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Interview With Allan Krashesky, ABC-WLS-TV

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Chicago, Illinois
April 19, 2006

QUESTION: A policy question that deals, of course, with what's going on inside the White House today in terms of the reorganization of the staff. Did you anticipate this would be coming? Is it necessary? And how at all does it impact you?

SECRETARY RICE: It's been a White House that has served the President very loyally and very well. It has been a long time and I know there are a number of people who thought that it was time for refreshment. Andy Card, who I think the President was glad to have for his entire term, said that he thought that it was time for a change. And the changes that are being made are good changes. I know the people who are going to serve, people like Rob Portman and Susan Schwab, who is going over to USTR. Josh Bolten I know him quite well. This is a first-rate team and the President will continue to be well served.

QUESTION: Scott McClellan has resigned, of course.


QUESTION: Will this change the way you feel that the Administration reacts (inaudible) forward to the American public?

SECRETARY RICE: I think Scott was emblematic of the way the Administration tries to deal with these issues. He's been a great spokesman. He is somebody who tried to understand the issues, not just go out and talk about them and he's going to be missed.

QUESTION: Let me ask you some foreign policy questions. The Chinese president, of course, now is in the country and President Hu will meet with the President tomorrow. Will you be in that meeting as well?

SECRETARY RICE: I will and I think the President is looking forward to receiving President Hu. There's probably no more important event or factor in international policy than the rise of China as an economic giant and it's becoming diplomatically very important. We have done some very important work with China on North Korea. We're doing work with China on Iran. We have our differences on human rights and religious freedom, but the fact is that China is a country that has been in the midst of a huge (inaudible). And so it is important to try and create conditions in which China will be a positive factor in international policy and I think that's our obligation.

QUESTION: How challenging is it for you; as you're, I'm sure, well aware, there was a front-page article in the New York Times this morning regarding China's outtake of oil and how that that affects world policy, even in our dealings with Iran, for instance.

SECRETARY RICE: China is a very rapidly growing economy. The Chinese (inaudible) a year in order to just keep pace with its population. And so it needs a fast-growing economy. We'd like to see a China, like other countries, including ourselves, have a better diversification of mix on energy. China -- it's probably not well-known -- China is one of our partners in something called the Asia-Pacific Partnership on climate and energy, where we are exploring technologies that will give us—technologies that will give us the energy supply that is not based on hydrocarbons, that is green, and that yet allows its economy to grow.

So we have a cooperative relationship, too, with China on energy. But I'd be the first to say not just in the case of China, but there's no doubt that the search for energy is a real factor in international policy today.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) concern over Iran and what happens if its oil supply is cut off. But I'll ask you the question that everyone's asking here with regard to their nuclear program and simply say, at what point do you believe that diplomacy is no longer an effective option?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I think we've had many diplomatic (inaudible) regarding the diplomatic process here. Iran is going to have to come to the conclusion that it's either going to be isolated -- and I mean the regime, not the Iranian people -- they're either going to be isolated or they're going to accede to the just demands of the international community that they fulfill their civil nuclear energy needs in a way that doesn't raise questions about whether they're building a nuclear weapon.

And there are many options open for them to do that. I hope that they will take them, but I know that if we have a concerted diplomatic effort, if we really press in the Security Council -- and I will tell you more countries are beginning to think about what sanctions might be necessary -- I think that we can convince Iran to change course.

QUESTION: Without a military -- without --

SECRETARY RICE: The President's going to keep his options on the table, but we think the diplomatic course has many, many miles left.

QUESTION: Well, the criticism -- again, a different topic -- of Secretary Rumsfeld. Do you feel that it is proper?

SECRETARY RICE: Secretary Rumsfeld is a dedicated public servant. Nobody has worked harder to try and make this country secure. And the President has confidence in him, his colleagues have confidence in him, and I've known Don Rumsfeld for a lot of years. As a matter of fact, met him first right here in Chicago and he's a good friend and I'm honored to have the chance to serve with him.

QUESTION: Let me ask you, talking all day of course about Iraq and it seems -- the pace of change there -- is it the pace of getting things done that you find perhaps most challenging and frustrating?

SECRETARY RICE: The Iraqis -- interestingly, the Iraqi people are somewhat frustrated with the inability of their leaders to form a government, but they're working very hard and I know how hard they're working at it. I was out there just a couple of weeks ago. And they are going to get a new government with their own high standards. They want a government of national unity that's going to be effective. And when they get that government of national unity, they are going to be in a position to really start to see control of their own future, much as their security forces are -- that we have trained -- are getting better and better at taking care of security problems.

And the United States is going to be able to step back and to be in a more supportive role. That's what we're planning for and I think the Iraqis are going to be able to do that.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Secretary. I appreciate your time.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.

# # #

Released on April 20, 2006

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