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Colin Powell on War and Brazil

 Colin 
        Powell on War and Brazil

Colin
Powell: "The United Nations has a vital role to play in the
rebuilding effort of Iraq…. We are watching with great interest as

President Lula works on improving the economy of Brazil and we are
moved by his commitment to improving life for all Brazilians."

by: Phillip
Mizewski

 

As
coalition forces begin the task of stabilizing a liberated Iraq, the
United States is anxious for "the international community [to]
play an important role" in the rebuilding effort, says Secretary
of State Colin L. Powell.

Interviewed
April 10 on Brazilian Globo TV, Powell stressed that "the United
Nations has a vital role to play," as well. Moreover, the secretary
said that during his recent conversation with Brazilian Foreign Minister
Celso Lafer, "I made it clear that we would welcome any contribution
that Brazil wishes to make" in Iraq.

With
Saddam Hussein’s regime being systematically dismantled, "we believe
we have a responsibility now to help the people of Iraq form a government
that is representative of all the people and that is committed to keeping
the country intact and putting in place a democratic system decided
upon by the Iraqi people," Powell said. "So there is a lot
of work to be done, not just for the coalition but for the entire international
community."

Asked
whether the United States would support altering the permanent membership
of the U.N. Security Council, Powell noted that "there have been
many suggestions over the years" that the council’s permanent membership
should reflect "a more contemporary situation than the situation
that existed at the end of World War II," when the five current
council members were appointed. "But so far, those have just been
conversations, ideas; [there is] no real movement in that direction
yet," Powell added.

On
the issue of Brazil’s candidacy for permanent membership in U.N. Security
Council, Powell said that if the U.N. decides to change the council’s
composition, Brazil "is certainly a country that would have to
be looked at very carefully for that purpose."

Brazil,
"by virtue of its size, by virtue of its economy, … is a major
economic player in our hemisphere and it is also an example to other
nations in the hemisphere of a democratic system," he said. "We
are working very closely with [Brazilian] President Lula. He and President
Bush have already established a good relationship."

Returning
to the theme of the war in Iraq, Powell responded to questions about
banned weapons and Iraqi civilian casualties.

On
the subject of whether or not the United States will discover weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq, Powell said: "I am confident we will
find weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt in my mind that
this regime had such weapons. We have the evidence." He recalled
that "for the first several weeks of this [military] campaign,
the troops have not been looking or weapons of mass destruction; they’ve
been dealing with the military forces of Iraq." But now that the
Iraqi military is being defeated, "we can turn our attention to
looking for these systems which we know have been well hidden and concealed
over time," he explained.

During
the course of the war, "there have been civilian deaths,"
the secretary said, "but I think our record is very, very clear
here, and it’s a good record." Coalition troops have done everything
possible "to minimize the loss of innocent life" and to avoid
the needless destruction of property, he observed.

"We
have gone after military targets. We have gone after command-and-control
targets. We have gone after [regime] leadership targets. … Nevertheless,
accidents do happen, people do get injured and killed, and we regret
any loss of life," Powell said. Coalition medical personnel "will
take care of those who have been injured," he pledged.

And
"let’s remember that under Saddam Hussein, a hundred times more
Iraqis were sent to their death, and not as a result of an accident
of war, but as a result of a deliberate policy of a dictator who tortured
them, who put them in prison, who allowed rape," he said. "Those
days are over. The people of Iraq welcomed the coalition forces yesterday.
[Yet] the campaign isn’t over. There is still more fighting to be done,
[there are] more cities to be liberated."

When
a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Baghdad by newly liberated
Iraqis, "the whole world saw what the Iraqi people, what the people
of Baghdad, thought about Saddam Hussein and his regime," Powell
pointed out. "And with the coming down of that statue, we saw the
coming down of a terrorizing regime and we saw the opportunity for a
new government to be created that will be representative of its people
and live in peace with its neighbors and use the wealth of Iraq, its
oil, to benefit the people of Iraq."

Following
is the transcript of Powell’s interview on Brazilian television:

QUESTION:
Mr. Secretary, let me start by asking you your assessment this morning
of the situation in Iraq.

SECRETARY
POWELL: Well, I think coalition forces are doing a marvelous job. Baghdad
is, for the most part, now liberated. But there are a number of other
places in Baghdad that—in Iraq that have not yet been secured.
So the campaign continues. This is not over yet. We shouldn’t start
over-congratulating ourselves. There is a lot more work that has to
be done.

But
I must say, yesterday was an historic day as we saw the people of Baghdad
cheer and welcome coalition forces come into the city. They are free
of the dictator who has been suppressing them, terrorizing them and
killing them for all these years, wasting their treasure on weapons
of mass destruction and threatening neighbors.

Now
we are beginning to look not only to finish the campaign but to look
beyond the campaign to bring humanitarian aid in to the people of Iraq,
to begin the rebuilding process, not rebuilding from this three-week
or so war, but rebuilding from two-plus decades of destructive activity,
of devastation wrought on Iraq by Saddam Hussein.

We
also are anxious to see that the international community play an important
role in that rebuilding effort. The United Nations has a vital role
to play.

And
most importantly, we believe we have a responsibility now to help the
people of Iraq form a government that is representative of all the people
and that is committed to keeping the country intact and putting in place
a democratic system decided upon by the Iraqi people that will provide
a better life for its people and will live in peace with its neighbors.
So there is a lot of work to be done, not just for the coalition but
for the entire international community.

QUESTION:
You spoke recently with the Brazilian Foreign Minister, and he told
you that Brazil would help in the reconstruction of Iraq, if it was
not a military—under a military umbrella. Now, will Brazil help
if you have your way and have the international community and the U.N.
involved, or will Brazil not help if the Pentagon has its way?

SECRETARY
POWELL: Well, I have to—it’s up to Brazil to make its judgment,
but you’re suggesting an incorrect choice. The Pentagon and the State
Department are linked together on this. There is only one policy, and
that policy is that initially the military has to be in charge because
we have now defeated the regime that was there, and so we have responsibility,
the military commander, to secure the country and stabilize the country.

But
we all know that the U.N. has a vital role to play and we will be going
to the U.N. to determine what that role is and to get U.N. endorsement
for the new interim Iraqi authority. There is no disagreement between
the Pentagon and the State Department, because that is the President’s
policy and that is the policy we will be following.

And
in my conversation with the Foreign Minister, I made it clear that we
would welcome any contribution that Brazil wishes to make, and Brazil
will have an opportunity to see how the U.N. role is structured as we
move forward.

QUESTION:
Are you able now to support an altering of the permanent membership
of the Security Council of the U.N.?

SECRETARY
POWELL: Well, I think it’s a subject that comes up frequently, but we
have not had any conversations recently about changing the permanent
membership from its historic membership of the five countries from the
post-World War II period. And so whether that’s going to happen anytime
in the near future is still a question that hasn’t been dealt with.

There
have been many suggestions over the years that the membership of the
U.N., the permanent membership of the U.N., should be changed to reflect
more contemporary—a more contemporary situation than the situation
that existed at the end of World War II. But so far, those have just
been conversations, ideas; no real movement in that direction yet.

QUESTION:
Brazil is a candidate, a declared candidate. Would Brazil be able to
count on your support for its candidacy?

SECRETARY
POWELL: Oh, I could not possibly answer that question now until we see
what—if it was open for changing membership, who other candidates
might be. But I think certainly, in terms of its size, in terms of its
importance, in terms of the role that it plays not only in our hemisphere
but on the international stage, Brazil is a very important country that,
if we were going to open up membership, if the U.N. decided to do that,
it is certainly a country that would have to be looked at very carefully
for that purpose.

QUESTION:
What is, in your opinion, the role of Brazil in the hemisphere?

SECRETARY
POWELL: Brazil is, by virtue of its size, by virtue of its economy,
it is a major economic player in our hemisphere and it is also an example
to other nations in the hemisphere of a democratic system. We are working
very closely with President Lula. He and President Bush have already
established a good relationship.

We
are watching with great interest as he works on improving the economy
of Brazil and we are moved by his commitment to improving life for all
Brazilians, and especially his commitment to doing something about making
sure that every Brazilian has a decent meal and that you fix the agricultural
sector and you also fix the investment climate so that you can get greater
investment in Brazil, which of course will help the economy and ultimately
achieve the purpose that the President has, and that is for every Brazilian
to believe that he or she has a bright future and a future that includes
a good education, a good home, quality healthcare, and a meal on the
table, as President Lula is fond of saying.

QUESTION:
Finally, Mr. Secretary, I need to ask you what will be the international
repercussion if, by chance, the United States does not find weapons
of mass destruction and if the number of civilians killed in Iraq is
massive?

SECRETARY
POWELL: I am confident we will find weapons of mass destruction. There
is no doubt in my mind that this regime had such weapons. We have the
evidence. For the first several weeks of this campaign, the troops have
not been looking for weapons of mass destruction; they’ve been dealing
with the military forces of Iraq. Now that they are slowly being defeated,
we can turn our attention to looking for these systems which we know
have been well hidden and concealed over time. So I don’t think that
that will be an issue or a problem.

QUESTION:
Deaths of civilians?

SECRETARY
POWELL: There have been civilian deaths, but I think our record is very,
very clear here, and it’s a good record. We have done everything we
can to minimize loss of innocent life or [the destruction of] property.
We have gone after military targets. We have gone after command-and-control
targets. We have gone after leadership targets. People see on their
television lots of explosions in Baghdad, but the next day you find
the people of Baghdad walking around, going to markets, going to schools,
because they’ve learned that the U.S. is very selectively going after
targets.

Nevertheless,
accidents do happen, people do get injured and killed, and we regret
any loss of life. And we will take care of those who have been injured
and we regret the loss of life of those who died.

But
at the same time, let’s remember that under Saddam Hussein, a hundred
times more Iraqis were sent to their death, and not as a result of an
accident of war, but as a result of a deliberate policy of a dictator
who tortured them, who put them in prison, who allowed rape to be committed
indiscriminately.

And
so if there is concern about deaths among the people of Iraq, or children
who lost their lives because they weren’t being adequately fed over
these past years, the fault really rests with Saddam Hussein and the
nature of his regime and the way in which he terrorized the people of
Iraq. Those days are over. The people of Iraq welcomed the coalition
forces yesterday. The campaign isn’t over. There is still more fighting
to be done, more cities to be liberated.

But
yesterday in Baghdad, the whole world saw what the Iraqi people, what
the people of Baghdad, thought about Saddam Hussein and his regime when
they pulled down that statue with the help of a couple of American servicemen
who pulled up with their tracked vehicle. They didn’t need any guards.
They didn’t need any infantry battalions to protect them. The people
of Baghdad protected those young Americans as those young Americans
helped them pull down that statue.

And
with the coming down of that statue, we saw the coming down of a terrorizing
regime and we saw the opportunity for a new government to be created
that will be representative of its people and live in peace with its
neighbors and use the wealth of Iraq, its oil, to benefit the people
of Iraq.

QUESTION:
Thank you, sir.

 

This
material was distributed by the Office of International Information
Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov 

 

 

 

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