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Archive for Friday, July 26, 2002

Powell dismisses report that he plans to resign

July 26, 2002

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— Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed a published report Thursday that he might not last through President Bush's current term, saying he was not considering resigning.

The New York Times report followed a decision by the Bush administration to withhold $34 million that had been set aside for the U.N. agency that runs family planning programs.

The decision was considered a triumph for conservatives within the administration. Women's groups in the United States and several foreign governments criticized the move.

The newspaper suggested it was another instance of Powell being out of step with more conservative administration officials.

Powell, who has a middle-road reputation, earlier this year supported use of birth control devices instead of proposing abstinence alone for young people. As a result, he was criticized by private groups that are inclined to support the administration.

"You all insist on writing this story every two weeks," Powell said Thursday about the stories speculating on his future and his relationship with more conservative advisers to the president.

Powell defended the decision to withhold the funds from the U.N. agency and said the agency had the administration's support.

"But it has to be done consistent with the law," Powell said.

In examining the program, he said he had found Chinese government actions inconsistent with U.S. law. In some parts of China, Powell said, parents who had a child were penalized with a fine two or three times their annual salary. "We found that to be a coercive policy," he said.

And yet, Powell said, the administration provides $480 million, more than ever, to family planning activities.

The $34 million, which makes up 12 percent of the U.N. agency's budget, will go to international child survival and health programs run by the U.S. Agency for International Development, officials said.

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