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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman (Copenhagen, Denmark)
April 29, 2004


Berlin, Germany
April 29, 2004

QUESTION: Thanks for joining us.

SECRETARY POWELL: My pleasure. Thank you.

QUESTION: The latest wave of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe has been linked to Muslim extremists, to Muslim disaffected youth. The fact that this conference doesn't have Muslim community leaders at the podium -- how relevant is this conference then?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think it is very relevant because it is an opportunity for those most affected by anti-Semitism, the Jewish leaders, Jewish leaders from throughout Europe, as well as the 55 countries represented here. I am sure there are more than just Israeli or Jewish individuals representing those countries -- me, for example. I think there are so many of us here from so many different backgrounds who can speak out against the issue of anti-Semitism and there are Muslim countries represented at this conference with Muslim heads of ministries who are here to present the case. So, I think it has been a fairly representative conference.

QUESTION: And isn't a primary solution to this violence in Europe a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

SECRETARY POWELL: I would certainly think that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would clear away some of the underbrush, but remember that anti-Semitism isn't just a recent phenomenon as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It goes back many, many decades. It goes back hundreds of years for that matter. And in this city, Berlin, it really came to a head with the rise of Nazism and the rise of Hitler. We thought many years ago, that once Hitler was gone and Nazism was gone, anti-Semitism was gone. But it did not go away and it is still here. And what we have to do now is teach new generations of young people that anti-Semitism -- and all forms of intolerance against any race, religion, or cultural background -- is not acceptable in the 21st century. So let's not think that anti-Semitism is strictly a function of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; it is not. It pre-dates that by decades, unfortunately.

QUESTION: After Berlin, you are going on to Denmark. Denmark is digging its heels in Iraq. It is keeping its troops in Iraq, but there are other countries leaving, like Spain. How secure is this coalition? How stable is this coalition in Iraq?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, three nations have decided that they had to withdraw their troops -- Spain, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. All the others are steadfast, and especially Denmark, so I am looking forward to expressing my appreciation to Danish leaders and though them to the Danish people for their steadfastness and understanding. This is a time for us to stick together to help the Iraqi people and not let thugs take this country back. We have removed the dictator. We have destroyed an evil regime. Mass graves are no longer being filled. Hatred is no longer spewing from the mouth of Saddam Hussein and from that regime. And this is the time to stick with it -- defeat these thugs, defeat these terrorists, and put in place a nation that rests on the foundation of law, democracy, and liberty.

QUESTION: Now, on June 30th there will be a hand-over of sovereignty. But Paul Bremer is talking about total sovereignty and his successor, John Negroponte, is talking about some kind of limited sovereignty. How would you describe it?

SECRETARY POWELL: We are all talking about the same thing -- sovereignty. We want to give the interim government as much sovereignty as they are able to handle. But they know as well as we do, whoever this interim government turns out to be -- because we have a Governing Council now that gives us some insight into what Iraqi thinking is -- but we are confident that the interim government will realize that security has to be provided by coalition forces. And those coalition forces have to be under the command of an American commander. So to some extent, they are yielding part of their sovereignty for their own sound purposes, and that is to make sure that the nation remains secure.

And this is an interim government. Remember, this is a caretaker government to get it through elections at the beginning of next year, so I don't think this is that big a problem. It will be worked out on the ground between the Coalition Provisional Authority, a new Ambassador coming in, Ambassador Negroponte, and the interim government. And it will be worked out to the satisfaction of all.

QUESTION: But how much is the fighting in Fallujah going to interfere with this hand-over?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I would hope that the fight in Fallujah would no longer be a fight in Fallujah by the time we get closer to transfer of sovereignty. The Marines are cordoned off the town. We are hoping that the tribal sheiks who have come to help with this situation will be able to talk to the people inside the town and say: "Let's end this, let's bring this to a conclusion." Because we want to help the people of Fallujah. We want peace in Fallujah, not war in Fallujah. And we won't have to take this to a military climax. We can find a peaceful solution. And that will be over, and we can get on with the process of getting ready for the transition to a sovereign government.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, last quick question. At the conference here, you were talking about Mr. Joschka Fischer, the German Foreign Minister, as your friend. Is Germany rehabilitated now in Washington's eyes?

SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, it's not a matter of rehabilitation. Germany never ceased to be an ally. Germany never ceased to be a friend. There are so many things that pull the United States and Germany together. And even during the height of the disagreement we had last year over Iraq, Joschka Fischer and I spoke constantly and we spoke as friends and we spoke as allies. Even within the strongest of families, you will have disagreements
-- strong disagreements from time to time. But that which pulls us together, I think, is stronger than that which pulled us apart for a brief moment. And so I believe that the United States and Germany are now back on the right track. We are working together to see what we can do to re-build Iraq. I know that Germany will not be sending military forces but there are other things they can do. And look how closely we are cooperating in the Balkans. Look how closely we are working together. And look at the contribution that Germany has made to our efforts in Afghanistan. These are allies, United States and Germany, working together to solve mutual problems.

QUESTION: Thank, you, Mr. Secretary.


(end transcript)

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


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