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

Press Availability After Her Meeting With French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Paris, France
December 17, 2007

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you for welcoming me here at Elysee Palace. It has been many issues that the United States and France are working on together. Because we have such a deep friendship and a deep partnership built on values, we're able to take on the many challenges that we face.

We've had a discussion of the Middle East, in particular the situation in Lebanon and the desire that the Lebanese people will be allowed to have their election so that they can elect a president. They appear to have a consensus candidate. That election should go on without delay.

We talked also about our joint efforts in Afghanistan to bring peace and stable democracy there, about the need to continue the efforts of the international community to make certain that Iran responds to the will of the international community embodied in the Security Council resolutions that demand the end to or the suspension of Iranian enrichment and reprocessing activities.

And so it's been a very good visit, and U.S.-French relations are excellent. And I want to thank again the President for having me here and also the French for the excellent work that they've done to convene this very important conference to support the Palestinians as we move forward to a successful conclusion to negotiations and the establishment of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

Thank you, and I'll take just a couple questions. Arshad.

QUESTION: On Iran and Russia, Russia has now made the first fuel deliveries to Iran. Do you not wish that they had not taken that step? And also on Russia, President Putin today said he would serve as prime minister under Medvedev if he is elected. Does this not seem to you to seem almost to be verging on farce?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, on the matter of fuel for Bushehr, we have discussed this with the Russians over the last several weeks. As you know, the United States has been supportive of the Bushehr project in the last couple of years because we believe that it is exactly the kind of effort that could provide for Iran a civil nuclear program without the fear of the proliferation risk because Bushehr relies on the provision of fuel and then a takeback of that fuel under very clear and tough safeguards that the Russians have insisted upon. And so we believe that this is, in fact, the way that Iran should acquire civil nuclear power, which is not to have enrichment and reprocessing itself but to rely on assured fuel supply from another country.

As to the situation in Russia internally, we've made clear our concerns about the process in Russia, about what is happening to democratic processes there and the need for Russia to return to a path in which it can have contested elections for the presidency.

MR. MCCORMACK: Last question. Anne Gearan.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, the World Bank said a couple of days ago that the world might be in danger of wasting its money at this conference unless some of the roadblocks and other impediments were removed. How large a topic of discussion was that for you today, and do you feel it's incumbent on the United States to come down a little harder on Israeli to lift some of those impediments?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we did talk about the need to improve movement and access so that the efforts that are being made to improve the economic conditions for Palestinians can succeed. I had a long discussion with Quartet representative Tony Blair about some of the projects that he will be working with Salam Fayyad and Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister, on. And obviously, as those projects go forward, it will be necessary to do something to improve movement and access. There are security considerations that have to be taken into account, but working together -- the Israelis, the Palestinians and the international community -- I believe that they can make progress on both improving mobility and therefore -- and in making economic projects possible.

Maybe one from the French press shall we do? Yes.

QUESTION (Via interpreter): Can you speak a little bit more about -- more details about your discussion with President Sarkozy on Lebanon.

SECRETARY RICE: On Lebanon, yes. Well, as you know, the United States and France have been very active together in trying to make very clear that the Lebanese people, and particularly the democratically elected representatives of Lebanon, should be supported, not thwarted, not stopped in their efforts to move forward to the election of a president. It has now been quite a while since Emile Lahoud stepped down. There appears to be a consensus candidate. There is really no reason that they should not be allowed to move forward with an election of that president. Other issues should be put aside so that they can get a president.

It is also the case that this should be done without intimidation, because the continued assassinations, the most recent, the assassination of General al-Hajj, are, we believe, efforts to intimidate the Lebanese people. And this shouldn't be allowed to happen. And so there needs to be a constructive attitude by all of the Lebanon's neighbors, including Syria. We will talk later with some of the interested parties, but France and the United States have been united in their efforts and we're going to continue to be so.

Thank you very much. Thank you.


Released on December 17, 2007

  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.