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FY 2007 Supplemental Appropriations Request for International Affairs

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Remarks Before House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Washington, DC
February 16, 2007

As Delivered

(9:35 a.m. EST)

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Chairman Lowey. That's exactly what I'll do. I do have a longer statement that I would like to enter into the record and I'll just make a few comments and then take questions. Chairman Lowey, Congressman Wolf, members of the subcommittee and Mr. Lewis, Mr. Obey, thank you very much for this opportunity to appear before you in support of the President's fiscal year 2007 supplemental appropriations request for international affairs. I appear today at a time when Congress is just completing work on the continuing resolution for fiscal year 2007 and I want to thank this subcommittee and the entire Congress for the work that it is doing to ensure adequate funding for the Global HIV/AIDS program, for resources to combat malaria, for U.S. contributions to international peacekeeping, for foreign military financing and for regular and emergency migration and refugee assistance programs. I know it's a tight fiscal year and these are no small accomplishments and I just wanted to thank you in advance for that.

I'd like to note that during this last budget cycle for this supplemental and for 2008, the President has declared that the Department of State is now a national security agency alongside the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. And I think there's an important message in that because the national security of this country depends not just on what we can do military, not just on what we can do to protect the homeland, but also the degree to which we can help through transformational diplomacy to develop well governed democratic states around the world that are capable of delivering for their people, alleviating poverty, ending the wars in which they have been engaged and generally creating democratic stability. And I think the recognition that the Department of State plays an important role, perhaps the central role, in the war of ideas, in the struggle for democracy over extremism is something that we very much welcome.

The Administration has requested a total of $5.99 billion for international affairs programs in this supplement to support urgent requirements that are not funded in the annual budget. I'll just briefly note, and then we can get into details during the discussions, that Iraq is, of course, a major request here -- $3.2 billion for Iraq. I would like it to be understood that this is, in effect, an economic and political surge alongside the President's request for and augmentation of American military forces to help the Iraqis to stabilize their country. I don't think anyone believes that we can help the Iraqis to stabilize without a significant civilian input into that process. And indeed this critical component of the civilian surge really is principally around expanding the presence of Provincial Reconstruction Teams and enabling U.S. Government agencies to decentralize and diversify their civilian presence and assistance to the Iraqi people.

Iraq is a federal system. It is a system in which the provinces and the local governments have significant responsibility. We are learning and have, I think, really learned that it is important to decentralize our efforts to support those local governments and that provincial leadership. And indeed the Provincial Reconstruction Teams have been successful alongside our military. We intend to expand those to almost double the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams, including to some of the highest priority areas in support, for instance, of the Baghdad security program to increase the number of PRTs in areas of Baghdad. And in Anbar province where some successes in getting the tribal leaders there to fight al-Qaida, I think are testament to what our people are doing in the regions. And I'd just like to say that we are taking extraordinary measures to protect our civilian personnel in these areas by, in most cases, embedding with our military to provide protection.

But I know there's been a lot of discussion about what civilians are doing. I would like it to be acknowledged that when you see these Provincial Reconstruction Team leaders, some of them on their second, third tour in Iraq, some of them having done duty in high-threat places like Lebanon or Afghanistan and then coming to Iraq, we just have to recognize that civilians are taking their place and doing the hard work, too, of securing places like Iraq and Afghanistan. And I know that the President appreciates their service. They, too, serve without family. They serve on unaccompanied tours and it's just important to know that the men and women of the Department of State and civilians are doing their part.

For Afghanistan, the President's requested $7.51 million in 150 accounts for Afghanistan. This is a part of a new effort, a new push in Afghanistan on the reconstruction and development side. I think we have, in fact, on Afghanistan made considerable progress in the construction of this government. And in fact in the extension of that government into the provinces. It's well to note that in Afghanistan we are supporting NATO operations. I think it's really pretty remarkable that NATO has been fighting alongside the United States and the rest of the Coalition in places like the south where Canada and Denmark and the UK and The Netherlands are fighting. It's very tough going. And they're taking casualties. They are working very hard to push back the Taliban which, yes, did come back somewhat with a stronger offensive presence last spring than perhaps was anticipated. But I've been at NATO a couple of times about this issue. And our support for increased presence in Afghanistan, our support for increased reconstruction assistance I think has galvanized and energized others.

Lebanon -- we went to the Paris donors conference. I'm happy to answer more specific questions. But let me just say that Lebanon is really on the front line of the struggle between extremism and responsible states. We do have a young government in the Siniora government that's under enormous pressure, principally from Syria -- something that Syria could release at any time, if it wished to do so.

But the truth is Syria is not reconciled to the fact that its forces were made to leave Lebanon by international pressure and the pressure of the Lebanese people, nor is Syria reconciled to the fact that there is going to be an international tribunal which will try the perpetrators of Rafik Hariri's assassination last year. So this is a time to support the Lebanese Government, to support them in extending their authority through their territory with their armed forces, but also in support of an economic reform plan that is backed by and supported by the international financial institutions.

And let me assure you that the ESF support that we are requesting is in fact linked to reforms that are specific to that internationally acceptable reform program. And so I know that that's something that you've been concerned abut. There are benchmarks, what laws need to be passed, what reforms need to be made and there's a commitment by this Siniora government to make those reforms. We think our support to them will help them to make those reforms.

Finally, just a word on a couple of other places. Kosovo -- we are all preparing for the carrying out of the international plan that Martti Ahtissari has put forward. He is trying to negotiate this with the partners. But I think everybody understands that it's going to be a rocky road, as Kosovo attains a different status vis--vis Serbia and we want very much to be supportive of a Kosovo Government that is able to protect minority rights, that is able to rebuild after the terrible years after the war and frankly to be supportive also of a democratic Serbia because we don't need in this last piece of the unification of Europe around democratic principles to have Kosovo blow up.

Finally, let me just a word about Sudan. The United States has been the strongest voice for Sudan in the international community for the displaced and suffering people of Sudan. We have been the most important humanitarian assistance donors. We have been the ones who've gone to the Security Council with resolutions on sanctions, gotten some of the passed. But frankly we do need more help from the international community. We especially need help from those countries that seem sometimes to want to shield Sudan. And I think we've made some progress.

Andrew Natsios, our special envoy, actually went to Beijing to talk to the Chinese about Sudan. When President Hu was in Sudan, he did make statements about the importance of Sudan, accepting the Addis Ababa compromise that Kofi Annan negotiated and getting peacekeeping forces into Sudan to protect the innocent. Our piece of that is to help with refugees, to help with reconstruction, to help with peacekeeping, but also not to lose sight of the landmark agreement that was achieved between the north and the south in Sudan. This was a civil war that had cost millions of lives and because the United States intervened through the good offices of John Danforth, we were able to bring about a peace. We need now to support that peace as well. And so Sudan is also on this list for emergency spending.

Thank you very much.


Released on February 16, 2007

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