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EXCERPTS: ISRAEL "SECURITY FENCE" - Secretary Colin L. Powell Interview by Radio Sawa (U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE) Washington, DC 8/04/03 3:36 p.m. EDT) Source: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2003/23005.htm
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QUESTION: Thank you. If I may ask you about Saudi Arabia. Since the Khobar bombing, way before the September 11, we here in Washington would read reports that the Saudi Government is not cooperating. We hear officials saying, yes, they are; and then we hear unnamed officials saying they are not.
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And then, recently, after September 11th, the Riyadh bombing, people are saying the Saudis are now more cooperating. Until recently also, the Congressional Report and the classified section, there is a lot of, you know, kind of vague issues going on. What's going on with Saudi Arabia?
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SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I am a named official, not an unnamed official. And I can tell you that there is good cooperation with the Saudis, and the cooperation has improved markedly in recent months. All one has to do is follow the news and you can see that the Saudis are arresting terrorists. They are finding caches of weapons and ammunition that were intended to conduct terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
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They were at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit last -- month before last, when they committed themselves to stop funding those organizations that have anything to do with any kind of terrorist activities anywhere. I think this all shows an improving level of cooperation. There are always more things that all of us can do. And when we find areas where we believe the Saudis can do more, we will bring it to their attention, do bring it to their attention, and we have been pleased with their response.
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QUESTION: Can you name anything that the Saudi -- that you would love the Saudis to do and they are not doing it today?
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SECRETARY POWELL: No, frankly, everything that I have presented to them or my colleagues have presented to them, they have responded to. I think they have been especially aggressive, since they had the bombing of facilities in Saudi Arabia back in May. And I think they have turned their full attention and energy to that.
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We still are -- you know, we still have issues, with respect to financing, and how money gets to charitable organizations, the financing of madarsas. But I think we are in good conversation with our Saudi friends about that. And, as you know, the Foreign Minister was here last week, Prince Saud, and we had good discussions with him.
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QUESTION: On the issue of tourism, Mr. Secretary, since the Department of State started publishing that list of state sponsors of terrorism until today, yet to see one nation graduating out of that list. Don't you think it's time to review that policy? You know, it seems that those countries that are listed on the list have managed to co-exist with being on that list.
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SECRETARY POWELL: Well, Iraq is no longer on it.
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QUESTION: But we had to remove the regime.
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SECRETARY POWELL: Well, that's one way to graduate. The easy way to graduate and to not be on that list is to stop sponsoring terrorists. And those nations that remain on the list continue to have a record of supporting organizations -- Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a number of others, that support terrorist activities, terrorist activities that make it difficult to reach a peace agreement in the Middle East, terrorist activities that continue to give haven to terrorists who threaten civilized nations.
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And as long as these nations continue to support that kind of activity or do not account for past terrorist actions they have been involved in, then I think it is quite appropriate for them to remain on that list. It is not a list we take any joy in keeping. We would hope that all nations would abandon terrorism as a form of political activity and remove any justification for terrorist actions, and that such a list would not be necessary. But the list has served a useful purpose in showing to the world that there are those nations that support terrorist activities that put civilized nations and innocent civilians at risk.
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QUESTION: Final question. Can you please state what is our stated policy towards the fence that the Israelis are building right now?
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SECRETARY POWELL: You know a nation is authorized and it is within its rights to put up a fence, as it sees the need for one. But in the case of the Israeli fence, we are concerned when the fence crosses over on to the land of others, and if it is constructed in a way which makes it more difficult to move forward on the roadmap, this causes us a problem.
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So we are in discussions with our Israeli friends about the fence that they are building. And, as you know, that fence has walls as part of the fence. And we hope that we can find a way of discussing this problem, so that it does not -- the fence -- it does not become a hindrance toward progress on the roadmap. (STATE.GOV 08/04/03)
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