier today the coalition's attempt to move carefully in Fallujah and Najaf and in other locations in Iraq. The Bush Administration has also stressed in recent days that the interim government when it takes over on June 30th will be ceding security issues to the existing coalition force presence. How might the current military action, particularly in Fallujah, influence the coalition's attempts to craft a new Security Council resolution, especially dealing with the security issues?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think Fallujah will be resolved one way or the other in the near future. Hopefully, it will be resolved peacefully, even though there is action taking place now as we defend ourselves from the terrorists and thugs that are inside the city using holy places as firing positions. We will defend ourselves, but we are trying to find a peaceful solution using tribal sheiks who might be able to influence those inside the city. So Fallujah will resolve itself.

We are moving straight ahead with the creation of an interim government by the end of June. We are very pleased with the report that Ambassador Brahimi has presented to the Security Council, and we will wait for the Secretary General to give his formal endorsement to that report. We want to return as much sovereignty to this interim government as it is prepared to handle. Clearly, security will be a concern that can only be met by the coalition military forces that are there -- and Iraqi security forces. And so I think it is a shared responsibility to help the Iraqi people live in peace and live without fear from these thugs. Iraqi forces will be doing that, coalition forces will be doing that. For unity of command and singularity of purpose this all has to be under a single commander and, of course, I think it is clear that the U.S. will have to perform that role as commander of the multi-national force. And I think the Iraqis expect that, want it, and it will be mutually agreed upon between us and that sovereign government.

It is not that unusual, and if you look at the course of history for the United States Armed Forces to be in another country where we command those forces, but there is another sovereign, the real sovereign: the government of that country. Germany is an example; Korea is another example. So, there are models from the past that we can use to fit the circumstances we expect to see in Iraq.

MINISTER FISCHER: Thank you very much.

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:


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