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Homeland Security

11 February 2003

Powell Budget Remarks Focus on Anti-Terror Campaign

(Alludes to alleged bin Laden tape) (6970)
Secretary of State Colin Powell told a Senate panel February 11 that
containment efforts are not sufficient to disarm Iraq of its weapons
of mass destruction and will not prevent such weapons from falling
into the hands of al-Qaida and other non-state terrorist
Testifying on the Bush administration's international affairs budget
for fiscal year 2004, Powell bolstered his argument by citing a
transcript of a newly released audio tape that appears to show
al-Qaida leader Usama bin Laden addressing the Iraqi people.
Powell told senators the transcript is of remarks made by "bin Laden
-- or who we believe to be bin Laden" in which "once again, he speaks
to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in
partnership with Iraq."
"This nexus between terrorists and states that are developing weapons
of mass destruction can no longer be looked away from and ignored,"
Powell said.
The alleged bin Laden tape was aired by the al-Jazeera Middle East
broadcasting network later in the day.
Powell said the linkages between Iraq and terrorist organizations "are
not as firm as some would like to see" but he described them as "firm
enough" to convince U.S. officials that if Saddam Hussein's regime
were to remain in power it would eventually share chemical, biological
and other weapons with terrorist groups who aim to use them against
the United States.
"It is just a matter of time before coincident interests between the
Iraqi regime and organizations such as al-Qaida will raise the
likelihood that these kinds of weapons could fall into their hand,"
Powell said. "And it is that nexus, especially in the post-9/11
environment, that persuades us even more that this is the time to deal
with this regime once and for all.
Powell said that while "much is being said about disagreement in
NATO," regarding Turkey's request for defense assistance, he
underlined that 16 NATO members back Turkey's request while three --
France, Germany and Russia -- oppose it.
"I think that this is time for the alliance to say to a fellow
alliance member, 'We agree with you. And if you are concerned, we are
concerned,'" Powell said. "That's what alliances are all about and I
hope NATO will be doing the right thing with respect to Turkey within
the next 24 hours."
Powell also discussed the U.S. approach to North Korea's recent
renunciations of its nuclear non-proliferation agreements, saying that
Washington remains committed to finding a diplomatic solution within a
multilateral framework.
The situation in North Korea "is a regional problem and affects more
than the United States," Powell said. "It affects China. It affects
Russia. It affects Japan. It affects South Korea. ... And we believe
those nations should be part of this solution."
Following is the transcript of Powell's opening remarks to the Senate
Budget Committee:
(Note: In the transcript "billion" means 1,000 million.)
(begin transcript)
Office of the Spokesman
Opening Remarks by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
Before the Senate Budget Committee
February 11, 2003
As Delivered
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I thank you,
also, Senator Conrad, for your opening remarks and I will get to all
of those questions in the course of my opening remarks.
Mr. Chairman, I do have a statement for the record and would like to
submit it at this time and then go to a shortened presentation. And at
the end of this shortened presentation, I will talk to the questions
raised by Senator Conrad.
SECRETARY POWELL: Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I am
pleased to appear before you to testify in support of the President's
International Affairs Budget for Fiscal Year 2004. The funding
requested for Fiscal Year 2004 for the Department of State, USAID and
other foreign affairs agencies is $28.5 billion.
Let me say at this point, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee,
how deeply appreciative I and all of my colleagues in the Department
of State and USAID are for the support that this Committee has
provided to us during the last two years, the first two years of the
Bush Administration, and it has been a source of real encouragement to
the people of the Department to know that we are making the case to
the Congress that we need this kind of support, we are deserving of
this kind of support, but more importantly, we are receiving the
support we need to take the case of the American people out to the
world and to support our diplomats who are on the frontline of offense
with respect to our foreign policy and to taking the American case to
the people of the world. And in light of what Senator Conrad said,
never has it been more important for us to be giving that kind of
support to our diplomatic efforts out and across the world.
Mr. Chairman, the President's budget of $28.5 billion will allow the
United States to first target security and economic assistance to
sustain key countries supporting us in the war on terrorism and
helping us to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
It will help us launch the Millennium Challenge Account, a new
partnership generating support for countries that rule justly, invest
in their people and encourage economic freedom, strengthen the U.S.
and global commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS and alleviating
humanitarian hardships; next, combat illegal drugs in the Andean
Region of South America, as well as bolster democracy in one of that
region's most important countries, Colombia. And finally, reinforce
America's world-class diplomatic force, focusing on the people, places
and tools needed to promote our foreign policies around the world.
I'm particularly proud of that last goal, Mr. Chairman, because for
the past two years, I have concentrated on each of my jobs, first, as
Primary Foreign Policy Advisor to the President, but also as Chief
Executive Officer of the Department. And under my CEO hat, we are
asking for about $8.5 billion within that $28.5 billion for running of
the Department.
Let me give you some highlights of what these funds are for. First, we
have been reinforcing our diplomatic force for two years and will
continue in Fiscal Year 2004. We will hire 399 more professionals to
help the President carry out the nation's foreign policy. This hiring
will bring us to the 1100 plus new Foreign and Civil Service Officers
we set out to hire over the first three years of the Bush
Administration to bring the Department's personnel back in line with
its diplomatic workload.
For a period during the 1990s, we were not hiring anyone, Foreign
Service or Civil Service. We were not administering the Foreign
Service Exam. It was a very unfortunate period for the Department. New
blood wasn't being brought into the Department. If you want to have a
career ambassador 15 years from now, you've got to hire one today. If
you want to have the right kinds of people in your embassies years
from now, you've got to hire them today.
It's the same concept that I followed when I was Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff. If I want a great battalion commander 15 years from
now, you've got to bring in a second lieutenant now. If you want squad
leaders to lead young Americans in battle six, seven years from now,
you've got to bring in a private now. We shortchanged the Department
and it has been my number one priority to fix that problem by bringing
in wonderful young people who want to serve their nation as diplomats
or as civil servants within the Department of State.
And I am proud of what we have been able to do. Over the last two
years, we have administered the Foreign Service written exam to some
80,000 Americans who stepped forward and said I want to be part of
this operation. This is multiples of what we had been able to do in
past recent years before this administration came in. The last Foreign
Service exam that was administered, the written exam, some 38 percent
of the passes, people who passed the exam, were minorities. So we are
diversifying our workforce. We're making the Foreign Service
increasingly look like America, and, frankly, look like the rest of
the world. And that sends a powerful signal to the rest of the world.
But there's no point in me giving these exams and encouraging people
and reaching out to the minority community to come and apply if I
can't hire them at the end of the day. So I thank the Congress and
especially the members of this committee for the support you have
provided to that diplomatic readiness initiative.
Second, I promised to the employees of the Department that we would
bring state-of-the-art communications and information capability and
technology to the Department because people who can't communicate
rapidly and effectively in today's globalizing world can't carry out
our foreign policy. We are approaching our goal in that regard as
For example, when I spoke at the UN last week, within minutes after my
speech was finished, we were transmitting it in all sorts of different
languages to every point on the face of the earth. All of our
embassies were getting in real-time information on the speech, the
visuals that I used, backup material, so that our ambassadors could
immediately go out and explain our position around the world. As I
have discussed with my staff the morning after my speech, one of the
most impressive things about the speech was the audience and the size
of the audience listening to it, all in real-time. And there was one
picture in one of the newspapers -- I forget whether it was The New
York Times or The Washington Post -- of a group of Marine aviators
sitting on an aircraft carrier in their ready seats looking at the
screen, and there I was on the screen. That kind of, you know, snapped
me back.
The point is, they're not waiting for somebody to write the story,
they're not waiting for one of the learned talking heads to tell them
what they should have heard or seen or analyzed. They were watching me
in real-time instantaneously. So, increasingly, knowledge and
information is being communicated directly to consumers
instantaneously. We all know this phenomenon. Call it what you will --
24-7, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, you name it, radio, instant wire service
information. But that's the way we communicate to the world right now:
instantaneously, directly to the consumer.
And we have to make sure that that information technology is also
available to all of our diplomats, all of our embassies, every action
officer, every desk officer, everywhere in the Department of State.
And so I will not be satisfied until every employee of the Department
of State at every one of our 200-odd installations around the world
have instantaneous access to the Internet and to the world of modern
communications. And with your support, we're going to make that
And it goes to one of the points that Senator Conrad made earlier:
getting the message out and dealing with anti-Americanism when we find
it by getting out our product and our message as fast as possible.
The daily message line that is coming out of our new strategic
communications operation run from the White House, that daily message
sheet I'm now having distributed to every single embassy, every single
facility around the world, as soon as we get it from the White House
and as soon as we add our own product to it. So we're not sitting
around punching up cables on teletype machines any more. Scan it and
send it and let's get going. Let's get it out there and let's expect
our people to know what we know here in Washington as fast as we know
And as I say to all of my ambassadors, I want you to use it coming
back the same way. You're my experts. You're my battalion commanders.
Tell me what's going on out in those countries. I'm counting on you,
not just the expert within the Department on C Street. And this
information technology knits us all together. We've got a first class,
world class website now that gets more and more hits every single day,
trying to make it more lively, more interesting to people. Ambassador
Boucher, my Spokesman, is here. He is the face of the Department of
State as you see him brief every day. But I told him I'm tired of
seeing his face on the website. It's either my face or his face on the
website. And usually, it's his face more than my face, which is also
disturbing. (Laughter.)
I told him I didn't want to see either one of our faces on the
website. I want to see our diplomats. I want to see the people who
work for us. I want to see exciting different things that are
happening around the world. I want people to go to that website and
see the central font of knowledge about what's going on in the world
presented to you by your Department of State.
So let's put the kids that we bring in to mentor on the website. Let's
put what one of our ambassadors is doing to help people in need in a
particular country. But let's mix it up. Let's make it lively. Let's
use information technology to take America's story to the world, not
as a lecturing way of taking our story to the world, but just showing
who we are, what we stand for, how we care about the world, talking
about HIV/AIDS, talking about poverty, talking about the need to feed
people throughout the world these days, and taking that values system
through the power of information technology. But I need the money to
do it and I thank this committee, and I thank the Congress for
supporting me in that effort.
Finally, with respect to my CEO role, I wanted to sweep the slate
clean and completely revamp the way we construct our embassies and
other overseas buildings, as well as improve the way we secure those
buildings and, in turn then, secure the men and women who occupy them
and take care of their family members in our embassies around the
world. It's dangerous business out there. It's dangerous. I lost three
of the members of our State Department family last year. And we put
them in danger and we have an obligation to protect them to the best
of our ability.
I think when I first took over as Secretary of State and during some
of my transitions discussions with members of this committee, we had
extensive discussions about how to build embassies, how to build them
cheaper, how to build them better, how to make sure the system was
efficient, make sure we're not wasting the taxpayers' dollars, but
make sure we're doing it right. I'm very pleased at what we've been
able to accomplish over the last two years. General Chuck Williams,
who you've heard me brag about before this committee, who is in charge
of our Overseas Building Operation, he and his team are doing a great
job in getting the cost down and rationalizing our entire management
structure for overseas building facilities, and I think we have a good
record to present to the committee, and I know the committee has
followed this very, very closely as well. I'm pleased that we've
gotten on top of that situation.
Mr. Chairman, as principal foreign policy advisor, my other hat for
the President and the principal hat, I have budget priorities in that
portfolio as well. And let me highlight our key foreign policy
priorities before I stop and take your questions. And while I am
talking about foreign policy, I wanted to ask the members of this
committee for their strong support -- and I hope you will all find
your way clear to vote for the Moscow Treaty that is now out of
committee and will be on the floor in the very near future. I would
sure like to see a 100-0 vote for that treaty. It's a good treaty. It
serves the interests of the American people as well as the people of
the Russian Federation, and I believe the world.
Mr. Chairman, the 2004 Budget proposes several initiatives to advance
U.S. national security interests and preserve American leadership. The
2004 Foreign Operations Budget that funds programs for the Department
of State, USAID and other foreign affairs agencies is $18.8 billion of
the 28.5 total.
Today, our number one priority is to fight and win the global war on
terrorism. If the budget furthers this goal by providing economic,
military and democracy assistance to key foreign partners and allies,
including $4.7 billion to countries that have joined us in the war on
terrorism, of this amount, the President's budget provides $657
million for Afghanistan, $460 million for Jordan, $395 million for
Pakistan, $255 million for Turkey, $136 million for Indonesia and $87
million for the Philippines.
In Afghanistan, the funding will be used to fulfill our commitment to
rebuild Afghanistan's road network. In addition, it will establish
security through a national military and national police force,
establish broad-based and accountable governance through democratic
institutions and an active civil society, ensure a peace dividend for
the Afghan people through economic reconstruction, and provide
humanitarian assistance to sustain returning refugees and displaced
persons. The United States' assistance will continue to be coordinated
with the Afghan Government, the United Nations and other international
Now, that's bureaucratic language. The reality is, we have done one
heck of a job in Afghanistan. Some problems are not all behind us.
That is, there's still a fragile situation, but we can be very proud
of the fact that over the last 16 or 18 months, we have now seen a
government take over, getting ready for the election next year. We
have seen a national army start to form. And this morning I was
reading through my briefing materials how these battalions that were
trained are now starting to go to other parts of the country outside
of Kabul and starting to make their presence known; starting to put
the imprint of the central government on the rest of Afghanistan. A
national police force is being brought up. A judicial system is slowly
being created. Institutions are being formed. The road is under
And it's not just a road. It is more than a road. It is a line of
communication that allows the exertion of central control over other
parts of the country because there's a road. Commerce will flow.
People can get around. Displaced people, refugees coming back into the
country can now move. So all sorts of good things will happen with
this road.
There are still dangers in Afghanistan. Operation Enduring Freedom
will continue to go after al-Qaida and Taliban remnants, but we have
accomplished a great deal and we should be proud of the work that we
have done working alongside coalition members, working alongside ISAF,
working alongside United Nations' organizations, a great deal has been
accomplished. You can see it in the eyes of the children who are now
being educated, and you can see it in the eyes of women who are now
playing a role in the life and in the future of Afghanistan.
Mr. Chairman, I also want to emphasize our efforts to decrease the
threats posed by terrorist groups, rogue states, and other non-state
actors with regard to weapons of mass destruction and related
technology. To achieve this goal, we must strengthen partnerships with
countries that share our views in dealing with the threat of terrorism
and resolving regional conflicts.
The 2004 budget requests $35 million for the nonproliferation and
disarmament fund -- more than double the 2003 request. It increases
funding for overseas export controls and border security to $40
million and supports additional funding for science centers and
bio-chem redirection programs.
The funding increases requested for these programs will help us
prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of
terrorist groups or states by preventing their movement across borders
and by destroying or safeguarding known quantities of weapons or
source material, especially in the Russian Federation, the former
Soviet Union.
The science centers and bio-chem redirection programs support the same
goals by engaging former Soviet weapons scientists and engineers in
peaceful scientific activities, providing them an alternative to
marketing their skills to states or groups of concerns. Give them a
healthy, positive alternative and keep them from thinking in any way
about going to those states or those non-state actors who might be
working on weapons of mass destruction.
The budget also promotes international peace and prosperity by
launching the most innovative approach to U.S. foreign assistance in
more than 40 years. The new Millennium Challenge Account, an
independent government corporation funded at $1.3 billion will
redefine what development aid is all about.
As President Bush told African leaders meeting in Mauritius, recently,
"This aid will go to nations that encourage economic freedom, that
root out corruption and that respect the rights of their people."
Moreover, this budget offers hope and a helping hand to countries
facing health catastrophes, poverty and despair -- those countries who
are suffering from the effects of humanitarian disasters.
The budget includes, in addition to the other things I've talked
about, more than $1 billion to meet the needs of refugees and
internally displaced persons. The budget also provides more than $1.3
billion to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. The President's total
budget for HIV/AIDS is $2 billion, which include the first year's
funding for the new emergency plan for HIV/AIDS relief announced by
the President in his State of the Union address. These funds will
target 14 of the hardest hit countries in Africa and the Caribbean.
This budget also includes almost $.5 billion for Colombia. This
funding will support Colombian President Uribe's unified campaign
against terrorists and the drug trade that fuels terrorist activity.
The aim is to secure democracy, extend security, and restore economic
prosperity to Colombia, and prevent the narco-terrorists from
spreading instability to the broader Andean Region.
To accomplish this goal, excuse me, requires more than simply funding
for Colombia. Therefore, our total Andean Counter-drug Initiative is
$731 million. Critical components of this effort include resumption of
the Air Bridge Denial Program to stop internal and cross-border aerial
trafficking in illicit drugs, stepped up eradication and alternative
development program efforts, and technical assistance to strengthen
Colombia's police and judicial institutions.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, to advance America's interest
around the world, we need the dollars in the President's Budget for
Fiscal Year 2004. We need the dollars under both of my hats, CEO and
principal foreign policy advisor. The times we live are in trouble, to
be sure, as was noted earlier. I believe there is every bit as much
opportunity as there is danger in the days ahead. American leadership
is essential with both the danger and the opportunity. With regard to
the Department of State, the President's FY 2004 Budget is crucial in
order for us to exercise the leadership that will deal with the
dangers and the opportunities.
Before closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to pause and comment to
some extent on the issues raised by Senator Conrad. First, with
respect to Iraq. Why doesn't containment work? Containment is a
strategy that we have followed for many, many years. I have been an
advocate of containment. I worked very hard the first year and a half
of this administration to put in place smart sanctions, another form
of containment. Yet we found that even with all of these containment
efforts of the past 12 years, they have not served to stop Saddam
Hussein in his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction or to encourage
him to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction that we know he has.
Notwithstanding all our efforts at containment, we see evidence that
he continues to try to break out of the box. Containment was able to
control some of the money that's going to the regime through the
Oil-for-Food program, but he is still able to get additional money
through smuggling activities and illicit activities across the borders
of neighboring states.
And what really brought this all home to roost that we couldn't just
rely on containment was after 9/11 we see these non-state actors,
terrorist organizations -- Al-Qaida, bin Laden, others -- terrorists
that are trying to develop weapons of mass destruction, seek weapons
of mass destruction.
This morning, it was brought home to me once again when I read the
transcript of what bin Laden, or who we believe to be bin Laden, will
be saying on Al-Jazeera during the course of the day -- and you'll be
seeing this as the day unfolds -- where once again he speaks to the
people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in
partnership with Iraq. This nexus between terrorists and states that
are developing weapons of mass destruction can no longer be looked
away from and ignored. As the President has said, 9/11 changed things.
And so we have a regime led by Saddam Hussein who has not accounted
for all the weapons of mass destruction they've had in the past, who
continues to pursue them, and we have non-state terrorist actors such
as al-Qaida, led by Usama bin Laden, that would do anything to get
their hands on this kind of material.
And as I tried to demonstrate before the United Nations last week,
there are linkages. They are not as firm as some would like to see in
order to conclude that it is actually happening, but they are firm
enough to give us every indication and sufficient evidence that if
allowed to continue, if this regime was allowed to continue to develop
weapons of mass destruction, it is just a matter of time before
coincident interests between the Iraqi regime and organizations such
as al-Qaida will raise the likelihood that these kinds of weapons
could fall into their hand. And it is that nexus, especially in the
post-9/11 environment, that persuades us even more that this is the
time to deal with this regime once and for all.
This is not just the isolated view of the United States of America. We
brought this case to the Security Council last September 12th when the
President, in response to people all over the world saying, "If you
have a case, bring it to the Security Council, bring it to the United
Nations." And the President did just that. He didn't act unilaterally.
He came to the Security Council and made the pitch that Saddam
Hussein, notwithstanding containment, after 12 years, was still in
clear violation of his obligations.
And then the President charged me to work with the Security Council to
come up with a strong resolution that would be a different resolution,
not like all of the previous 16, a resolution that had teeth. We
worked for seven and a half weeks on that problem and we came up with
a resolution, 1441, that was unanimously agreed to by every member of
the Security Council that was sitting there on the morning of the 8th
of November.
And that resolution clearly says: one, Iraq is guilty, you've been
doing this, you're in material breach, we all agree. All of us agreed
on that morning that Iraq continued to be in material breach of his
obligations, meaning it was guilty of having weapons of mass
destruction, of not having accounted for the anthrax, for the
botulinum toxin, for the missiles, for all the other programs, for the
nuclear program -- all the other things they've been doing. We all
The second thing the resolution said was we're giving you one last
chance, one last chance to come into compliance, one last chance. Not
one of ten more chances. One last chance. Put forward a declaration in
30 days that tells us everything you've been doing. Make sure it is
complete, full and accurate. All 15 members voted for Iraq to put
forward such a declaration.
And then it said we are going to provide a rigid inspection regime,
not to play detective running all over Iraq looking for these things,
but to work with you in disarming the obligation, and the burden is on
Iraq, not on the inspectors.
And finally, we said if you fail to put forward a full, complete and
accurate declaration, and if you do not cooperate with the inspectors
in helping you to disarm, then this will constitute further evidence
of your unwillingness to comply, your ignoring of the will of the
international community. New material breaches to pile on top of old
material breaches.
And at that point, the Security Council has a responsibility to meet
again to consider what serious consequences might be appropriate. We
are reaching that moment. We are reaching the moment when the Security
Council can no longer look away. The inspectors have reported to the
Council on the 27th of January past that Iraq was only providing
passive cooperation. Dr. Blix said on the 27th of January that Iraq
still does not yet understand, as of that day, that its obligation was
to disarm. Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei have now returned from Iraq on
their weekend trip and they'll be reporting to the Council this
Friday. We all anxiously await their report.
There are some on the Security Council, there are some in the
international community, who are saying, well, we just need more
monitors. Dr. Blix dealt with that yesterday when asked about it. Dr.
Blix said -- not Colin Powell, not President Bush -- Dr. Blix said we
don't need more monitors and inspectors, we need Iraq compliance and
cooperation. That's the issue, not more inspectors, not more technical
means. All the technical means and all the inspectors in the world
aren't the answer. The answer is Iraqi compliance, Iraqi full, active,
complete cooperation.
And if we had that, we could probably do with fewer inspectors because
we would not be running around looking for needles in haystacks. The
haystacks would be brought before the inspectors and peeled apart to
show you where the needle is or where the needle was and what happened
to the needle that used to be there. That's not what we're getting
from Iraq. And so while this debate continues, and it is a very
vigorous debate, a debate with some of our best friends and allies,
reasonable people can argue and debate over this issue, but it is
clear that a moment of truth is coming with respect to Iraq and with
respect to the Security Council as to whether it will meet its
This is not just an academic exercise or the United States being in a
fit of pique. We're talking about real weapons. We're talking about
anthrax. We're talking about botulinum toxin. We're talking about
nuclear weapons programs. We're talking about chemically filled bombs
that are missing and unaccounted for, that Iraq has not accounted for.
We're talking about evidence that came from Iraq they acknowledged and
admitted under duress and after pressure was applied to them and after
the truth was put in front of their face. They acknowledged that these
systems existed, and they have not accounted for them.
The United States will not look away from this challenge. And guess
what? Nor will many of our friends and allies who, perhaps, are not
being heard quite as vigorously as other friends and allies. A group
of eight European nations stepped forward not too long ago and
expressed their support for President Bush's approach.
Last Wednesday after I spoke before the United Nations, the Vilnius
10, some of the newer free nations in the United States -- in Europe
that have a clear understanding of what the future holds and why these
dangers have to be dealt with also stepped forward and expressed their
Much is being said this morning about disagreement in NATO as to
whether or not our Turkish friends and our Turkish ally, our Turkish
NATO colleague should be given support in this time of danger. And
three of the European nations in NATO are saying, "Well, let's not do
it at this time." But 16 nations are saying we should do it at this
time. And so while we're hearing a lot about the three, let's remember
16 nations, to include, of course, Turkey and the United States, have
stood up for Turkey.
Turkey has now said under Article 4 to the alliance, "We want to
consult with the alliance as to what our needs might be." I think that
this is time for the alliance to say to a fellow alliance member, "We
agree with you. And if you are concerned, we are concerned." That's
what alliances are all about and I hope NATO will be doing the right
thing with respect to Turkey within the next 24 hours.
With respect to North Korea, Senator, we are following this situation
very, very closely. It is not in a second to your position. But it is
not a 12-year problem as we had with Iraq, with Iraq invading its
neighbors, with Iraq using chemicals against its own people and its
neighbors. This is a problem that emerged in recent months. We have
been working it for just about three months now.
For a period of years, the international community had been led to
believe that North Korea was acting in a way consistent with its
obligations under a variety of agreements, a North-South Agreement of
the early '90s between North and South Korea where both sides agreed
in writing that they would not pursue nuclear weapons. But North Korea
was pursuing them. And then the Agreed Framework of 1994 where North
Korea agreed to cap its activities with respect to reprocessing
material into useable plutonium for nuclear weapons at the site known
as Yongbyon. And that was an agreement. And then between 1994 through
the fall of 2000, other statements and agreements were entered into
between the United States and North Korea. In the fall of 2000,
President Clinton issued a statement that essentially said that the
United States had no intention, hostile intention toward North Korea
and assumed North Korea was following its obligations with respect to
nuclear weapons.
The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty dealt with this. The IAEA was
dealing with this. And then we came into office in early 2001, we took
a long time to examine our policy with respect to North Korea because
we were concerned about their proliferation activity. We were
concerned about their sale of missile technology and what they were
doing. And then after a long review, President Bush authorized me to
begin engagement with North Korea. But it was about that same time
that intelligence information became available to us, we could put it
all together now and see that while everybody was looking at Yongbyon
as having been sealed up, North Korea was pursuing nuclear weapons
through another technology, enriched uranium.
And so everything they had been assuring us about turned out to be not
a good enough assurance. They were working somewhere else. And so we
could have ignored it, we could have looked another way, let's not
have a problem, let's not have a crisis, let's not call them on it. We
I met with the North Korea Foreign Minister. This business about we
won't talk to them -- I talked to them in Brunei the end of July last
year. I asked if he'd like to have a cup of coffee, he agreed. We sat,
we talked, I said, "Look. We want to do things for your country. Your
people are hurting. But we need to deal with some issues having to do
with proliferation and nuclear weapons and the size of the army that
you have hanging over the 38th parallel. These are issues we will
bring to the table, and we want to have a bold approach as to how we
might be able to help you."
He said, "Fine. Let's talk." We then sent Assistant Secretary Kelly in
after a few weeks. It took a while because there was a small problem
in the region and we had to let that calm down. Assistant Secretary
Kelly went in, but he had to say to them right up front that we know
about this enriched uranium facility and program that you've got
going. They were stunned that we knew it and we would faced them with
it. And they thought about it overnight and came back the next day and
said, "Yeah. We have it. We do it. We do it. We are trying to develop
the capability." They acknowledged it. We had to take that into
And they essentially said, "What are you going to do about it?" And
what we said is, "This is not acceptable. It puts the whole Agreed
Framework and all of the other agreements that you entered into at
risk. And it's not going to get you anywhere. We will not be cowed
into giving you a new document or a new statement simply because you
have agreed, you have admitted this. So let's find a way to discuss
this and let's find a way to move forward, but you must be held to
account for these actions."
And so over the last several months we have been engaged with the
international community, we have called upon the IAEA to meet its
responsibilities and they did. The Board of Governors called North
Korea to account for its actions. North Korea responded by unsealing
Yongbyon. And the Board of Governors of the IAEA will meet again in
Vienna tomorrow to see what further action might be required.
We have said to the North Koreans we have no intention of invading or
attacking North Korea. We have no interest in that. But we will defend
our interests, and we have all of our options available to us. The
option we're pushing is a diplomatic one. And we want to do it within
a multilateral framework. Why not a multilateral framework? We're
forever being accused of being unilateralist. And now when I want to
be multilateralist, people are saying, "No, be unilateralist."
But it is a regional problem and affects more than the United States.
It affects China. It affects Russia. It affects Japan. It affects
South Korea. It affects other nations in the region. And we believe
those nations should be part of this solution. We cannot, once again,
have a solution that involves some direct engagement between the
United States but does not include the rest of the region. The rest of
the region can play a role in giving North Korea the kinds of security
guarantees it is seeking, but at the same time making sure that this
time we remove nuclear weapons as a threat in the Korean Peninsula and
do everything we can to help the people of North Korea overcome the
economic problems they have -- the problems of starvation and
deprivation that is affecting their people in such a negative way and
see if we can help them, help this society to deal with their problems
and see if we can help them with the transformation that's going to be
necessary for them to deal with their problems.
There is a tide of anti-Americanism, and there still is a threat from
al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden. But our attention has not been diverted.
Every morning the President starts out thinking about and talking to
his senior advisors about al-Qaida, what they are doing, and the
threats that we are facing. We can handle more than one issue at a
time and I think we are doing it rather well.
There is anti-Americanism out there, but there is also a groundswell
of support for America. We are having difficulties right now with
respect to some of our policies. There are concerns about our policies
in the Middle East. The President intends to engage in the Middle East
more aggressively than we have been able to in the past now that the
Israeli election is over and now that one way or the other we're going
to deal with weapons of mass destruction with respect to Iraq.
I think that the current problems we're having with respect to
anti-Americanism can be dealt with and can be reversed and changed as
we move through to the conclusion of this issue with Iraq, and as we
engage more fully on the Middle East peace process. So I think there
is still that, that groundswell of support for America even though we
are running through some difficult times right now with respect to
some of our policies.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, forgive me for taking so
long with this opening statement, but Senator Conrad, I won't say
"asked for it," but invited it. (Laughter.)
(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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