Speaking to Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press," Powell said such talks should no be to solve a particular problem or crisis du jour but to have a dialogue with the people involved in the region in many ways.
"And so I think it is shortsighted not to talk to Syria and Iran and everybody else in the region and not for the purpose of making a demand on them, and I'll only talk to you if you meet the demand that I want to talk to you about," he said.
Powell also said he would immediately shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba because it harms the way the world perceives America. He said he would have the detainees transferred to the federal legal system.
On the issue of gays in the military, Powell said he doesn't believe the country is at the point yet where it would be OK to have an open policy regarding gays.