FTN - 4/21/02

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BOB SCHIEFFER, Chief Washington Correspondent: Today on Face the Nation, will Secretary of State Colin Powell have to go back to the Middle East? No cease-fire came out of his visit to the region last week, but the Israelis continue to withdraw from most West Bank cities.

What's the next step for the United States? Is it time for an international peace conference? We'll talk about it with Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Then we'll turn to the crisis in the Catholic Church and talk to Bishop Joseph Galante of Texas.

And we'll have a roundtable on the rest of the week's events with our own Gloria Borger and Jim Hoagland of The Washington Post.

But first, Secretary of State Powell on the crisis in the Middle East.

And joining us now from the State Department, the Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming. You, of course, are visiting a lot of the Sunday morning shows this morning. We appreciate you being here.

You have been talking about Chairman Arafat and saying we've heard statements from him but it's not statements that you want now, you want to see some action from him. What action would you like to see him take at this point?

COLIN POWELL, Secretary of State: One of the most powerful things he could do is to use his position of leadership within the Palestinian movement, among the Palestinian people, to speak out against violence, to speak out against incitement, to tell his people that the way to the state that they want--the Palestinian state called Palestine -- is through peace and negotiations with Israel and with the help of the international community.

I told Chairman Arafat the United States stands ready as always to help and to help even more to be more aggressive in seeking that outcome, but only if there is a clear, clear signal and clear action on the part of the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people that they're moving away from terror and violence.

I think he can also do more with the institutions that are under his control. I recognize that he is rather isolated in his current circumstances, and we're trying to find a way to solve that -- and it has to be solved in a non-violent way.

But even in his constrained circumstances, he has the ability to reach out and talk to leaders within the Palestinian Authority and units within the Palestinian Authority to begin security cooperation with Israel, to put down those who are fomenting violence, and to go after those organizations that are not only killing innocent Israeli citizens, but who are killing the dream of a Palestinian state through such actions.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Mr. Secretary, that does raise a point, as far as I'm concerned, and that is, when you were visiting with Chairman Arafat, did you get any indication that he wants peace at this time, that he thinks that's a strategy in his interest at this time?

POWELL: I think he understands that where he is taking his people is not a successful road. Now, people argue with that, but what I saw was a man trapped in a building who gave a statement, after we implored him to do so, that said he is condemning violence, he is condemning suicide bombing. He condemned the bombing in Jerusalem the day before. He has made such statements in the past, but he made them in a powerful way again this time, and we have been working with him on additional statements he could make.

What I also said to him is, "Now that his statements are there, Mr. Chairman, you got to take action. We've got to see action." And so I am hoping that if we resolve the situation at the Makada in a peaceful way, and as Israeli troops move back out of Area A, as they are now doing, we will see whether or not he is prepared to move in a new direction.

I'm not naive, I just didn't come in from the country somewhere, but we will see. And I've told him, we have to see positive action that suggests you have made a strategic choice.

GLORIA BORGER, U.S. News & World Report: Well, Israeli leaders say that they're going to keep Mr. Arafat in this Ramallah compound until he hands over these three people that they suspect where involved in killing an Israeli cabinet minister. Should Arafat turn over these men?

POWELL: We've had a difficult situation here. Chairman Arafat believes that he is controlling among the provisions of the bilateral agreement that he has with Israel, and Israel feels just as strongly that they have to be turned over to Israeli jurisdiction to be tried before an Israeli tribunal -- and two strongly held views.

We have some ideas as to how these two views might be bridged. We are exploring those ideas. There are others in the international community that are talking to us about ways to bridge this difference.

BORGER: What kind of ideas?

POWELL: Well, I don't want to -- I don't want to share them publicly because, obviously, these are sensitive negotiations.

But I think what we are asking is time to explore these ideas. And let's just see if we can take the time necessary to find a peaceful solution and not try to bring this to some kind of violent end.

BORGER: Well, the Israelis are also talking about possibly exiling Mr. Arafat. Do you think that would be a good idea?

POWELL: Well, I'm not sure what they have in mind. Exiling him somewhere out of the region just gives him a larger platform on which to stand.

So right now I'm dealing with the reality of Chairman Arafat still in Ramallah, and at the moment I expect him to stay in the region. Whether it's in Ramallah or some other place in the region, that remains to be seen.

SCHIEFFER: Well, when you went to the Middle East, you went after the president made a speech. He told the Israelis to pull back. He said, "Enough is enough." Obviously there was no cease-fire while you were there.

Let's talk about the Israelis for a minute. What do they need to do now? And where is this situation at this point, do you think?

POWELL: Well, it was on the 4th of April that the president gave his speech and asked the Israelis to withdraw. It didn't happen immediately, and we always knew that an operation has to sort of come to a stop before you can start pulling back.

And it's now a little over two weeks and two days since the president gave that speech, and the withdrawal is taking place, and it's taking place in accordance with the schedule that I discussed with Prime Minister Sharon earlier last week during the course of my trip. It was part of our discussions.

So I'm pleased that it is now happening. It doesn't mean the crisis is over. Israeli units are still poised on the edges of these cities, and to some extent they are -- they have great control, a lot of control over who can go in and out. And we're trying to get that access opened up so humanitarian workers can go in and out, so we can get these cities back to some state of normalcy.

So this crisis isn't over, but the withdrawal is well under way two and a half weeks after the president wanted it. Not as fast as we would have liked, but according to the schedule that Prime Minister Sharon and I discussed about a week ago.

SCHIEFFER: So at this point, you're satisfied with the Israeli actions and what the Israeli government is doing?


SCHIEFFER: You're not?

POWELL: I'm not completely satisfied. I would like to see the withdrawal continue until there's no question about it. And I would ultimately like to see those units back in their garrisons and not poised in the way they are. And I would like to see the cities opened up, so that we can start to see normal life resume, and so that there are no restrictions with respect to the provision of humanitarian aid.

So we are moving. We're moving in a good direction right now, but it is not yet over.

BORGER: Mr. Secretary, the Israelis have also now agreed to a special investigation about just what happened in Jenin. There was a U.N. envoy who went to that area, and he came out saying that Israel has lost all moral authority in this conflict as a result of what he saw in Jenin.

How concerned are you about that?

POWELL: Well, Assistant Secretary of State Bill Burns went to Jenin on Friday, and he called me several times in the last 24 hours with a disturbing report about the human tragedies that have taken place there and people who are in desperate need.

And that's why, within the next 24 to 48 hours, the United States will be delivering some 800 family-sized tents for the many hundreds of families who have been left homeless. We'll also be sending in water-purification units and disease-control units. We're working with friends in the international community to send in ordnance-disposal teams to help the parties get rid of unexploded ordnance and to get rid of booby traps.

So we are concerned. I'm pleased that the Israeli government has agreed that a U.N. team should come in and find out the facts, so that we just don't go on the basis of anecdotes. And I'm pleased the United States played the leadership role in bringing about that U.N. resolution on Friday night.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, that brings up an interesting point, and that is, the president talked this week about some sort of Marshall Plan, some sort of economic rebuilding in Afghanistan. Did you talk to Chairman Arafat about the possibility of something like that if a Palestinian state is established?

POWELL: Yes. If you go back to the press conference that I gave as I was leaving Israel, the press conference I gave in Jerusalem on Wednesday, I talked about three elements to our strategic framework moving forward: a security element to get the violence down, hopefully to zero, but at least down to the point where people can start talking to one another again on security cooperation, have the confidence to move forward.

And then the second leg of our strategy is a political leg. We have to get into discussions and negotiations early, so that people could start to see that there is hope out there, there is a future out there, there is a Palestinian state waiting for them if only they will move away from violence.

And then the third element, which is just as important as the other two, is the humanitarian, reconstruction, economic leg. We will have a major challenge in front of us to rebuild the Palestinian economy, to help the Israeli economy get going again. It has suffered as well during this time of crisis.

And I'm pleased that so many of my colleagues within the international community have spoken up about their willingness to help. And Jim Wolfensohn of the World Bank has been especially forthcoming in the role that the World Bank might play.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you two quick questions: Number one, do you envision a time when U.S. troops would, in some way, be stationed there between these two sides as peacekeepers of some sort?

And a second question: Do you expect to be going back to the Middle East any time soon?

POWELL: On the first question, no, I don't see U.S. combat troops being sent there in some sort of interpositional role.

We are looking, and we've had this position for a year, at the use of some small number of U.S. monitors or observers -- and these would, more likely, be civilians than military -- who would help the parties move forward with security coordination and observing what's going on between the two sides, resolving problems that might come up, assuming they can get an agreement in place, such as the Tenet work plan, that will allow the two sides to cooperate. A third party, United States monitors, would be helpful in implementing that work plan.

I, of course, expect to be going back to the region at some point in the future, but I don't have a specific announcement today.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for joining us.

POWELL: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: And when we come back, we'll speech gears and turn our attention to the crisis facing the Catholic Church over sexual-abuse charges against priests, in a minute.


SCHIEFFER: And we turn now to the crisis that is facing the Catholic Church. As you know, the pope has summoned the cardinals of the Church to Rome this week to discuss this whole business of sexual abuse that has suddenly flared up and has gotten so much publicity.

We're going to talk about it this morning with Bishop Joseph Galante. He is in Dallas. He is part of the Bishops' Council. He has been working this issue.

And Bishop Galante, I guess the question I would ask you first, what do you expect to happen in Rome? Where does this go now?

BISHOP JOSEPH GALANTE, Archbishop of Dallas: Well, I'm convinced that there will be a very free, open exchange of information and possible directions.

As you know, yesterday the pope, in giving a speech to bishops from Nigeria, in a sense laid out some things that I'm sure will be further expanded on: greater openness in the church, a stronger preparation and formation of priests around celibacy. I think they'll be some of the issues.

I think the Americans will also talk about what we need to do, particularly in June at the bishops' meeting here in Dallas, about formulating a consistent national policy.

SCHIEFFER: Well, aren't you going to have to work out some sort of accountability here? As I understood what the pope said yesterday, he said basically you're all going to have to obey the rules, but he didn't seem to go much beyond that.

GALANTE: Well, I think the accountability is in this level: Bishops are accountable to the pope, the clergy, especially diocesan clergy are accountable to the bishops, and religious clergy to their religious superiors.

But accountability, I think, will be very much at the forefront of these discussions. Accountability, also, to the people, in the sense of providing openness and honesty and also safeguarding the most vulnerable people in our society.

BORGER: Bishop, a new CBS poll today says that 80 percent of Catholics say that it's the church leaders who ought to be held responsible here for what's occurred within the church. So what do you take that to mean?

GALANTE: I take it to mean that people have an understanding that the buck stops with the bishops of the dioceses and that we have to be accountable. We have to be accountable for our people and for our priests, and I have no quarrel with that poll. I think, in so many other ways, we are.

As a matter of fact, in the American civil law, they have respondeat superior. The American civil law recognizes that the person who is in authority is ultimately responsible.

BORGER: Well, do you think that accountability would include, say, the resignation of Cardinal Law or others who did not refer these cases to the authorities?

GALANTE: That, I think, is a complex question in this sense. I think that question has to be dealt with at the local level. In other words, is Cardinal Law able to shepherd his people? And I think the answer to that has to come not just from Cardinal Law, but from the priests, from the people of the Archdiocese of Boston. And I think that same would be true for other bishops.

I think that, again, the question of accountability will be very, very much at the forefront and, I think, very needed.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Bishop, if this were anything other than the Church, we would probably say -- people would say, heads have to roll. Will some of these priests, some of these officials have to be removed to restore credibility here?

GALANTE: That, I can't say in the abstract. I think in the concrete, I think that some of that will be discussed by the cardinals, and also the president and vice president of the bishops' conference will be participating in that meeting.

And, again, I think that we have to restore trust, the bishops. And I think we have to examine very carefully what that will mean. And I think in each place where there has been so much of a scandal, if you will, so much pain and hurt, I think that has to be decided place by place. I don't think there will be a national policy on that.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, we'll be watching closely that meeting this week. Thank you so much, Bishop.

We'll be back in a minute with our roundtable discussion.


SCHIEFFER: And to talk a little now about the events of the week, Jim Hoagland, the foreign affairs columnist at The Washington Post, joins us.
Jim, we're always glad to have you.

JIM HOAGLAND, Washington Post: Bob. Gloria.

SCHIEFFER: It seemed to me that, as I asked Colin Powell the question, did he think Arafat is ready for peace, I'm not sure that he really believes that. He said he was, but I found his answer very interesting.

HOAGLAND: I noticed the hesitations as well, Bob.

I first met Arafat in the early '70s in Beirut, and he said then that his historic legacy was going to be as an advocate of armed struggle, as a guerrilla, as a commander. And I think he's come back to that in his final years. He sees his role now as leading his nation to independence through armed struggle and through bloodshed.

His plan is to force the international community to intervene to define Palestine's borders so that he does not have to take the responsibility, I believe, for having made peace with Israel. And so, we've seen over the past 18 months a very, very violent campaign directed toward those ends.

SCHIEFFER: But don't you agree that, until both sides are ready for peace, this is going to go on? Because this is a situation, it seems to me, where neither side can cram something down the other side's throat.

HOAGLAND: I think that's obviously right, Bob. Until both sides come to the point where they are so tired of bloodshed that they're prepared to make concessions to each other, prepared to live together, we're going to see this continue. You have a lot of diplomatic formulas being thrown out there now, hoping that one of them will grab some attention from the two sides, but they haven't yet.

BORGER: Isn't there a political issue here, though, for the president? His own right wing and some in the Democratic Party seem to be attacking him for muddling his own definition of terrorism. Why is Osama bin Laden a terrorist? Why is Arafat not a terrorist?

HOAGLAND: Gloria, it's very clear that the Republicans are quite concerned that, for the first time since September 11, dissent and criticism of the president, particularly on foreign policy, has been legitimized. His seeming consistency on the Middle East, certainly the muddying of his very clear call to be with us or against us, you're a terrorist or you're helping terrorists or you're not, that's been muddied. And the Democrats, quite naturally, see an opportunity here to get back into a political debate that had been silenced almost.

BORGER: Well, they see his popularity or his approval rating on the handling of foreign policy going down. It's still very high. It's still at about 74 percent, but it used to be at about 85 percent or so. So this does provide an opening.

HOAGLAND: And this is week also the Democrats had a gift of the Bush administration seemed to be a little confused about what happened in Venezuela, praising the coup and then having to back off when it failed.

You have to wonder, the president, in his April 4 speech, went out and told Ariel Sharon, the prime minister of Israel, to do specific things, withdraw now. Sharon rebuffed him. You have to wonder if the president was well-informed on that, if he had a clear picture of what was going on in Venezuela, how good the intelligence that he's getting is.

SCHIEFFER: And, Gloria, you bring up an interesting point about the Democrats now starting to criticize the president. We saw what happened down in Florida. You might expect some of that. It was a convention of Democratic politicians. But it does strike me that they are taking a little harder tone now.

BORGER: I think they were sort of sitting back post-9/11. They were bipartisan and, quite frankly, there was little controversy about what the United States needed to do, and the president's approval ratings were sort of 85 percent.

Now, as that is sort of on the decline, at least, they see an opportunity here. And I think the Democrats also believe that if they're going to gain any credibility on foreign policy -- and right know now they run about two to one behind the Republicans with the American public on defense and national security issues -- that they have to start talking about these issues.

And so, they are talking about questions about the muddle in the Middle East, about the future of Afghanistan and about Venezuela. This was not a great week for the president on foreign policy.

HOAGLAND: But I think also, Bob, you have to look at the fact that, while there are a lot of questions about the competent or the incompetent way in which policies are being carried out, the president is pretty much -- and particularly on the Middle East -- where the American public is. That is, I think there's great distrust here of Arafat. There's the question of dealing with Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The president has found a kind of a middle place where he deals quite directly and toughly with the Arab leaders and gives Sharon some slack.

SCHIEFFER: All right. We'll leave it there.


My final comment on all of this.

I'll begin by saying David Sanger writes in the New York Times today, "In every presidency, there comes a moment when the clear-cut visions and simple declarations of a political campaign run headlong into the reality of how the world works." Well, isn't that the truth.

But I think it goes beyond that. Campaigns are a time when every problem does seem to have a simple answer. But lately it's not the simple answers that bother me, it's that nobody ever raises even the simple questions anymore.

Can you think of anything that anybody said during the last general election that had any relevance to the problems that have confronted this president?Was foreign policy ever mentioned? Well, maybe for 30 seconds.

Pollsters tell the candidates the voters are not interested, and the candidates are happy to oblige. It gives them more time to raise money, which is the only real campaign issue anymore.

Then we get surprised by a terrorist attack, or the Middle East blows up, or the Balkans shake, or Iran invades Kuwait -- or Iraq, I should say, invades Kuwait, and we go to war, or then Iran captures our diplomats, and the Arabs cut off the oil.

These are the problems that American presidents have been dealing with for the last 30 years, but they're the things we never hear about in our campaigns. It's hard to believe, isn't it?

Well, that's it for us. We'll see you here next week on Face the Nation.