SLUG: 5-48648 Bush foreign policy DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

DATE= 12/16/2000








INTRO: President-elect George W. Bush's nominee for secretary of state says the new administration's foreign policy will include a strong commitment to a national missile defense system and a scaled-back peacekeeping role for the United States. Retired General Colin Powell also says the Bush administration plans to maintain the U-S role in mediating peace efforts in the Middle East. More from VOA's Michael Leland in Crawford, Texas.

TEXT: After accepting Mr. Bush's nomination to become the next secretary of state, Colin Powell gave a crowd of 300 people in this small Texas town a better look at the administration's foreign policy plans. He says a national missile defense system is high on Mr. Bush's priority list, despite the fact that Russia strongly opposes such a program. He says the United States will discuss its plans with Russia, other nuclear powers and U-S allies.


These will be tough negotiations. I do not expect them to be easy, but they will have to come to the understanding that we feel this is in the best interest of the American people [and] not only the American people, the people of the world to finally start to move in the direction where we can take away the currency associated with strategic offensive weapons.

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British Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain says his government understands U-S concerns about nuclear threats by so-called rogue states. But Mr. Hain has expressed hope that the Bush administration will consider the concerns voiced by others about a missile defense system.

On the campaign trail this past year, Mr. Bush was critical of the increased U-S peacekeeping role in the world. He suggested Europe should take on a larger part of this effort in the Balkans. General Powell says once the new administration takes office, it will review all current peacekeeping missions involving American troops.


Our armed forces are stretched rather thin and there is a limit to how many of these deployments we can sustain. So, we are going to take a look at that, talk to our allies, consult and make on-the-ground assessments of what we are doing now, what is needed now but also what is going to be needed in the future.

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General Powell says the new administration is committed to helping bring peace to the Middle East. He says Washington wants to see Israel living in freedom and peace, while considering the aspirations of Palestinians and other countries in the region.


So I think America will continue to be a friend to all sides. America will continue to put forward ideas. America will remain engaged until we can find that solution to this most difficult problem. At the end of the day, it will have to be the parties in the region that will have to find that solution and come into agreement.

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The general says the Bush administration wants to maintain economic sanctions against Iraq, even while sentiment for maintaining the embargo lessens in other nations. He says Iraq agreed at the end of the Gulf War to fully account for its weapons technology, and it has not kept that promise.


We will work with our allies to reenergize the sanctions regime. I will make the case at every opportunity I get that we are not doing this to hurt the Iraqi people, we are doing this to protect the peoples of the region. The children of the region, who would be the targets of these weapons of mass destruction if we did not contain them and get rid of them.

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Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said Saturday that his government is not concerned about the change of administrations in the United States, because it expects no change in American policy toward Baghdad. (signed)