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Adam Ereli discussed Iraq and other issues.
Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman
March 17, 2006
What would you say has been the United States biggest achievement in Iraq? And secondly, what goals does the US want to accomplish in that country before pulling out?
The biggest goal in Iraq has been liberating the Iraqi people to be free to determine their own future. Just look at what they have accomplished with that freedom. They've written a constitution that guarantees basic human rights and provides for a federal system of government. They've held three elections in which 70 percent of the population has participated. And, they are courageously confronting savage terrorists who wish to take Iraq back to the past. The United States wants to help defend and support the millions of Iraqis as they continue to chart their future democratic course.
The United States will pull out of Iraq when Iraqis can take care of their own security. They have already made significant progress toward that goal and we are working closely with them so that Iraqi security forces can fully take over from the coalition.
What is the U.S. formal opinion about cartoons crisis?
The cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed was deeply offensive to people of the Muslim faith and we are sympathetic to the insult caused to them. At the same time, we believe in freedom of the press and it is not up to the United States government to tell people what to publish. We also think that no matter how offensive some might find these cartoons, nothing justifies the kind of violence that we saw in some places as a result of the cartoons.
How far will the United States go to prevent a full scale civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites? I'm referring to military commitment. What is our plan to combat it?
The best antidote to sectarian violence in Iraq is dialogue and inclusiveness. That is why it is so important for the new government in Iraq to be a government of national unity that includes representatives from all political parties and communities.
I wish to know if the U.S. is still interested in the whereabouts of those who contributed to the genocide in Rwanda?
The genocide in Rwanda was a horrible crime, which we have condemned, and we have worked hard to hold accountable those responsible. We have been instrumental in the creation of a tribunal to judge those accused of genocide in Rwanda and we work closely with the government of Rwanda and Rwanda's neighbors to see that justice is done. The genocide in Rwanda serves as a reminder to us all to act quickly and decisively to confront such crimes. That is why the United States has been so active in response to the current crisis in Darfur, Sudan.
In the event Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death for the Dujayl massacre and the Iraqi authorities were intent on executing him without waiting for trial on the 11 other charges, what would be the position of the U.S. government?
The Iraqi Tribunal is a court that is run by Iraqis and according to Iraqi law. We support the Iraqi peoples' campaign for justice and we will respect the outcomes of these proceedings.
Which country do you think will report Iran and North Korea to the U.N. Security Council? From my point of view, this matter needs dealing with a diplomatic negotiation between our global community and the counterparts or contenders whose was pursuing in violations for complying with the IAEA's policy so as not to strengthen the illegal enrichments of atomic materials into our global community. Needless to say, its materials should use a civil energy for the general people who breathe in this planet of earth.
I couldn't agree with you more. Both Iran and North Korea are countries of serious concern and threats to the international community because of their nuclear program. In the case of North Korea, we are working in concert with Russia, China, South Korea and Japan through the Six Party Process to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. In the case of Iran, unfortunately that country has not proved willing to sit down and negotiate in good faith its nuclear program. As a result, the IAEA has reported its case to the Security Council. We are currently discussing the case, and hope to persuade Iran to suspend its enrichment activity and return to negotiations.
Do you know where this year is going to and what conditions would this year expect to go through?
We hope in North Korea to continue discussions in Six Party Talks and to define a program for implementing the Statement of Principles arrived at during the last round of talks in Beijing.
Do you agree with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Iran is terrorism's "central banker"?
Yes, Iran is probably the single greatest state sponsor of terror in the world in terms of money, arms, and political support for terrorist organizations.
Are we waiting for Fidel Castro to die before we free Cuba?
No, we would like Cuba to be free now and in fact, we have a plan to assist in the development of a free Cuba.
We hear a lot about the violence in and around Baghdad. What is the rest of the country like? What percentage of the Iraqi population lives in rural areas?
The majority of Iraqis live in rural areas. A large part of Iraq is stable and calm. The great majority of Iraqis want nothing more than to live peaceful lives and build a better future for themselves and their children.
Why doesn't the administration distribute more positive information to the American people regarding Iraq? Such as: Showing videos of the work accomplished be the coalition troops, schools built, cities rebuilt, etc... I realize that if this was done it could target the accomplishments highlighted, but the real Iraqis are already targets and/or the people involved could be digitalized so as not to give away their identities .
You are absolutely right. And, we actually try to do a lot of that. If you look at our website, you will see many of our diplomats helping the Iraqi people. I would also encourage you to go to the USAID website and see all that they are accomplishing through their assistance programs. I have been to Iraq several times and it is difficult to convey in television or pictures the reality of that country…the dynamism of its people, the vibrancy of is economy, the strength of their character. Based on what I have seen, the people of Iraq will succeed and show the world that those who doubted it were wrong.
Has the United States sent a delegation to the Fourth World Water Forum that is currently being held in Mexico? If so, what does the United States hope to accomplish during this forum and how seriously does the United States take the issue of the dwindling water supply, especially in such places that are already entrenched in intense conflicts such as the Middle East?
Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky will head the U.S delegation to the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico City. Under Secretary Dobriansky also led the U.S. delegation to the 3 rd World Water Forum in Kyoto in March 2003, which was attended by more than 15,000 people, including more than 100 Ministers.
The United States has a demonstrated commitment to eradicating poverty. As President Bush has said, combating poverty is a "moral imperative." Access to safe water and adequate sanitation along with sound water management are key components to addressing poverty, preventing disease and promoting regional stability.
Is there a website or other source of news and photos regarding the many civil and military successes of the coalition forces?
You can go to state.gov, usaid.gov, dod.gov.
How accurate are the news reports. Is the violence and uprising greater in proportion to the rebuilding and normalcy of daily life or is it less in proportion. How much is Saddam's televised presence in court fueling the insurgencies or is there any connection between the two?
The insurgency is clearly disruptive, and a hindrance to daily life in many, but not all parts of Iraq. It is important to note, however, that ever increasing numbers of Iraqis are joining the political process and signing on to a peaceful future for their country. This is measured in the steadily increasing number of Iraqis that turn out for elections and run for office. That said, elements of the insurgency remain tenacious and continue to require a forceful response. The images of Sadaam Hussein standing trial and answering to the people of Iraq for his crimes is the best possible advertisement that violence and absolutism don't pay.
Given the enormous investment of money and blood this nation has made there, when will I be able to vacation comfortably in Iraq? There are many interesting cultural and historic sites there. (Or at least there were.) Think I can do it in my lifetime? (I'm mid-40s.) Thank you for your consideration.
Don't pack your bags just yet, Paul, but I am sure you will live to see the beauties of Baghdad and the treasure of Iraq.
Hi there --- Reuters News service is reporting that US Embassy Officials in Iraq have stated that Iran is conducting "unhelpful" activities. "Unhelpful"? ...Aside from this awkward and vague statement, just what exactly does "unhelpful" mean in this case?
As Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and Director of National Intelligence Negroponte have testified in Congress, Iran is playing an unhelpful role in Iraq in a number of ways. First, we are seeing explosive devices in Iraq that have an Iranian origin and that are being used to kill innocent Iraqis and Americans. Second, Iran is equipping, financing, and providing other assistance to armed militias in Iraq that undermine the authority of the central government.
Hello. I'm a college student at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). I'm an international student at PLU from Sweden and I'm studying Political Science. I have an inspiration to go down to Afghanistan when I'm done with college and work with international relations. I know the languages Pashto and Farsi (I also know how to speak Swedish and obviously English) what more I know the culture and how the people function. The reason I'm here in America is because I want to work with American officials in Afghanistan, I believe that this would be the best and most efficient way to make an effort.
Good luck Khibar. Your ambitions are laudable and I wish you every success. Afghanistan needs your support and I encourage you to go there at your earliest opportunity and work with the NGOS to help the people of Afghanistan rebuild their country.
Does the U.S. Department of State believe that status talks on Kosovo will be finalized this year and does State Department believe that the final status will be an independent state of Kosovo with a UN seat?
The final status of Kosovo will be determined by the people of that region. We are assisting through the Contact Group the parties in arriving at a settlement that respects the rights of minorities and fulfills the ambitions of the people of Kosovo. It is our goal to reach a final status agreement by the end of their year.
At this time, how positive is the U.S. of attaining a worldwide consent against Iranian cleric regime's nuclear ambitions? As you know, Russian and Chinese positions prevent such consent becomes effective on terms of all-around sanctions. How far are you going to give concessions to them to get over their interests in Iran?
I don't think I fully agree with you, I.R. There really is a fairly firm international consensus, including with Russia and China, that Iran's nuclear program is dangerous and that they shouldn't be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. The challenge before us is how to prevent that. None of us want to see sanctions or harsh measures that might hurt the Iranian people and our strategy is to collectively pressure the Iranian regime to abandon it nuclear weapons program and integrate itself peacefully into the international community.