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Interview on the United Kingdom's Sky News

Deputy Secretary Richard L. Armitage
Interview by Andrew Wilson
Washington, DC
October 21, 2003

2003/1065
(10:44 a.m. EDT)

QUESTION: First of all, you are concerned, obviously, by this donor conference, so let's talk about that. You are expecting, after the UN resolution, for a positive turnout in terms of the potential donor countries. Do you think you'll get it?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I think that the Iraqi people are the ones who are most inclined to want a positive turnout. I think we'll have good participation. Some leading nations have already stepped up to prove that they are on the side of the Iraqi people, Japan most notably. Spain has stepped in for 300 million. The U.K. has been fantastic with, I think it's a total bit of about $900 million over several years. So I think it will be a good demonstration of support for Iraq.

QUESTION: But you need money and you need troops, and the flavor, if not the result of the vote last week in New York, means that France, Germany, China, strong countries with good budgets and good armies, won't be there to help you out.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: They were not going to be there to help us out beforehand. So the result of that resolution, even though it was unanimous, was not one that was going to bring forth troops from those countries. But I'll note that our friends in the Republic of Korea have already stated in the wake of it that they are willing to step up their troop presence. And I'll note that the UN Security Council resolution does ask countries to participate in a bilateral way, and you can do the math on Thursday after the conference, or Thursday and Friday.

But I think we -- the most important thing is to show that international support, sort of the depth and the length of that support to the Iraqi people, rather than concentrating on a single figure.

QUESTION: You've got a big, strong, international CV yourself; you've worked so many places around the world. You must be at the forefront of approaching the different countries to see where they stand, what you can do to work with each other. What's the approach you take with countries when you go into the smaller ones to try and bring them on board?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Look, I think the most important thing is that the Governing Council of Iraq make it clear they want to invite certain countries, and after that, we and others can approach them to see if they're willing. But we have to, sort of, test the Iraqi Governing Council for their views before we move forward to just willy-nilly ask for troops.

You know, there's not a big gene pool of troops out there. There aren't a lot of nations with large armed forces who can participate in these types of endeavors. It's a relatively small group, and as I say, we're pleased that the Republic of Korea stepped up with such alacrity, so quickly after the resolution.

QUESTION: I'd like to talk about Iran, because it's coming up at the end of the month. There's a deadline, which, presumably, you take seriously, behind the IAEA's recommendation.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I presume the EU takes it seriously, and everyone else.

QUESTION: Is there any difference in your position and the EU's that you see?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I hope not. I don't see one thus far. You'll note that -- was it the September meeting of the IAEA -- was unanimous in its call for the Iranians to do the right thing under their responsibilities to the NPT and the IAEA.

QUESTION: Setting a deadline starts to remind us about deadlines that were set back when all this started with Iraq. It's not going to be the same approach, I presume, to dealing with Iraq.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, I think the President has made it quite clear, it's not a one for America, and it's not a one size fits all approach. But there is the possibility of moving to the UN Security Council resolution -- or to the UN Security Council, and it's a possibility of a resolution if Iranian doesn't do the right -- if Iran doesn't do the right thing, excuse me.

QUESTION: What are you hoping for Iran to do by the 31st?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, I understand there will be a visit shortly by EU ministers, and I hope they will fully live up to their responsibility under the September 12 Board of Governors resolution and meet their responsibilities to include signing an additional protocol. But we'll have to wait till the visit is complete and we'll see what happens.

QUESTION: Back to Iraq. It's started to look like a long haul. It's starting to look politically more sensitive than it was. It's going to be difficult keeping the public enthusiastic. How are you going to deal with 2004, after such a rocky 2003?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Look, I think that about 80 percent of the Iraqi people would say that they are in much better shape now. There's not a member of Congress, to my knowledge, who has traveled to Baghdad, or to Iraq more generally, and has not come back saying things are much better than they are portrayed in the media.

So there are certain areas of Iraq which are, as you would say, very rocky. There are other areas that are perfectly benign and people are getting about their lives, and maybe we ought to spend a little time talking about that.

QUESTION: Let's hope we do, because what you need is support back here, and money back here to keep the operation going.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I would have said that both the Senate and the House voting, although in different ways, to provide the President's request of $20.3 billion was indeed a show of support. When you add to that the $67 billion he asked to keep our military in high tempo of operations, that's a pretty strong show of support.

QUESTION: Do you think it's working on the ground? You've got some Middle East experience.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Yeah, I think I do. I mean, there are rough patches, or, as you say, rocky patches, and whenever any of our servicemen, just like any of our British coalition partners servicemen are killed, we're devastated. But more and more, it appears to us that areas are coming under more benign control. We're very happy that finally the electricity is above the prewar amount that was provided, and those are the kind of things that, I think, increase the enthusiasm of the people of Iraq, that their lives are indeed getting better.

QUESTION: And beyond the borders, Iran to the south, Turkey to the north suggesting troops, doesn't that threaten to complicate things as well, with the different issues that those two countries have?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, clearly, troops aren't going to go to Iraq without the permission of the Iraqi Governing Council. There are many more countries who are being talked about for possibly providing troops if certain conditions could be met -- Bangladesh, Pakistan -- I've said the Republic of Korea has already stepped up.

QUESTION: Sorry, just took a signal there. That's fine, actually. I'm happy there.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Very good. Thank you.

QUESTION: Thanks so much, Deputy Secretary of State.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: You're welcome to press on.

QUESTION: No, we're okay.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: All right.


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