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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > What the Secretary Has Been Saying > 2006 Secretary Rice's Remarks > March2006: Secretary Rice's Remarks

Interview by Alberto Pando of CNN Espaqol

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Santiago, Chile
March 11, 2006

QUESTION:  Nice to meet you again, Madame Secretary.

SECRETARY RICE:  Nice to see you.

QUESTION:  Seeing another woman becoming a president and commander-in-chief, are you tempted?

Secretary Rice with the CNN Espaņol crew from her interview with Alberto Pando ,far left, in Santiago, Chile on March 10, 2006. [State Department photo]SECRETARY RICE:  (Laughter.)  No, not at all.  But it is a wonderful day for Chile.  It is a wonderful day for women around the world.  It's very exciting to see a country that has been through so much have now this peaceful transfer of power.  All of the symbols of the inaugural were about the peaceful transfer of power and so it really was very inspirational.

QUESTION:  Michelle Bachelet comes from a family that suffered torture during Chilean military regime.  You have come to Chile to support a President with that background at the same time that the United States is being accused of practicing abuse and torture against prisoners.  What is the real position of your country on torture:  It is always reprehensible or sometimes can it be acceptable?

SECRETARY RICE:  No, it is not permissible.  It's not acceptable.  And the President has --


SECRETARY RICE:  Never.  The President has made very clear that he does not expect and would not condone Americans engaging in torture.  We signed a convention, the International Convention on Torture, and the United States upholds its international obligations.

We're in a very difficult war against people who kill innocent people, who blow up a Palestinian wedding party or a subway system in Madrid or in London or fly an airplane into buildings in New York.  But we are a people of laws, we believe in the rule of law, and the President has made very clear that he does not accept or condone torture.

QUESTION:  Should your visit to Chile be considered as a sign of United States approval of the way that Chile carries its policies in tune with the American way in opposition to other countries of the region that are more critical of President Bush's policies?

SECRETARY RICE:  The reason that I'm here in Chile is that Chile is a good friend, but that doesn't mean that Chile always agrees with American policy.  Very often we have differences about issues in the world.  We had differences about Iraq.  But you can have differences with friends.

What we share with Chile is values:  basic respect for human dignity, basic respect for democratic principles.  What we share with Chile is a belief in free market principles and free trade.  We have a free trade agreement with Chile that has dramatically increased trade between the two countries.  That's what we share with Chile.  And so whatever differences we may have from time to time on policies, we share basic values.  And that's why I'm here, is to express that, and to celebrate with Chile the election and now installation of this very fine woman as president.

QUESTION:  What do you think about the possibility that Chile supports Venezuela's efforts to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council at the end of this year?

SECRETARY RICE:  Well, we are some time away from the time at which we have to elect new members to the Security Council.  Chile will obviously, as will other countries, make their own decisions. 

The United States is, of course, a permanent member of the Security Council and our goal is to have a Security Council that is responsible, that recognizes its global responsibilities. 

The Security Council is the most important mechanism that the world has for making certain that there is peace and that there is security.  We have had important steps to take concerning Syria and Lebanon, where Chile, by the way, cast the vote that said that the world insisted on Syria giving Lebanon its independence, its sovereignty. 

So the Security Council does very, very important work and our goal will be to make certain that it continues to be able to do that important work.

QUESTION:  You have said that today Iran is the greatest challenge that confronts the United States.  What does this mean in terms of actions that your country may take in order to protect itself from this perceived threat?

SECRETARY RICE:  Well, we have a very strong coalition of states in the international community that have demonstrated their concern about Iran's nuclear ambitions.  We saw this in the recent International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors meeting when there was a very strong vote when countries like Egypt and India, along with Russia and the Europeans, voted to refer -- to report -- Iran's case to the Security Council.  I think we will take up Iran's case in the Security Council very soon.

So there's an international coalition that is concerned about Iran's nuclear program and there are many people who are also concerned about Iran's -- the Iranian regime's terrorist activities:  support for Hezbollah, support for the terrorists in the Palestinian territories, and of course about the way that Iran treats its own people.  So this is not between the United States and Iran.  Iran is succeeding in isolating itself from the international community as a whole.

QUESTION:  How are current relations between your country and Bolivia after raising the statements of President Morales on what he describes as American aggressive and provocative attitude towards his country? 

SECRETARY RICE:  Well, we just had a very good meeting with President Morales.

QUESTION:  Oh, really?

SECRETARY RICE:  Yes, yes.  Very good.  And it was a very good meeting.  We talked about all the work that we need to do together.  We need Bolivia to be strong in the counterdrug fight because no one wants drugs on their streets killing their children, as drugs do.  We talked about the need for this whole region to grow economically, but not just so that it grows, but so that that growth can be used to provide jobs and then to provide access for people to healthcare and to education.  I am myself an educator and I know firsthand the importance of a sound education for people in a world where jobs require knowledge and require education. 

And so America has a positive agenda for this region, a region that is for the Americas as a whole; and that's a policy that believes in free trade, in economic growth, and also that democracies, when they're governing democratically and governing well, need to be able to deliver for their people, including for marginalized people, as many indigenous people in this region have been.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.




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