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25 July 2002

Powell Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Reconstruction of Afghanistan

(Press conference with Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah in Washington
July 25) (2289)
Secretary of State Colin Powell has told visiting Afghan Foreign
Minister Abdullah Abdullah that the United States remains totally
committed to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
"I once again pledged to him [Abdullah] and through him to the people
of Afghanistan the United States will remain totally committed to the
reconstruction of this nation," Powell said in a joint press
conference with Abdullah in Washington July 25.
The U.S. government is working with the international community to
speed up the delivery of reconstruction and humanitarian aid in
Afghanistan and to make sure that the international donors who have
made promises to contribute to the Afghan reconstruction effort honor
their commitments, Powell said.
Powell praised the Afghan government for its increasing effectiveness
and expressed his personal regrets and the regrets of the United
States for the recent military accident in which U.S. soldiers
accidentally killed Afghan civilians.
Abdullah expressed gratitude for the support of the United States,
which he called "a great partner and great friend of the people of
(begin transcript)
Remarks with Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah of the Afghan
Transitional Authority of Afghanistan after their Meeting
Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
July 25, 2002
SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It was my
pleasure to receive this morning the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan,
my good friend and colleague, Minister Abdullah, and we have had a
good conversation. We have reviewed the situation in Afghanistan. I
once again pledged to him and through him to the people of Afghanistan
the United States will remain totally committed to the reconstruction
of this nation. We are pleased with the results of the recent Loya
Jirga, and I extended my congratulations to the Minister for the way
in which that was conducted.
And I also told him we are deeply engaged with our friends in the
international community, reviewing how to get the reconstruction aid
and the humanitarian aid delivered more rapidly and how we are working
hard to make sure that all those who have made commitments to the
reconstruction effort in the international community make good in
their commitment and send it as soon as possible because the need is
It's also noteworthy that the central government is becoming more
effective with each passing day. It's quite a challenge to go from a
standing start and put in place all of the systems necessary to run a
central administration. And I am very pleased that we are deeply
engaged in that effort with the Afghan Government, and with each
passing day, as the central government develops more capacity, it
makes it easier for us to deliver aid and provide the support that the
central government needs. And I hope that the people of Afghanistan
will see that their central government is the place to go for the
assistance they need, and it's where we are going to provide the
support that the Afghan people need.
And I also expressed my personal regrets as again the regrets of the
United States for the recent incident which took the lives of Afghan
citizens in the course of a military operation. I regret it happened.
These things do happen in times of conflict, but nevertheless, the
loss of life touches us all very deeply.
So Mr. Minister, it's a great pleasure to have you here, and I invite
you to say a word or two.
FOREIGN MINISTER ABDULLAH: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Yesterday
President Bush and today Secretary Powell reassured us of the
continued support by the United States to the efforts of our
government to ensure peace, a lasting peace and stability in our
country, as well as our efforts in the reconstruction of the country.
We count on the United States as a great partner and great friend of
the people of Afghanistan, and the partnership which really started
after September 11th has proved to be one of benefit -- a useful
partnership not only for Afghanistan, for the region, for the United
States and for our common interests, but for the global peace as a
And we expect that as a result of that partnership, Afghanistan will
become a model, that if a country which has been -- which has suffered
so much is given better chances and the people are given better
choices, they could choose better ways and better paths that not only
they will benefit from it, but also they can contribute to the entire
civilization and to the humanity as a whole.
I am grateful for the words of assurances and for the actions which
have been taken by the United States in all aspects which I mentioned.
Thank you.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you just referred to the loss of human life
in military actions, unintentional. There were human -- there were
lives lost when Israel executed a terror leader. I wondered if that's
-- if that causes second thoughts about the legality of using F-16
weapons. You're concerned, I understand -- could you speak to --
POWELL: We were concerned about that incident, and we expressed our
concern yesterday, both from the White House and from the State
Department. We are constantly reviewing the manner in which the
military equipment that we have provided to the State of Israel is
used. And in this case, in going after one particular individual in a
built-up area, a number of lives were lost, and I know the Israeli
Government is looking into that strike and how it was planned and how
it was directed.
QUESTION: Foreign Minister Abdullah, are you disappointed with the
rate of aid that has been getting in, particularly the reconstruction
aid that has been going into Afghanistan? And could you give us a
sense as to how much of the 1.8 billion that was supposed to be
allocated this year has actually gotten to Afghanistan and is being
put to use?
And for Secretary Powell, forgive me, sir, but when it's on the front
page of The New York Times, I have to ask you that question again.
Just this week, the Bush Administration decided not to continue
funding UNFP. This is something that you had expressed support for
fairly recently. In addition, Middle East policy, it's the same old
Sir, are you considering or have you considered at all the possibility
of resigning?
POWELL: No, you all insist on writing this story every two weeks. I
signed the certificate on the UNFPA earlier this week. The
administration supports the work of the UNFPA, but it has to be done
consistent with U.S. law. And I testified in support of that program
on behalf of the President and the administration. But when we
examined the program carefully and we sent a commission over, we found
aspects of Chinese Government policy that caused our review of the
entire situation to be consistent with the Kemp-Kasten legislation. I
spent a great deal of time studying it, and I certified on Sunday
evening that we could not meet the requirements of that legislation,
and therefore we would provide that $35 million to other activities of
a similar nature through USAID.
Let me point out that our level of support to these kinds of family
planning activities is higher than it's been in the past. It's up to
$480 million. And so we understand the importance of these kinds of
activities. But in this case, because of Chinese Government policies
in some places in China that penalized those who were having a child
by causing them to pay a fine of two to three times their annual
salary, we found that to be a coercive policy and put the program as
being inconsistent with the requirements of Kemp-Kasten.
Now for all of the resignation stories, I don't know. I can go back
and do a Lexis-Nexis, and you've been doing them every two weeks since
I came in here last year, but I'm sure you'll continue to do them.
It's great reading.
ABDULLAH: And I already answered your question when the plane was
flying over. (Laughter.)
Most of the places which were named in Tokyo Conference, out of it
$660 million dollars have been disbursed. While majority of it, like
80 percent of it has been in terms of humanitarian assistances through
international organizations, UN agencies and NGOs, in terms of huge
reconstruction assistances, very little has reached to Afghanistan. It
is not being disappointed by that fact, but it sort of shows that we
have we have to focus on this issue, and we were assured by Secretary
Powell today, and yesterday by the President himself, by the
continuation of the efforts not only in part of the United States, but
U.S. role in encouraging other donors to make their commitments.
Yesterday we had good news from Brussels. European Union has pledged
another 70 million Euros. That's of course subject to the approval by
the European Parliament. Here in Washington, as well, there is the
issue of 150 million supplementary assistances, which is subject to
the Congress approval, which we hope that this week we have good news
from Washington or next week good news from Washington. But the
important thing is that the international community, as our friends,
and we, as Afghans and authorities in Afghanistan, we have to seize
this opportunity.
The people of Afghanistan have to see the changes in their lives,
which has not taken place yet. They have to see projects which they
can work in at, the projects which create jobs for the people and make
changes in the whole situation.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, as you prepare to leave for Asia and your
trip will include India and Pakistan, the attacks in India still
continues. So, and also --
POWELL: I'm sorry, the --
QUESTION: The attacks in India and Kashmir still continues, because
there was another grenade attack yesterday. And the terrorists are
saying that they will continue attacks in Kashmir. One, what would you
achieve this time, because you have been there for two times and also
your Deputy from the Defense and all that, and so on. So what is your
mission at this time? And finally, if you are also flying or going to
Kashmir. And if Mr. Foreign Minister also would like to comment on the
POWELL: I'm going to India and Pakistan to review our bilateral
relations with each one of them. We have good relations with India and
with Pakistan and it's important for the Secretary of State to
regularly travel to those two very important countries to review the
state of our relations. Of course, I will also talk about the current
tension in the region. There has been some reduction in infiltrations
across the line of control, but it is still unfortunately the case
that there is violence. There is terrorist violence that takes place.
And in my conversations with the Indians and the Pakistanis, I will
see if there are any other actions that can be taken that will reduce
the level of violence or the potential for violence, and I'm sure we
will have discussions on the possibility of a dialogue at some point
in the future between the two sides that will deal with the question
of Kashmir.
ABDULLAH: Of course, as a country which has been ravaged by war, we
would like to see tensions decreased in all these regions and our
neighboring countries. That's, of course, not only to the interest of
both countries but to the interest of the whole region. And we will be
affected by the rising of tensions between two countries. We would
like to see an end to the conflict in that part of the world and an
end which will be acceptable for both sides. That's our position.
POWELL: Thank you.
ABDULLAH: Thank you.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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