Interview With Amal Roushdy Hammady of Nile TelevisionSecretary Condoleezza Rice
October 3, 2006
QUESTION:Madame Secretary, what's your agenda with President Mubarak tomorrow and is Egypt's initiative to pursue a civilian nuclear program among your discussion?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you very much. If you don't mind, I'd like to take a moment to wish your viewers Ramadan Karim and to say how good it is to be here in Egypt again.
The agenda for this visit is to take an assessment of the complicated situation that we face, but also to meet with important allies and friends about how we can strengthen the moderate forces in the region. I think we will spend a good deal of time talking about how to support Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinians are going through an extremely difficult time. They need a government that can represent their interest, that will accept the responsibilities of governing, but we need to support President Abbas who is a man of peace. I think we will talk also about Lebanon and the full implementation of Resolution 1701. We will talk as well about Iraq and how to support the Iraqi people as they make their very difficult journey to democracy. And of course we are talking also about the region as a whole.
I look forward to talking with the President also about how the domestic situation here is evolving, the reforms. But it's a full agenda and it's always a full agenda --
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, no, of course, we will talk also about the nuclear program. I have just learned that the Egyptian Government is interested in civil nuclear power. From our point of view, the President has always made very clear that we believe that civil nuclear power is going to be an important energy source in the future. That states that are members of the NPT, the Nonproliferation Treaty, and are in good standing should have access to civil nuclear power. And indeed as long as they are willing to have access to that, perhaps with a fuel take-back provision so that there is no proliferation risk, the United States wants to support those efforts. And so I think as Egypt develops its plans we will want to stay in very close discussion about them.
QUESTION: The GCC members meeting plus two, Jordan and Egypt, and I'm quoting you, "moderate states" against extremist forces in the region. How do you (inaudible) Iran after the last and the latest talks between Larijani and Solana in Berlin, one? And two, what is the compact order, consideration of work, you are having to have with these member countries?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the GCC plus two will be the agenda that I've just spoke of, having to do with the Palestinians, having to do with Iraq, having to do with Lebanon. Obviously the Iranian issue is a major concern but this isn't a group that is against anyone. We're for -- I think all of these states -- a more peaceful Middle East. Iran, of course, is a supporter of extremist forces, whether it's Hezbollah or the trouble that they cause in Iraq and that needs to be stopped. It is also true that Iran's nuclear program is of great concern to the entire region. And while we were very hopeful that the Iranians might take the package, the proposal that had been presented to them, it does not appear that they are going to suspend their enrichment and reprocessing activities. And in that case we will have to follow the logic of Resolution 1696, which is to move to sanctions.
QUESTION: Mm-hmm. You mentioned that you would support and back up President Mahmoud Abbas, in which way, in this stage where you're struggling hard to form the government of unity, of national unity?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: What are the means and tools?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, first politically to support his ideals because he understands that there needs to be a government of national unity that is responsible, that will accept the many agreements that the Palestinians have signed in the past, that will accept the Arab initiative which really is a foundation for two states living side by side in peace. We can also support him in the reform of the security forces so that the Palestinians have security forces that really do report to a single authority. We can support him and we are encouraging people to support him financially. There are all kinds of ways that we can help him.
QUESTION: Palestinian economy is very much deteriorating as you know -- tax and customs revenues collected now by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. Would this be a topic of discussion with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, I think we have to recognize that there is still a government in the Palestinian territories that does not even recognize the right of Israel to exist and that's a problem. The Palestinians have got to have a government that at least recognizes the right of the Israelis to exist and that renounces violence. Now we have -- had set up what's called a temporary international mechanism for donations to be made so that they can go to the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas rather than to Hamas. I think we will want to look at what other kinds of contributions there could be to that. And of course we will discuss with Prime Minister Olmert what might be possible with the tax revenues.
QUESTION: Okay. I will move very quickly to Darfur and your last address in Washington, D.C., you made it clear that it's time for action now and for the Security Council Resolution 1706. But the UN envoy, he expressed the UN willingness to support the African Union troops. Would this be a good way to solve the problem?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we can support the African Union forces for a while -- and we are supporting the African Union forces. The problem is that the African Union forces are not large enough or strong enough or mobile enough to deal with an area the size of Texas. You need a United Nations security force that can be a peacekeeping force, that can be sustained over time, that is large enough that enough countries can contribute to and the Sudanese Government does not need to worry that people are trying to infringe on their sovereignty. We just want to protect the people of Darfur and we need the UN peacekeeping forces in order to do that.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.
Released on October 3, 2006