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Press Availability After the United Nations Security Council Ministerial on Sudan

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
New York City
May 9, 2006

(2:30 p.m. EDT)

SECRETARY RICE: I have just attended a special session, an extraordinary session of the Security Council on Darfur. I want, first, to thank the presidency -- Congo for arranging this meeting and Secretary General Annan. It was a meeting that President Bush called for to discuss what can be done now to support the recent peace agreement that was signed in Abuja. It is extremely important that the international community now mobilize to make sure that this agreement is implemented and that it can fully go into force so that the people of Darfur can be safe and secure and ultimately return to their homes.

The United States has tabled a resolution that would lead to a more robust peacekeeping force under UN auspices. We recognize that the African Union force has done an excellent job, but that their work now has expanded and that they -- the African Union has put forward a request for a new mission. This resolution would make certain that we are ready to honor that request. We also have made an appeal for food aid. The World Food Program is in dire need of contributions. The United States has thus far contributed about 85 percent of what the World Food Program currently has available to it. The President has said that -- has asked the Congress to make available another $225 million in assistance, about $150 million of which would be for Darfur, the remaining for the South. And so this was an important signal from the international community that we support the peace agreement.

There was a lot of praise for the Sudanese Government as well as for leader Minni Menawi for coming to the peace table and agreeing, but everybody now recognizes that this needs to be implemented. I might just say too that the work of the African leaders in this, President Sassou-Nguesso, President Konari, and especially President Obasanjo of Nigeria was roundly supported and roundly admired in this session.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary?


QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. We hear that there is a package agreed, in principle, amongst the five permanent members. It's called the carrots and sticks package on Iran. My question, is that so -- is everybody on board with that and is sitting together between the United States and Iran at the same table, part of that package? And secondly, would you address if Lebanon and Syria resolution has been discussed between you and your counterparts, Chinese and Russians, in particular?

SECRETARY RICE: On Lebanon and Syria, I think there is an understanding that we need to move forward to acknowledge the 1559 report of Mr. Larsen. I expect to discuss this in some detail with my French colleague later today.

On the course before us on Iran, we discussed last night the importance of the Council speaking in a united voice to tell the Iranians, in no uncertain terms, that they need to accede to the demands of the international community. And we are going to do that through a resolution which demonstrates to Iran that they have no other choice. The United States has long supported an effort to -- by the Russians, an effort by the EU to make available to the Iranian regime, should they choose to do so, a way to fulfill aspirations for a civil nuclear program. And that is what is being discussed, as how might that be made available again.

But I want to be very clear; the international community is united that there must be a strong message to Iran, through the Security Council, that their behavior to date is unacceptable and that they need to return to the negotiating table. I would just like to say to the people of Iran, obviously, if there is a way for Iran to accept the will of the international community, to accept proposals for civil nuclear power, this is the time for Iran to take that possibility, because no one wants to isolate the Iranian people. The Iranian regime is isolating the Iranian people. The international community is not doing so.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary?


QUESTION: Can a vote on Iran on the Chapter 7 resolution still happen this week or anytime soon? Is the time an issue?

SECRETARY RICE: Look, we're going to take the time that we need to make certain that the members of the international community have an opportunity to develop a strategy moving forward. That's what we did last night. The ministers spoke together for a very long time. I can tell you it was a very long time. We had a rather late night and it was about strategy going forward. We were not sitting there negotiating the terms of a resolution. The permanent representatives will do that. The political directors are going to meet again next week to talk about how to move forward.

We want to do this right. Obviously, this needs to be resolved because Iran continues to step forward and continues to improve its nuclear capability, so yes, there is some urgency to getting this done, but we also want to get it done right and with as much unity as possible. And we have considerable agreement on -- I would say total agreement on the view that Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, that Iran must accede to the requirements put forward in the IAEA Board of Governors resolution and memorialized in a presidential statement and that Iran needs now to suspend its programs and go back to the negotiating table.

As we discuss tactics of how to send that message to Iran, we're going to take the time to discuss it and to do that. But there is no disagreement whatsoever that it is incumbent on the Iranian Government to respond to the requirements that have been put before it.

I'll take one more. Yes.

QUESTION: Just following up on that, the Russians and the Chinese have made clear that they oppose putting a resolution on -- under Chapter 7 which the United States, Britain and France insist upon. The second thing is that there has been some possibility raised that -- of putting the resolution under Chapter 7, but only Article 40, which does not -- is only a preliminary step. Would that be acceptable to the United States? Is Chapter 7 a red line for the United States?

SECRETARY RICE: The United States believes very strongly in a mandatory statement from the Security Council to Iran. You know that our view is a Chapter 7 resolution. I'm not going to get into the diplomacy of what has been discussed. Let's just give the diplomacy a little time to work. I know on a number of occasions there have been reports: this will not happen, that will not happen. We are in the Security Council. We are discussing a way to make it absolutely clear to Iran that they must comply. And we are going to do that in a unified way and we will discuss the tactics of that. We're going to continue to discuss the tactics of that. And as I said, the political directors will meet next week. Anne.

QUESTION: On Hamas, can you tell us what you hope to talk to the other Quartet members about today and whether you expect to get some new agreement on international aid to the Palestinians?

SECRETARY RICE: Hamas has a choice to make. If it is going to govern and govern effectively, then it has to come into line with the requirements, not just of the Quartet, requirements like simply recognizing the right to exist of your partner is a necessary step if you're going to have peace negotiations, saying that you will give up violence is a necessary step to being able to have a peace agreement. And Hamas has a choice to make to live up to those requirements. But these are not just the requirements of the Quartet; this is also the consensus of the international community as expressed in the roadmap to which the Arab League is also committed. And so what is being said to Hamas is come into line with the norms of the international community and do so because as the government of the Palestinian people they are owed a better life and better life is only going to come in the context of a two-state solution and negotiations on a peace process. We had a long discussion today earlier with our Arab colleagues. We will have a discussion this afternoon. No one wants to see the Palestinian people suffer and indeed, the United States is going to make available $10 million, in kind, of contributions of essential medicines and supplies, because we are concerned about the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories. We've been very clear that we intend to keep humanitarian aid flowing to the Palestinian people.

We also support President Mahmoud Abbas, who is, after all, the elected president of the Palestinian people and the president of the Palestinian Authority. But no one wants to have to deal with a Palestinian government that, when there is a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, finds that reason to celebrate. That simply is not the appropriate course and so we will talk about how to make clear that the responsibility for the situation in the Palestinian territories is, indeed, the responsibility of the Palestinian government, but what we can do also to alleviate the circumstances in which the Palestinian people find themselves from a humanitarian standpoint.

I've got to go to a meeting; sorry. Thank you.

Released on May 10, 2006

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