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Interview With Patrick Poivre d'Arvor of TF-1

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Paris, France
June 25, 2007

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECRETARY RICE: I talked today at the conference; asking others about obligations that heads of state undertook in the United Nations General Assembly called the (inaudible). And it means that when there are innocent populations like the kind that we’ve seen in Darfur – first of all, there’s a responsibility of their government, but if their government cannot or will not, then the international community cannot leave them to their fate. And so yes, it is the responsibility of the international community, of those in the West, to do something to do make certain that these people can be protected.

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECRETARY RICE: When you talk to people who were in government or in positions of authority in Rwanda, they all say one thing, ‘I wish I could go back and something about the conditions in Rwanda.’ They all say that they regret not having mobilized the international community to do something for the people of Rwanda. We still have an opportunity to do something for the people of Darfur. Too many have already died. Too many suffered in camps. Too many women have been raped. Too many children have been torn away from their families. But we still have an opportunity to do something for the people of Darfur. We can get a UN hybrid peacekeeping force in so that protection can be there for them. We can get support from the African Union forces that are already on the ground. Because we do know one thing – when there are military forces in the area – peacekeeping forces in the area, the violence goes down. We’re already doing a tremendous amount in humanitarian terms. The United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance since 2005. We have sent $2 billion in humanitarian assistance, but that’s just trying to keep the population alive. We need to have the completion of the peace agreement, we have to have the peace keeping forces on the ground so that these people have a chance at a better life and a reconstruction of their lives.

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, China was here at this meeting and China is a member of the Security Council. They therefore have special responsibilities. They do have special relationship with the Khartoum Government, and recently they’ve begun to speak out about the need for the Khartoum Government to live up to the obligations it has repeatedly taken and then not followed through. So, we did talk. And China was here and China said responsible things and I hope that they will act on them. I really do believe that the Chinese Government will do now what it has said it will do, which is to use its relationship to push the Khartoum Government forward.

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECRETARY RICE: No, I don’t see anything to be gained by depriving athletes around the world of the opportunity to compete. But, China, which is the country that has the Olympics because it is now a responsible member of the international community – should act on that responsibility and should show to the world that it is prepared to take its obligations seriously. We have had very good relations with China and we’ve had good opportunities to work with China on a number of difficult issues, like for instance, the situation in North Korea, the situation in Iran. And so I believe that the Chinese Government can and will act responsibly, but it does have special obligations as a Security Council member and given its relationship with Khartoum.

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it’s not the first time that I’ve met now President Sarkozy and I enjoyed very much our discussions today. I admire him. I admire what he is trying to do here in France. France is a good ally. We’ve had good cooperation. But I do feel a spirit of cooperation; a spirit of intensifying cooperation. I said to him that I think that he is pro-freedom in the world. He’s pro the values of democracy and human rights that are at the core of not just the United States, in its existence, but at the core for France, too. That’s why we are allies. That’s why we can expect intensified cooperation. And we were standing today listening to the American national anthem and the French national anthem played side-by-side and I thought to myself, ‘We have 1789 in common,” of course, and because we have that history in common, because we have those values in common, we have a special responsibility to the people of the world who have not been fortunate enough to live in freedom. And I feel in President Sarkozy, in Minister Kouchner, we have very good partners to do the very difficult work of helping those who live in tyranny to be freed of it.

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, I think that from all of my conversations with French officials since we’ve been on this trip – we have an agreement about Iraq – that Iraq needs to be stable. That an Iraq that is not stable and is not democratic is going to be a problem for the region as a whole. That is why France has been a part of the Neighbors Conference on Iraq, the International Compact for Iraq, the debt forgiveness for Iraq; because whatever our differences about 2003 and how the liberation of Iraq took place, I think we have general agreement now that Iraq needs to move forward toward a stability for the good of us all. And as for the United States and our role there, we believe very strongly that the United States has to remain committed to Iraq. Because, this is not an obligation that we have undertaken lightly. This is not an obligation that we have undertaken without knowing that it would be very difficult. And most importantly, it is not an obligation that we undertook just because we believed that Iraq needed to be liberated of the dictator, Saddam Hussein -- it did. But it’s also important to our security; to the security of the Middle East. To the security of the world as we know it. And Iraq is a central front in the war on terrorism. And that’s why the United States is going to remain committed to helping the Iraqi people defeat the extremists and the terrorists who would hope to turn Iraq into a base for their extremist activities. And along with the Iraqi people, we’re not prepared to let them do that. The commitment to Iraq is very, very strong.

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECRETARY RICE: The timetable for Iraq is to succeed. That, and to succeed in a timely fashion. But it takes – it’s very hard work to help people to develop the habits of democracy; to build security forces in a place that has been for most of its history violent and where political differences were resolved by either violence or oppression. You have to remember that Iraq, Saddam Hussein, took his region to war several times in his history. We have to remember that there were 300,000 Iraqis in masquerades. We have to remember that Chemical Ali – the man that was just condemned by an Iraqi court – was named Chemical Ali for the weapons of mass destruction that he used against his own people and against his neighbors. Just imagine if the latter half of the twentieth century there was a regime that used chemical weapons against its own people and against its neighbors. That says something about the need to be dealt with that regime, and we did. Now that that is behind us, we have the opportunity to help the Iraqis build a different kind of society which will help a different kind of Middle East emerge. And it’s very hard. Americans are taking a toll of some of our best people. And it’s difficult because those are men and women who will never be replaced for their families, for our country. But they understand that nothing of value is won without sacrifice. That’s been the history of all of us. We’ve been lucky enough to have someone come to our aid when times were difficult.

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECREATARY RICE: Yes, well we have had very good cooperation with France. In fact, I think it should be said that the United States and France – together with the international community – we’re largely responsible for mobilizing the international community to get Syrian forces out, to get a tribunal, to try the perpetrators of the killers of Rafiq Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon. I think it’s safe to say that we have accomplished a lot with the people of Lebanon. But now we are in a phase in which we need to carry through on the tribunal, in which we need to carry through on the obligations of the UN Security Council resolution that will not tolerate Syrian interference in Lebanese affairs, and to support the Siniora government. Last time I was in Paris, I was here for a donor conference that raised $7.4 billion dollars to support this democratic government here in Lebanon. And I am quite for moving forward to support the democratically elected government of Lebanon to help them to remove foreign influences from their territory and to punish those who have perpetrated the horrible crimes against the Lebanese people that have been perpetrated in recent years.

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECRETARY RICE: Well, certainly a lot of piano, I hope. (Laughter.) No, I have been really fortunate to serve my government at a level that I never really thought possible. I come from a very loving, but modest family of teachers and a Presbyterian minister. And I never thought when I was growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama that I might be first National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. And I think I’ve been fortunate to do that at a time of challenge, but also a time of opportunity. And so for the next several months of the Bush Administration, I’ll do my best to work toward a resolution of the conflict in Darfur, to work toward the establishment of a Palestinian state. We have work to do on proliferation and of weapons of mass destruction and Iran and North Korea; to work with this great alliance of democratic states to further the goals of peace and democracy. And when that’s done, I’ll happily go back to Stanford University and return to teaching and hopefully I’ll be playing the piano a little bit more often than I do now.

QUESTION: (In French.)

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.

2005/T12-2



Released on June 25, 2007

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