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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > What the Secretary Has Been Saying > 2005 Secretary Rice's Remarks > July 2005: Secretary Rice's Remarks

Interview With Andrea Mitchell of NBC

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Abu Shouk Camp, Al Fashar, Sudan
July 21, 2005

MS. MITCHELL: Madame Secretary, you just came from meeting with women, including women who were victims. What did they tell you?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I have to protect the women, too, because they said a lot of things in confidence. But let's just say that we have a problem with violence against women, in the camps, outside the camps. And we recognize this rape --

MS. MITCHELL: (Inaudible) rape -- rape as a weapon.

SECRETARY RICE: Of course, of course . But again, it is a difficult thing for these women to come forward and say this. They have to live here. But what I can go back and do is, if I can go back and look at what the Sudanese Government has said, they are prepared to do to deal with violence against women, to raise this issue more in the international consciousness, that this is a serious issue. We know of the humanitarian efforts that are being made here to feed people, to give them better clothing, to give them shelter. But we also need an international effort on violence against women and I'll take that message home.

MS. MITCHELL: Taking a message home is important. But with all due respect, there have been leaders here, your predecessor Colin Powell, Tony Blair, Kofi Annan, your Deputy, the Sudanese Governments keeps promising that they are going to stop the killings. And we have evidence that they are supporting the militias that are doing the killings. What good are their promises?

SECRETARY RICE: I said this morning that they have a problem with credibility that, in fact -- and I said it directly to them -- that people need to see action, not just your words. And it is a new Sudanese Government that is coming into being. It is a government that includes people from the South who were once in terrible humanitarian conditions and were brutalized by the Central Government.

MS. MITCHELL: But some of the same players, including the President.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, yes, but there is now a new flavor also to this Government. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement gives us a new chance and a new start. And we're going to make every effort to take that new chance and move it forward.

MS. MITCHELL: I have to ask you about what happened today, because some members of your own delegation and reporters, including me, were roughed up and were kept out of the meeting. And your response to that?

SECRETARY RICE: My response to that was that it was unacceptable and outrageous, the behavior of the security forces. Before we landed, the Foreign Minister called to apologize. He said that those who had engaged in what he calls an overreaction would be dealt with, and I certainly hope so, because the press was just trying to do its job. My delegation was clearly just trying to do its job.

MS. MITCHELL: It was their second apology today. They went ahead and did it again. So what good is it?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, obviously, there was a problem. They have said they will deal with the problem. But we have a serious issue with the Sudanese Government. They need to take responsibility for the things that are going on here. They need to take responsibility for things that go on in Khartoum. We do have, however, new actors in this government.

I also want to note that the international community is responding in new ways. I greeted the Rwandan forces that have just been airlifted in. NATO is airlifting them in. We need to get more AU forces here because they can help to provide security for these people, too. So we have a big and complex task. But I do think it's important to come here and remind people of the human beings that live here.

MS. MITCHELL: Thank you, Madame Secretary.


Released on July 21, 2005

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