U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video

Interview With CBS News

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
New York, New York
August 11, 2006

SECRETARY RICE: Good evening, Harry.

QUESTION: (Off mic.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it was very key for the Israelis, but frankly for troop contributors and I think also for the Lebanese that this be a really robust force, international force, that can accompany and help the Lebanese armed forces, so that we don't have a return to the status quo ante in the south.

Nobody wants a situation like the one that caused this, where you had a state operating within a state. So the language was strengthened on the mandate. I think it's a very strong mandate. And this has been good for all sides.

QUESTION: (Off mic.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, this has been a negotiation between the democratically elected government of Lebanon and the democratically elected government of Israel to get to this place. And I would just underscore, Harry, what a great victory this is in a sense that the Lebanese government will be exercising its authority throughout the country.

One of the problems has been a vacuum, really now for many, many years, in which the Lebanese government was not able and in some cases not willing to exercise its authority. Now, you have a government willing to have the Lebanese armed forces deploy with this robust international force, willing to take on its responsibilities, including its responsibilities under the Taif Accord and under 1559 to have no unauthorized armed groups. And so I think this is a really big victory for that Lebanese government as well. And there are, after all, Hezbollah ministers who were elected to this government, and I assume that they're going to cooperate.

QUESTION: (Off mic.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the real question is, what incentive do Lebanese leaders have to make life better for their people? There is no doubt that this resolution, this cessation of hostilities and what follows will both make life easier in the short term, as we're able to deal with some of the humanitarian problems more effectively than we've been able to under the terms -- while there's been a war there.

It's also the case that the Lebanese people, I think, are going to be looking to their government to be able to return people to their homes in the south and to be able to create circumstances where this can't happen again. We have to remember that this happened when Hezbollah crossed an internationally recognized line, abducted Israeli soldiers and then launched this destructive campaign.

QUESTION: (Off mic.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, you're absolutely right, Harry. There are external powers at play here. And, first of all, everyone should use whatever influence they have with these state sponsors of terrorism to say to them that they cannot continue to put the region into this kind of peril. But there is also an arms embargo that now, if it is violated, it will be violated in contradistinction to a U.N. Security Council resolution. The Lebanese government has said that it will take its responsibilities to keep unauthorized arms out of its country.

And finally, Syria which, of course, all the way back to Resolution 1559 has obligations concerning the sovereignty of Lebanon, really has to live up to them now.

QUESTION: (Off mic.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, Harry, it is clearly only a first step. It's a good first step because it is a resolution when adopted by the parties that will not allow a return to the status quo ante. It is a resolution that will strengthen the authority of the Lebanese government and its armed forces. It will give robust international force support to establishing the Lebanese government's authority. All of those are very good things.

But it took Lebanon a long time to get to this condition where we have this kind of vacuum in the south. One resolution is not going to fix the problem. And indeed, I would expect that what we're really looking at is very soon an abatement of the large-scale violence that has been so hard on civilians. But we need to get even further to a more sustainable situation in which you get the international force in and Israeli forces are able to withdraw.

QUESTION: (Off mic.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I know that the Secretary General is very actively now seeking contributions from member states. I know that there are a number of member states who have said that they are interested. I think now that the mandate is robust enough that it is clear that people can defend themselves and can defend this mandate, that we will have troop contributors. And I would hope that this would happen very, very quickly.

QUESTION: (Off mic.)

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.

2006/T20-1



Released on August 11, 2006

  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.