Secretary of state outlines Bush's second term foreign policy priorities

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U.S. Department of State

November 8, 2004

Global War on Terror Is Top U.S. Priority, Powell Says

The global war against terrorism, strengthening alliances and resolvingregional conflicts are foreign policy priorities of the Bush administration'ssecond term, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Briefing reporters November 8 en route to Mexico City, Mexico, to attend the21st meeting of the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission, Powell, in response to aquestion, outlined foreign policy priorities for the second Bush term.

"First and foremost, the Global War on Terror will remain a priority ofthe administration," said Powell.

This includes close cooperation with Pakistan to defeat the al-Qaida andTaliban elements that are working in the frontier areas of Pakistan, as well ascontinuing to fight those elements in Afghanistan that are trying to stopAfghanistan's progress toward democracy, Powell said.

"We will continue to consolidate the success that we have seen inAfghanistan as manifested in the presidential elections and get Afghanistanready for the parliamentary elections next Spring," Powell said. He addedthat the United States will continue to support Afghanistan's reconstructionactivities and efforts to resettle Afghan refugees who have returned to thecountry.

Calling Iraq a "major priority" for the second term, Powell saidthe United States is looking forward to the Iraqi elections in January 2005.Noting recent developments, he said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has agreedto increase the size of the U.N. presence in Iraq and that voter registrationpackages are being distributed.

"And, as you know, we have begun an operation in Fallujah today to takeback Fallujah and to defeat this hornet's nest of insurgent activity andterrorist activity [in Iraq]," added Powell.

On the Arab-Israeli conflict, Powell said: "the United States stands byto work very actively to get the Road Map moving forward."

Powell said the second Bush administration will continue to work tostrengthen U.S. alliances in Asia and Europe and enhance U.S. relations withIndia and Pakistan. Through having good relations with both India and Pakistan,the secretary explained, the United States aims to "serve a useful role asa friend" to both countries as they continue to reach out to each other andwork on the difficult issues outstanding between them.

Powell said President Bush wants to have a "strong relationship with allof our European friends and allies and notwithstanding any disagreements we havehad in the past."

Noting cooperation such as NATO support for training of Iraqi securitypersonnel, France's commanding of multilateral forces in Afghanistan and inKosovo, and the European Union's recent financial commitment for Iraq, Powellsaid he will be in Europe in the coming weeks to attend EU, NATO andOrganization for Security and Cooperation in Europe meetings, as well as otherbilateral meetings.

Powell also said the second Bush administration will continue to press inAfrica to resolve regional conflicts, in Sudan, Liberia, the Democratic Republicof the Congo, and Cote d'Ivoire.

On Sudan, the United States is "doing everything we can" toexpedite the arrival of the 5000-member African Union force into the Darfurregion, said Powell, adding that he is concerned the force in not beingintroduced as rapidly as necessary. Powell said the U.S. is watching verycarefully to make sure the Sudanese government does not "back off" or"start backsliding" on any of the openings they made to allow freemovement of goods and humanitarian supplies into the Darfur region. "Soyes, we are concerned. It's always a subject to be taken up again by the [U.N.Security] Council, but it's a very difficult issue," he said. "We willcontinue to press it."

"But there is a lot going on, and so much of it is positive and reallyis evidence of the president's National Security Strategy of reaching out, ofpartnerships, of open trade, of fighting disease, of fighting poverty, ofincreasing assistance to nations around the world," said Powell.

"Yes, I understand the importance of Iraq; I understand the overhangthat that and the Middle East have on how we are viewed in the world and theimpression that some people have of us," he said. "But, it's animpression that will change as we start showing our success such as the kind ofsuccess we showed in Afghanistan [recently]."

A transcript of the Powell press briefing is available at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/37926.htm