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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 Jonathan Karl of ABC

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

MR. KARL: Madame Secretary, why are you here?

SECRETARY RICE: I'm here because the United States cares about what happens to these people, recognizes that this is one of the truly humanitarian difficulties and disasters in the world at this time. And I'm here to see what more we can do.

The United States has tried to do a lot. I met Rwandan soldiers that were being airlifted in by NATO. That was a U.S. initiative. I know we've spent almost $700 million to try to make the humanitarian situation better with food aid and with health care and with education for these dear children.

But obviously, I have learned more today about violence against women and there's just a lot more to do. We do have a new opportunity because there is a new -- or will be a new unity government in Khartoum. That brings into the government people in the South who once lived in terrible conditions and under the brutality of the government there. We have new tools to work with, thanks to action by the UN Security Council. But we need to keep a spotlight on Darfur and we need to work this issue every single day in our capitols and in international councils.

MR. KARL: Is there a frustration now? I mean, you're the second Secretary of State to come here in about a year. Your Deputy has been here. Our government -- the U.S. Government has called this "genocide." And yet the killing has continued. I mean, is there a frustration in terms of the limits of American power? You declare something genocide and almost a year later it's still going on?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we definitely have to have an international response. The United States is not going to be able to do this alone. The AU has the lead. We think that Africans can solve this problem. But they need the support of the international community. That's why it was heartening to see NATO lifting in -- Americans lifting in Rwandan forces. But we're going to have a representative to the AU for the first time, the African Union. We're going to go back and see what we might be able to do about violence against women. The Sudanese Government gave us ideas that they have about how to protect women.

But Jon, it does take an international effort. This is not just something that the United States can do, and we can't be slow to react. It took us months to get UN Security Council resolutions that gave us some tools in this crisis. And we have to recognize that we've already got a long road ahead of us, and we want these children, not to grow up in the nursery of a refugee camp. Although obviously the nongovernmental organizations that are working here are doing yeoman's work, they're working day in and day out. But we don't want these children to grow up here. We want them to grow up in safe villages and in their homes and that's the goal that we've got to work toward.

MR. KARL: Do you believe the Sudanese Government officials when they tell you as they did today that they're going to do something about this? I mean, they've made these promises over and over again.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I told them that there's a gap between what they've said and what they've done and that the international community is looking for action not words. The fact is, though, that we do have a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It did end a decades-old civil war between North and South. There are new actors in the Sudanese Government who themselves suffered at the hands of that kind of brutality.

So the new Sudanese Government now needs to take this as an opportunity to make a new start. And as I talked to members of the international community, I think we need to accelerate the peace talks in Abuja because we've got a lot of work to do if these children are going to grow up someplace else.

MR. KARL: Okay, Madame Secretary, thank you very much

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.

MR. KARL: I appreciate your time.


Released on July 21, 2005

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