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Powell Explains Elements of New U.N. Iraq Resolution

Office of the Spokesman
April 29, 2004


Remarks By Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen After Their Meeting

Danish Prime Minister's Office
Copenhagen, Denmark

PRIME MINISTER RASMUSSEN: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this press conference. I am happy to welcome Secretary Powell here in Denmark. We have had a very fruitful and very useful meeting. I would like to point to three key points from our meeting. First, I emphasized that Denmark has no plans to withdraw our troops from Iraq. They are doing a very important job and should continue. Foreign troops are still needed in order to provide stable and secure conditions in Iraq. We owe it to the Iraqi people to assist them in building a new and modern society. We owe it to the Iraqi people to protect them from the terrorists and extremists who try to disrupt the democratic process in order to install a new dictatorship. I expect the coming interim Iraqi government to share this view.

I would also like to use this opportunity to express my heartfelt sorrow for the high losses incurred by U.S. forces in Iraq, the latest being eight soldiers killed in a blast south of Baghdad today. Your losses are all felt by us.

Secondly, I told Mr. Powell that many in Europe are seriously concerned over Iraq and recent developments in the Middle East. And there is a feeling that European views are not always taken fully into account. At the same time it is my strong impression from talks with European colleagues, that Europe is ready to look ahead to overcome past disagreements. It is recognized that we are facing common and serious challenges, which Europe and the United States should address together in Iraq, in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, and regarding political and democratic reform in the Arab world. In other words, the time has come to join forces.

Thirdly, and following up on my second point, I urged our American friends to continue to work actively for a strong U.N. role in Iraq. There are positive lessons in Afghanistan to draw on. In this connection, I warmly welcomed the recent close coordination between the United States and U.N. envoy Brahimi regarding the future political process. I expressed my sincere hope that all members of the U.N. Security Council will be prepared to show the necessary flexibility in order to obtain a new U.N. resolution that can facilitate broader international engagement in Iraq.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. And thank you for receiving me on relatively short notice. I agree with you that we had a very fine conversation and, I must say Mr. Prime Minister, I have had a wonderful day here in Denmark. I thank you for your expression of condolences with respect to the loss of life of our troops today and I thank you for the steadfastness that you have shown on a personal level and a political level, and the Danish people have shown for our work in Iraq. The presence of Danish troops in Iraq, and I might add also, in Afghanistan, is a positive sign to the world that Denmark is prepared to do what is required to bring peace, democracy, and freedom to nations far away. None of us can be isolated from these troubles. None of us can be isolated from tyranny. We all have to do our part, and Denmark has certainly done its part in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and for that I am very grateful. President Bush looks forward to receiving you later this month to have a continued dialogue with you on these issues.

On the issues the Prime Minister raised, we had good discussions. I am confident that we will be able to get a United Nations Security Council resolution of the kind that the Prime Minister has suggested. I am confident that using Ambassador Brahimi's plan, which he presented to the Security Council the other day, we'll be able to go forward and put in place an Iraqi interim government by the end of June. I am also confident that that government, along with the U.N. resolution, that government will invite the coalition forces that are there now to remain and to assist them as they consolidate their democracy and as they prepare for elections that will result in a national assembly early next year. The weeks ahead will be dangerous, they will be tough, because those who are against freedom, those who are against democracy, will do everything they can to keep us from attaining our goals over the next several months. They want to return to dictatorship, they want to return to the oppression of the past, and we will not let that happen and we will prevail. We regret the loss of every life, but these are lives that are not lost in vain, but are lost in pursuit of a noble objective, for a noble cause.

On the Middle East, we had a good discussion and as I said to the Prime Minister, I look forward to continuing this discussion at the meeting of the Quartet next week in New York -- with the United Nations, the European Union and the Russian Federation and the United States. We will all sit down and exchange views extensively on the Middle East situation and make sure that we take into account the views of our European friends, our colleagues in the United Nations, and especially our colleagues in the Russian Federation.

We believe that a new opportunity has been opened up by the initiative of Prime Minister Sharon. Settlements are going to be removed from Gaza and the West Bank. Palestinians have to prepare themselves to exercise political authority over these settlements and to provide security in the Gaza areas. We can use this initiative, even though it is a unilateral initiative on the part of the Israelis, we can use it to get back into the Road Map process. As President Bush has made clear, and as Prime Minister Sharon has acknowledged, none of the announcements that you have heard or the unilateral decision that the Prime Minister made with respect to unilateral withdrawal, prejudices final status discussions between the two parties. Ultimately, the final status issues must be mutually agreed upon by the two parties concerned, as provided for in the Road Map. So I believe that rather than this killing the road map, as some have suggested, this gives new life and meaning to the Road Map and gives us a way to get into the Road Map.

I certainly agree with the Prime Minister on the need for enhanced dialogue between the United States and Europe. We will have the opportunity for enhanced dialogue with a G-8 ministerial meeting coming up in the near future, and then of course the G-8 meeting, and then, of course, the U.S.-E.U. meeting and finally, a NATO meeting, all over the next two months period of time when we will demonstrate the strength of our transatlantic relations, either in the NATO context or the E.U. or G-8 context. Mr. Prime Minister, again, thank you for your hospitality and for receiving me today.

PRIME MINISTER RASMUSSEN: We are ready to answer a few questions.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, nobody questions the strength of the U.S. military, but do you think there is room for improvement when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis?

SECRETARY POWELL: We always are trying just not to use our military force to find a solution to a problem, but to appeal that it is in their interest to cooperate with us, to work with us. I don't think that we have lost their hearts and minds. I think most of the Iraqi people know what we are doing and want to be a part of that. Most of the Iraqi people have said that they are glad that Saddam Hussein and his regime is gone. Why wouldn't they be? He wasted their treasure, he filled mass graves, he gassed his own people, he destroyed the wetlands in the south, he suppressed human rights. He was the worst kind of dictator who built palaces instead of schools and who destroyed his economy - from being one of the most wealthy nations at the beginning of the 1980s, to one of the most destitute nations at the beginning of this century.

QUESTION: So you don't think there is any room for improvement...

SECRETARY POWELL: I will get to it. So, let's just make sure we understand the circumstances we are involved in. Most people want democracy and they want freedom. The premise of your question is that they didn't - we don't have their hearts and minds. What we don't have are the hearts and minds of the thugs, the former regime elements, and the terrorists who have come to make trouble. We won't win their hearts and minds. What we have to do is defeat them. We will defeat them on the battlefield and we will also defeat them politically, by putting in place an interim government, a government that is sovereign and represents the interests of the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people, whose hearts and minds we have, will see that these thugs and criminals are attacking the government of the Iraqi people.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, we have just heard the Danish Prime Minister say that he felt very bad about the heavy American losses - eight soldiers alone today. At the same time, we see a New York Times poll saying that only 47% of the American population now supports your effort in Iraq. Do you see any kind of connection with the daily, heavy losses of American soldiers and the American support going down?

SECRETARY POWELL: Obviously when casualties are going up, and April has been a particularly hard month for casualties, people see this on their televisions and they read about it in the newspapers, and they learn of losses in their own community. That causes them to stop and think and
reflect: What are we doing? You can expect the polls to reflect that, but I think as we get on top of the security situation, and I think we will, and as we put in place an interim government, and as the U.N. gets more involved, and as the reconstruction effort picks up, and as the American people see that Iraqis are taking responsibility for their own future, then I think the polls will turn in the other direction. For example, there are Iraqi officers, former regime, who are now loyal to the new Iraq, who have stepped forward in Fallujah and have started to organize units. So we now see Iraqi units that have organized themselves to go in and help in the situation in Fallujah.

If we can solve it that way, I think the American people will start to see, and people around the world will start to see, that Iraqis want peace, that Iraqis do not want the kind of violence that is being perpetrated against them now by these former regime elements, terrorists, and criminals who are taking advantage of an insecure situation. I think the polls will then move in the other direction. The American people understand what we are there for, know that what we are doing is the right thing, and I think that they will support the President over all.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what would you put in the U.N. resolution in order to convince other countries, for instance France, that the new Iraqi government is having full sovereignty after June 30?

SECRETARY POWELL: The resolution, I hope, will contain elements that
would recognize that an interim sovereign government has been set up. I
hope that there will an element that talks about the need for additional contributions to the military force, additional economic contributions, and provide a mandate for the Brahimi plan and provide a mandate for the plan moving forward especially toward elections to a national assembly early next year, a transitional government and then a full government at the end of 2005, early 2006. Those are the elements in common that everyone is talking about. I think there will be strong support for these elements.

You mentioned France. France and Germany, and the others who disagreed so strongly with us last year, have indicated that they want to be part of this reconstruction effort. They don't what to see us go back to the days of Saddam Hussein. They know it is in their interest, as well as in our interest and the interest of the Iraqi people, for us all to work together going forward.

The government will be given sovereignty. Obviously, because a large foreign military presence will still be required, under U.S. command, some would say well then you are not giving full sovereignty, but we are giving sovereignty, so that that sovereignty can be used to say: We invite you to remain. It is a sovereign decision. It is not that unusual. It happened in Europe where U.S. forces remained for many years under U.S. command but with another sovereign in charge of the country that we were in. The same was the situation in Korea for many years. I think those kinds of arrangements can be worked out. I think France and the other nations will recognize that we have given sovereignty when they see an Iraqi president, an Iraqi prime minister, an Iraqi deputy president, and a full Iraqi cabinet that is actually running the country and the CPA is no longer there, and an American ambassador is there performing as American ambassadors do everywhere else around the world.


QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, some countries have announced their withdrawal from Iraq. How does that affect the Danish position? Is there the need for more Danish support for your cause in Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: We are disappointed that Spain decided that it had to withdraw, and withdraw rather abruptly. Most of the nations of the coalition have been as solid as Denmark has been, even during a month when things got very, very difficult. They are all staying with it. So, we have lost a few, but the many have remained and they remain firm in their determination to see this through to the end. The Prime Minister and I did not have any discussion about additional Danish troops, nor did the Foreign Minister and I. This is a matter for Denmark to decide. I only can say that we are enormously pleased at the contribution that Denmark has made in Iraq and in Afghanistan and the steadfastness that they have shown.

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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