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Excerpts from Remarks for Delivery Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
February 15, 2006

Below are excerpts from the Secretary's prepared remarks for delivery before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

On the Freedom Agenda in the Middle East

The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are helping to lead the transformation of the Broader Middle East from despotism to democracy. This is a generational challenge, in which elections are an important and necessary beginning. The freedom to choose invests citizens in the future of their countries. But as President Bush has said, one election does not establish a country as a democracy. Successful democracies are characterized by transparent, accountable institutions of governance; a thriving civil society that respects and protects minority rights; a free media; opportunities for health and education for all citizens; and the official renunciation of terrorism and ideologies of hatred. On this last point especially, we will continue to insist that the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace.

On Iran

The Iranian regime is a strategic challenge to the United States, to the world, and a destabilizing influence in the Middle East. The tools Iran uses to further its ideological ambitions are political subversion, terrorism, and support for violent Islamist extremism. Iran is trying to add nuclear weapons to that toolbox.

The United States will actively confront the aggressive policies of the Iranian regime. At the same time, we will work to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy in their country.

We also plan to request $75 million in supplemental funding for FY 2006 to support democracy in Iran. This money will enable us to increase our support for democracy and improve our radio broadcasting into Iran, to begin satellite television broadcasts, to increase the contacts between our peoples through expanded fellowships and scholarships in the United States for Iranian students, and to bolster our public diplomacy.

In addition, we plan to reprogram additional FY 2007 funds to increase our support for the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people as we identify worthy initiatives.

On Iraq

Iraq is on a track of transformation from brutal tyranny to a self-reliant emerging democracy that is working to better the lives of its people and defeat violent extremists. Although Iraqis are undertaking this work themselves, international assistance remains essential to Iraq's success. U.S. assistance is helping Iraqis to build their security capabilities, empowering civil society and democratic institutions, increasing and improving the production and availability of electricity, distributing millions of new textbooks, providing access to clean water for millions of Iraqis, and helping protect millions of Iraqi children from disease.

On Afghanistan

Today, Afghanistan has a democratic constitution; an emerging free economy; and a growing, multi-ethnic army that is the pride of the Afghan people. Despite this dramatic progress, there is still much hard work to be done. President Bush's request of $1.1 billion for Afghan reconstruction, along with supplemental funding to be requested, will allow us to continue helping the people of Afghanistan meet the remaining political, economic, and security challenges they face. With your continued support, along with help from NATO, the United Nations, and all other contributors from the international community, we can help the Afghan people complete their long journey toward a future of hope and freedom.

On Transformational Diplomacy

I would define the objective of transformational diplomacy this way: To work with our many partners around the world to build and sustain democratic, well-governed states that will respond to the needs of their people and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system. This is a strategy rooted in partnership, not paternalism-in doing things with other people, not for them. We will use America's diplomatic power and our foreign assistance to help foreign citizens better their own lives, build their own nations, transform their own futures, and work with us to combat threats to our common security, including the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

I have stressed that public diplomacy is the responsibility of every single member of our diplomatic corps, not just our public diplomacy specialists. One idea we are beginning to implement is the creation of forward-deployed, regional public diplomacy centers. These centers, or media hubs, will be small, lean operations that work out of our embassies or other existing facilities, enabling us to respond quickly to negative propaganda, to correct misinformation, and to explain America's policies and our principles.

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