Secretary of State Colin L. Powell held a question-and-answer session Wednesday with Times reporters in Washington. Here are
Question: What's your definition of success? A year from now do we need a complete recognizable democracy and all American troops out of Iraq?
Answer: I can't put a calendar date on success, but the president made it clear from the very beginning what we wanted if we had to go down this route and use military force. That was a nation that is free of weapons of mass destruction; a nation that has a representative form of government that is living in peace with its neighbors, no longer abusing its own population, using the wealth of Iraq for the people of Iraq; [and] a nation that is still one nation [and] hasn't splintered into different parts. That's a difficult task but this campaign ... isn't over. The people of Baghdad ... are showing a sign of relief about the end of this regime and expressing it in many ways, including joy.
That doesn't mean there are not some who will continue to put up resistance and it doesn't mean it will be this way a week, two weeks, a month from now. There's a lot of work to be done so we don't want to get carried away by today.
Q: Do you expect American troops will still be in Iraq a year from now?
A: I can't answer that question. We will not stay a day longer than we have to. There's no desire on our part for there to be a long-term American presence in Iraq.
Q: Can we look at the next phase in the government? Who will pick the delegates and how long might this process take? Also, what role is there for the rest of the international community in the political process?
A: ... Ambassador [Zalmay Khalilzad] will be heading off in the next few days to get to work on it. ... What [Khalilzad] will do is work with the coalition commander Gen. [Tommy] Franks, who has responsibility for the country now that the regime is losing control.
Q: What about the role for the rest of the world?
A: The international community will have a role to play. ... But as you've heard us all say, we believe that the coalition, having invested this political capital and life and treasure into this enterprise, we are going to have a leading role for some time as we shape this process. The people of Iraq will have confidence in us because of who we are and what we've done. Now that they're seeing our young soldiers actually in their country and working, they realize we've come to help them, not to hurt them. ... But we're not unmindful of the contribution that can be made by the international community for reconstruction for humanitarian aid.... We've already started to work, as you know, on what U.N. resolutions would be required. Maybe more than one. ... One of the early resolutions ... would be to give an endorsement of some kind [of] an interim authority representing the Iraqi people.
As to what will the balance be between outsiders and insiders, and how many will there be and how many Kurds and how many Sunnis and how many Shia ... we don't have the answers yet because ultimately this will be determined by the Iraqis.
Q: The French, the Germans and the Russians are meeting this weekend and have said that they believe the United Nations should have the "central" role, not just a "vital" role.
A: We believe the U.N. has a "vital" role to play and that [was] a very carefully chosen word. It means the U.N. is very important to the process. We need an endorsement of the authority and an endorsement of what we're doing in order to begin selling oil in due course, and in order to make sure that the humanitarian supplies continue to flow in the Oil for Food program. ...
The suggestion ... that now that the coalition has done all of this and liberated Iraq, thank you very much, step aside and the Security Council is now going to become responsible for everything, is incorrect. And they know it. And they were told it.
Q: You don't foresee another confrontation at the Security Council over that issue?
A: Of course there will be a debate at the Security Council. Different points of view will be brought in and we'll have discussions and we'll have debates.
Q: Earlier, French President Jacques Chirac said he would never vote for a resolution that would legitimize military action.
A: We don't need legitimacy.
Q: Have the French told you that they are ready to support a resolution to endorse an Iraqi interim authority?
A: I haven't asked them to support anything because there is not a resolution that we have put before the [Security] Council. We have never asked President Chirac or anyone else to provide legitimacy for Operation Iraqi Freedom because they already did in [U.N. Resolutions] 678, 687, and 1441.
Q: What's the right structure or the right authority to provide peacekeeping troops and then policing troops?