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07 September 2003

Powell Discusses Palestinian Authority Concerns

Remarks following "Face the Nation" interview Sept. 7

The United States hopes the Palestinian Legislative Council will give the next prime minister of the Palestinian Authority the political power and resources to stop terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Secretary of State Powell said in remarks to the press September 7 after an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Political authority and control over military forces and finances are critical for that individual to be "effective in bringing peace to the Palestinian people so that they are no longer contaminated in their desire for a Palestinian state by the activities of organizations such as Hamas," Powell said.

Following is a transcript of Powell's remarks, as released by the Department of State:

(begin transcript)

Remarks After His Interview with CBS's Face the Nation
Secretary Colin L. Powell
Washington, DC
September 7, 2003

QUESTION: My question is, after Mahmoud Abbas' resignation, is there another candidate the U.S. will be talking to, and is it feasible that someone else will come in after Yasser Arafat and still be effective?

SECRETARY POWELL: We are not selecting candidates for the position of Palestinian Prime Minister. This is something that the Palestinian people have to do through the Palestinian Legislative Council.

We hope that whoever is selected this time will be given political power and control of all of the security forces and complete control over the finances of the Palestinian Authority so that that individual can be effective, effective in going after terrorist organizations, effective in going after Hamas, and effective in bringing peace to the Palestinian people so that they are no longer contaminated in their desire for a Palestinian state by the activities of organizations such as Hamas.

We are pleased that the European Union, over the weekend, recognized the dangers with Hamas and all of its components, and no longer is making a distinction between its social, political and militant components.

We have to understand that Prime Minister Abbas ran into difficulties even though we had a pretty fair start on the roadmap, ran into difficulties because he did not get the political and the security ability to deal with Hamas. Let's not lose sight of the problem. The problem is terrorism and Hamas.

The roadmap is still intact. We believe it is the way forward -- no alternative to the roadmap -- and we hope that the PLC will have a response to the matter by coming up with a Prime Minister and empowering the Prime Minister with political power and military and police power to get the job done.

Thank you.

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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