U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
April 28, 2004
REMARKS TO THE PRESS BY SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN L. POWELL
AND GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER JOSCHKA FISCHER, GERMANY'S MINISTRY OF FOREIGN
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
MINISTER FISCHER: Thank you very much. Two questions: one question here and one
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.
MINISTER FISCHER: Please.
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
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.
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