Remarks With United Kingdom Foreign Secretary David MilibandSecretary Condoleezza Rice
December 1, 2008
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. And welcome to One Carlton Gardens. Above all, welcome to my colleague and friend, Condi Rice, for her nearly 24-hour visit in the UK. So we’re delighted to have you back.
It’s not like it’s a quiet time in foreign affairs at the moment, so I don’t want to tempt fate by saying this is necessarily your last visit to London, but it may be the last occasion I get the chance to say publicly what I’ve said privately, which is that you have had a record of incredible distinction in all of the posts that you’ve held in U.S. Government, first National Security Advisor and then as Secretary of State. And you’ve carried out your task with determination, with incredible energy, and with a resolute focus on getting results. Because I think for you, diplomacy has only ever been about getting things done and making a difference. You’ve also carried out your task with enormous charm and grace and friendship, and for that we are extremely grateful. And I believe you’ve always seen the U.S.-UK friendship and partnership as being at the heart of the drive to build security and prosperity around the world.
There is talk about a successor being appointed, I gather. Suffice to say that you will be a very hard act to follow, Madame Secretary. We’ve got a series of discussions today and tomorrow morning before you fly off to Brussels for the NATO summit. We’ve dedicated ourselves over the last hour and a bit to talking about the situation in India. Both of our countries have lost innocent people in the terrible atrocities last week. Both of us have very strong ties to India and to Pakistan. And I think we know that violent extremism is a threat to the very integrity of both those countries. And so for that reason, we intend to do all that we can to work to use our influence to ensure that those who are responsible for the atrocities are brought to justice and that the drive to reconcile India and Pakistan to build links between those two great countries are taken forward.
Secretary Rice is traveling from here to India after the stop in Brussels. And that will be very important to that shared drive. No doubt over the next nearly a day, we’ll talk about a whole range of other issues on which we are working closely together, but maybe we can leave that for questions.
Condi, if you would say a few words, to say hello to our friends from the press, and then we’ll take some questions.
SECRETARY RICE: I’ll gladly do that, David. Thank you very much. And I just want to thank you, as my colleague and as my friend, for the wonderful working relationship that we’ve enjoyed. I do think this is likely my last official visit to London. But it, fortunately, won’t be my last visit to London, that’s for certain. And I hope that we can stay in touch. You’ve brought tremendous energy and skill to this position.
But I just want to say that you read about, as a student of international politics, the special relationship but you don’t know really how special it is until you’ve experienced it. And we have had extraordinary challenges, extraordinary tasks, but also extraordinary opportunities. And I hope that when the final history of this period is written, that it will be said that we dealt resolutely with the challenges, but we also explored and pursued the opportunities, and that we did so on the basis of the great values that unite our country and the great values that, when they are pursued, really do make not only for a more secure world, but a more just one.
We have indeed had a very good discussion of the tragedy in India and the subsequent events there. David was just in the region. And we had talked shortly after you returned. And I am on my way there. Obviously, this is a time when everyone in the civilized world needs to unite not just in condemnation of these terrorist attacks, but also in a commitment to be decisive in following up whatever leads there are in making certain that the people who perpetrated these attacks are brought to justice.
It was, of course, a terrible day for India, and we have – we extend our condolences to the people of India. It was also a terrible day for the United States and for Great Britain and for a number of other countries as we lost nationals. And in the case of Great Britain and the United States, these were people who were singled out because they were British and because they were Americans, and that gives us a qualitatively different character from the point of view, certainly, of President Bush and, as I understand it, the British Government.
And so we will be working with India. We intend to work with Pakistan as well. The people who perpetrated this must be brought to justice. And ultimately, the terrorists have to be stopped because they will keep trying to bring down the civilized values and the civilized world as long as they are not challenged. And that means that challenging them and resolutely going after them is the only choice that we have.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Good. Who wants to fire off? Michael (inaudible) from the Times.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) from the Times. President Bush was pretty adamant in the Bucharest summit in April that he wanted Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO, or at least to join the membership action group. Now it seems as if this is not going to be offered to them at the NATO foreign ministers meeting. Was it just the war in Georgia that changed your mind? And will you support the resumption of NATO relations with Moscow?
SECRETARY RICE: First of all, let me point back to the Bucharest declaration, which was very clear in its statement of NATO’s intention concerning Georgia and Ukraine, and that is that Georgia and Ukraine will one day -- will be members of NATO. I think the sentence is actually very clear: Georgia and Ukraine will be members of NATO.
We believe strongly in NATO’s open-door policy that states that are prepared for NATO membership and can assume the responsibilities therein should be welcomed into the organization. But there is a long road ahead for both Georgia and Ukraine to reach those standards. And the United States stands resolutely for those standards, meaning that there should be no shortcuts to membership in NATO.
We have the Ukraine and Georgia commissions, which – the Ukraine commission has been in place for some time. The Georgia commission was created at our last meeting in Brussels. And we believe that those commissions can be used to continue to help prepare these states for eventual membership in NATO. And so we will be in Brussels tomorrow. I’m certain that we’ll have a broad discussion of this. But I think there’s – you can talk about tactical difference among – differences among the allies, but no one wants to see a circumstance in which Ukraine and Georgia are shut out. And that’s why the Bucharest declaration reads as it does.
And as to the question of NATO-Russia ties, we have, in principle, no problem with the resumption of ties between NATO and Russia. Indeed, there have been, at lower levels, the resumption of those discussions. But it’s simply a matter of what is appropriate and what was appropriate at a time when, clearly, Russia’s behavior in Georgia was quite contrary to all of the values and principles on which NATO stands.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think it’s worth saying that the heads were absolutely clear when they met in April. They settled the theology of this issue in the declaration. And now the task is one of practice: How do we implement what the heads have decided? And anyone you talk to, not just in NATO, but anyone you talk to in Georgia or in Ukraine, will tell you that there are important practical steps that need to be taken to help boost their own capacity, and that is the first thing that is going to be essential. And I think we can find a lot of common ground about the implementation of the agreement that was come – that was came to last April.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you said earlier that the Pakistani Government is a very young, civilian government. How confident are you that this government is going to get all the cooperation it needs from the Pakistani military and intelligence?
And Mr. Miliband, the Secretary is going to India this week. Do you plan to go to India, too, in the next few days?
SECRETARY RICE: We treat the Government of Pakistan as a whole. And the President of Pakistan is the elected Pakistani President and he has, therefore, the legitimacy that comes with election and that is the legitimacy that comes from the Pakistani people. That is true also of the Prime Minister and, of course, the military serves now in a civilian government. And we expect that that will be the case going forward. We have obviously good contacts with all Pakistani officials from various institutions through our various bilateral institutional ties. But the Government of Pakistan has a legitimate and elected president and that is whom we will – with whom we will deal concerning the situation.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I’m pleased to be able to have the opportunity to report that I spoke with the Indian Foreign Minister just before our lunch today. I obviously expressed the condolences of the British people to the Indian Government and also our thanks for the way they’ve – the efforts they’ve put in to deal with the crisis. I also emphasized how committed we are, not just as a government but as a country, given our very large populations of Indian and Pakistani origin to seeing better relations between India and Pakistan as the foundation of stability in that region of the world. These are two great countries that should be trading -- even sometimes arguing – but certainly working together.
And it seems to us absolutely essential that everyone understands now that violent extremism is a threat to the very integrity of Pakistan, but also the integrity and character of India as the world’s largest multi-faith democracy. And so the stakes are very high indeed. They are stakes that we are determined to work with the Indian and Pakistani authorities separately. But they also need the Indian and Pakistan authorities to work together. And that’s real responsibilities for both sides, quite demanding on both sides, to chase down the people who have perpetrated this atrocity to work together at all levels to ensure that this is done and to translate what I think is a popular understanding that these countries have to live and work together into real action together.
QUESTION: Will you be going to --
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I’m sorry. I don’t have any immediate plans, but obviously we keep that under very close review.
QUESTION: Tim Marshall Sky News. Welcome, Madame Secretary. Do you think Hillary Clinton would make a good Secretary of State, regardless of the name and the position? Any words of advice for your successor?
And Foreign Secretary, do you accept that India has to be seen to respond in robust fashion, that its population demands it after Mumbai?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, let me start by saying I suppose the announcement is going to be shortly. I’ve tried to avoid and to give the President-elect the courtesy of making the announcement. But since we’re in different time zones, let me respond.
The first time that I met Senator Clinton was actually a world away from Washington, when she brought her freshman daughter to Stanford University where I was provost. And so our relationship goes back quite a long way. And I am very fond of her. I think she has worked very hard on behalf of the country. I think she really comported herself very well in the campaign. And she’s an inspiration to a lot of people and a lot of – not just women, a lot of people. I know that she will bring enormous energy and intellect and skill to the position. And most importantly, I know her to be somebody who has what you need most in this job, which is a deep love for the United States of America and for its values, a respect for differences that we may have with friends and allies, but always recognizing that the core of who we are as Americans unites us with very many around the world, particularly Great Britain.
As to advice, I’ll give her that advice privately, and then she won’t and you won’t hear from me again, because – (laughter) – I will certainly not make the effort to comment on everything that is done. I think that we’ve had a good run, but I’ll tell you something. The two-year term is not a bad idea.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: The two-year term?
SECRETARY RICE: No, sorry, the two-term – four years. (Laughter.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: The two-term -- the term limits?
SECRETARY RICE: The term limits, American term limits.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Well, we’re looking forward to today’s announcement as well. Obviously, Senator Clinton brings an enormous breadth of experience to her role. The point that I would account, I think, is a determination to defy fatalism. She’s someone who believes that human effort can engineer change, and I think that’s a profoundly important quality that she shares with Secretary Rice, and it’s one that I think will bring a great deal to international affairs. And we very much look forward to working with her.
In respect of the situation in India, I think that the Indian people, like people anywhere in the world when they’re struck by terrorism, want to know that their government develops a plan to tackle that terrorism. That doesn’t mean symbolic acts. It means real acts with real partners to effect real change. My conversation with the Indian Foreign Minister today was about those real acts that are going to be necessary, not just from India to improve its own defenses, but from its neighbors, notably from Pakistan.
And I think it is very important that the whole world says that Prime Minister Singh on the one hand, President Zardari on the other, are two men who are committed to the proposition that India and Pakistan have so much more to gain from working together than from being divided. They know the costs of division between those two countries. Their early work together over the last few months has opened up the economy across the line of control, has developed political talks, and now those are under the greatest possible scrutiny and the greatest possible strain. I think it’s precisely at this moment of strain and scrutiny that we need very strong statesmanship and leadership to assert that it is joint action and cooperative action that will make the difference between stability and instability. And that’s certainly what we’ll be working for.
QUESTION: Yes. Madame Secretary, the degree of closeness that both the Pakistani Government -- the proceeding one and the current – and the Indian Government have had to the United States have been a problem for both of them over the last year in various respects. By going to India now and by highlighting the fact that Americans were killed and that the United States takes special interest in this act as a result, do you risk heightening tensions either between India and – or anti-Americanism in either country?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, Anne, in terms of the relationship with India, we’ve just been through a kind of banner year for U.S.-Indian relations. The United States spearheaded the reentry – or the entry of India into the IAEA framework and a civil-nuclear deal that I think was of extraordinary importance to India and is seen to have been as such. And I was just in India, as you know, and I find there that the level of comity and, indeed, friendship between India and the United States is unparalleled, really, throughout our history.
We also were the ones, along with Britain and others, who championed the free and fair elections in Pakistan and the coming to power of a civilian government. And so we have had – we don’t always have agreement, but we have good relations with these two governments, good relations with these countries. And when I say that Americans were killed, I’m stating a fact. I’m also stating yet another reason why our solidarity with victims of terrorism in India after this latest attack – or, for that matter, victims of terrorism in Pakistan who have suffered at the hands of these extremist.
I think what it is is a message that this is, for all of us, a great challenge. But it is – it’s a war that we’re all fighting together, because these extremist have gone after Americans, they’ve gone after British citizens. They’ve also, of course, killed more Pakistanis and Indians than anyone else.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: All right. Thank you very much. Thanks.
Released on December 1, 2008