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Secretary Rice interviewed for the BBC

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  • Peter Dow
    Video Link - Secretary Condoleezza Rice interviewed by David Frost on 4th February 2005 for the BBC s Breakfast with Frost I ve added a link in the Links
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2005
      Video Link - Secretary Condoleezza Rice interviewed by David Frost on
      4th February 2005 for the BBC's Breakfast with Frost

      I've added a link in the Links section that plays a BBC video of the
      above interview - using Windows Media Player.

      Here's the full text - the interview video has been cut -

      Interview With David Frost on BBC's "Breakfast With David Frost"

      Secretary Condoleezza Rice
      London, England
      February 4, 2005

      QUESTION: Madam Secretary, first of all, congratulations.

      SECRETARY RICE: Thank you, very much.

      QUESTION: And, going on from there, we were looking at a website of
      your supporters here and, lo and behold, on that it says "Condi for

      SECRETARY RICE: Oh, my goodness.

      QUESTION: But that's a bit premature….

      SECRETARY RICE: I think no one should count on such things.

      QUESTION: Particularly as you have only just started.

      SECRETARY RICE: That's right, that's right.

      QUESTION: And, the trip here, the Europe part of the trip, is really,
      you want to set up more of a dialogue than a monologue, and some
      bridge building.

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, it's very important to come to Europe, our key
      allies and global partnership. We have a lot of work to do. We have
      such wonderful common values that unite us. We have done so much hard
      work together in the past. We have faced down dictatorships before
      and spread freedom throughout the whole of Europe.

      And now we have an opportunity to do remarkable things in the Middle
      East, remarkable things to eliminate poverty and disease, we have an
      opportunity to work together, to deal with the threats of weapons of
      mass destruction, proliferation.

      And so I have really come here to say: Let's have a dialogue about
      how we can approach the very large agenda before us, so that, in the
      long run, history judges us well for having used this wonderful
      alliance to promote freedom and peace.

      QUESTION: And the practical things at the moment would be, for
      instance, that you have got to discuss, presumably, arms to China –
      breaking the embargo of arms to China – where there is an honest
      disagreement on that, isn't there, at the moment?

      SECRETARY RICE: There is, and friends will sometimes disagree, and we
      have to be able to do that and to try to work our way through it. We
      have concerns about the lifting of the embargo because we have deep
      concerns about the military balance in East Asia. We are concerned
      that there could be a shift that might affect the American military

      We are also, of course, concerned because, since the arms embargo was
      levied at the time of Tiananmen, we would not want to send wrong
      signals to the Chinese about human rights concerns.

      But we are still in discussion with our European allies. They are
      open to our concerns. I have found that the discussions are open and
      fruitful and we should continue those discussions.

      QUESTION: And, in terms of Iran, for instance -- there is a
      difference of approach there -- but do you find what the Europeans
      have done in terms of the agreements that the three of them have made
      with Iran. Is that helpful to what you want to do, because you've
      really got a total ostracism with Iran at the moment? Or is it
      unhelpful what they are doing?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well any effort to get Iran to live up to its
      international obligations that can succeed, we will support because,
      of course, Iran needs to live up to its international obligations. It
      cannot try and get nuclear weapons under cover of civilian nuclear
      programs. We believe that the Iranians are being offered an
      opportunity – they ought to take it.

      QUESTION: But would you welcome a regime change in Iran?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, all of us would have to agree that the behavior
      of this Iranian regime in supporting terrorism, in sowing instability
      in the Middle East, in the way it treats its own people is not a
      regime to be admired. And certainly the Iranian people deserve the
      same opportunities for freedom and liberty that are beginning to take
      hold in other parts of the Middle East.

      QUESTION: And Vice President Cheney, noting this threat that Iran
      poses, went on to say: "Given that Iran has a stated policy that
      their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well
      decide to act first and let the world worry about the consequences
      afterwards." If, when you get to see Mr. Sharon, he says: "Would you
      really like us to do what Dick Cheney suggested? Would you really
      like us to go ahead?" Would you say "Yes" or "No".

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, obviously what the Vice President is pointing
      to is the destabilizing effect should Iran get a nuclear weapon. And
      we all have to make certain that we are working as hard as we can to
      get the Iranians to live up to their international obligations, to
      get verification, to assign additional protocol to allow the
      inspectors from the IAEA to come in on snap inspections so that we
      don't get to the place that Iran can destabilize the region with a
      nuclear program.

      QUESTION: So would you say "Yes" or "No", or "Maybe"?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, I am not going to speculate, but I will say
      that obviously anything that would lead to conflict in this region
      would be a terrible, terrible thing. And the Iranians need to live up
      to their international obligations so we don't face any such point.

      QUESTION: And how soon, do you think, I mean the President said that
      there could be a Palestinian state during the Bush presidency. Could
      there be a democratic Iran in that time or is that too ambitious?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, we never know. I am an old Soviet specialist,
      and I don't think anybody would have thought that the Soviet Union
      was going to collapse peacefully as quickly as it did. But obviously
      the goal here is, first and foremost, to deal with Iran's
      destabilizing behavior in the international system. It really is a
      chief funder of terrorism. I am here to talk to about an emerging
      peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. One of the
      most important barriers to getting to that peace is the activity of
      Palestinian rejectionist groups and of groups like Hezbollah. Iran is
      the key supporter of these rejectionist groups. So Iran is the
      destabilizing force in the international system and we need unity of
      purpose, unity of message to Iran to stop those activities.

      QUESTION: Because, unlike Iraq, there is not the same, perhaps not at
      all, military option in Iran. It's so big, there are 70 million
      people, it's much more difficult militarily than Iraq isn't it?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, the President has made very clear that we
      believe dealing with the Iranian situation diplomatically is the key,
      and that's why I am here for discussions. We do need a strong message
      to Iran. We need a united front on the Iranian nuclear program. We
      need, as great democracies, to tell the Iranian people that they
      deserve a better future than they currently, than the present that
      they currently have.

      But we believe that this is a time for diplomacy; this is a time to
      muster our considerable influence – we, the alliance – our
      considerable influence, our considerable soft power, if you will, to
      bring great changes in the world.

      QUESTION: And the Middle East, obviously, is a crucial part of your
      trip. And I suppose that when, you are talking to the Palestinians,
      presumably you feel that Mr. Abbas has really shown his good faith by
      what he has done so far in terms of the terrorists.

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, so far the election of Mahmoud Abbas has been a
      real plus for the process and he's demonstrated that he wants to make
      changes. He's a person who says that the armed intifada has failed,
      that it is time now to move to negotiations. He has a lot of work to
      do, of course, to really stop terrorism and to also make sure that
      terrorist groups cannot just turn terrorism on and off as they wish.
      But we are impressed with what he has done. We hope he will continue
      to do more and, as the President said in his State of the Union
      address, we stand by ready to help and indeed will engage to try and
      help the parties.

      QUESTION: And in terms of training, other countries can help with
      training the Palestinians in certain ways, can't they, in terms of

      SECRETARY RICE: Yes, the Palestinians will need help in bringing
      together and unifying their security forces. They will need help in
      building the institutions that will become the foundation of the
      state. They certainly need help in economic reconstruction, job
      creation, doing something about the terrible plight of the
      Palestinian people that really the intifada has worsened. And Israel
      has obligations to try and create conditions for this new Palestinian

      QUESTION: The two things people talk about, they say you will be
      discussing with them particularly, obviously, is the idea of a real
      freeze on settlements. And the second thing is the route of the wall
      which, probably, will stay because it seems to have saved lives, but
      in some places it has been very insensitively done and people twenty
      meters from their neighbors have to go five miles up the road and
      come down again. And it should get back to the green route they were

      SECRETARY RICE: Well we certainly hope that there will come a day
      when one doesn't need such walls. And the Israelis, in the meantime,
      we have been very clear that they should not do anything that pre-
      judges final status borderlines, and that the route of this fence
      should do everything that it can to ease the plight of the
      Palestinians, not contribute to it.

      QUESTION: So all you have heard and are about to see convinces you
      that the President might be right, that this could be done, a
      Palestinian state in four years?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, I won't put a timeline on it, but I do think
      that we can get to two states living side by side; we have to. The
      peace of the Middle East demands that there one day be a Palestine
      and an Israel, living side by side in peace.

      QUESTION: And talking of living side by side in peace: Iraq.
      Obviously there have been great mistakes over the last two years and
      things haven't gone as you would have wished, or expected. But do you
      think that this is a turning point we had with the elections in Iraq?
      Do you think that was, perhaps, the turning of the tide?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, I would think about it a little differently. I
      think that the Iraqi people were liberated by the coalition. Saddam
      Hussein was overthrown, but the Iraqi people had to take control of
      their own future. And on Sunday they really signalled that they are
      ready to do that. They signalled that they understand that freedom
      does not come free. They demonstrated tremendous bravery and courage,
      despite the threats against them to go and vote. Their security
      forces performed well in supporting that vote.

      We need now to help the Iraqis build their capacity for governing,
      build their capacity for maintaining their own security and those of
      us who were lucky enough to be on the right side of freedom's divide,
      owe it to people like the Iraqis, who are showing that they really do
      have aspirations for freedom, to support them in any and every way
      that we can.

      QUESTION: In terms of, the difficult thing is the training of the
      Iraqi army, partially because we dispersed the other one, Iraqi
      security forces and so on and so forth. They say here in Whitehall
      there are five to ten thousand who are really well trained and
      effective in doing the job, but they need numbers more like you have
      there, 150,000 or whatever. Do you think you can persuade other
      European countries to do some onsite training of these people and so
      on? Can you get Germany and France to do something?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well the Germans are training police in Dubai, but
      you are right, it's not onsite, but they are training. And NATO has a
      training mission to help provide leadership for the new Iraqi
      security forces. We all need to do more; we need to accelerate the
      training of those forces.

      The Iraqis do have large numbers of forces trained -- we have trained
      large numbers -- the problem is making certain that they have
      appropriate leadership. We never know precisely how they are going to
      perform until they have to perform. But I have to say that Sunday's
      performance was heartening. General Casey has said that there were no
      cases of which he knows in which coalition forces had to step in for

      QUESTION: Whitehall talk about a relatively small withdrawal of
      British troops this year and a major one next year. Does that sound
      like common sense in accord with what's happening?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, we are reluctant to talk about time lines, but
      I do think we are coming through different phases, and we are in a
      different phase now in which you will have an Iraqi government that
      is elected, that is working towards a constitution. And obviously the
      more quickly we can get Iraqi forces trained and ready, we can step
      back in our own roles and eventually bring our forces home, and that
      will be a very, very happy day. And so the training of these security
      forces is extremely important.

      QUESTION: And how urgent is it to make sure that the Sunnis do take
      part in the political process despite having, in general, not
      participated in the election? And that, among other things, they get
      some decent jobs in the government. How urgent is that?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well both of those are very urgent demands and the
      Iraqis seem to understand the importance of bringing those into the
      process who, for a variety of reasons, were unable to participate.
      And I would just say, an awful lot of Sunnis wanted to participate,
      but of course the intimidation and lawlessness was most pronounced in
      those Sunni areas, yet many Sunnis did vote and that's a very good
      sign. But I have read the comments by innumerable Iraqi leaders now
      who say that they know that they need to broaden the base of this
      government, which will write the constitution, has to represent all
      Iraqis. We should support them in that effort.

      QUESTION: Many people, including our own chancellor, Gordon Brown,
      believe that poverty is one of the things that breeds terror. Would
      you agree that overcoming poverty is not only the right thing to do,
      but also has a security plus as well?

      SECRETARY RICE: Well, absolutely, overcoming poverty is the right
      thing to do on its merits. It does, of course, have a security
      component. I think terrorism is more bred by the hopelessness of this
      lack of freedom because if you look at many of the terrorists, these
      are actually middle class people who fly airplanes into buildings on
      a fine September day. But it doesn't matter. Poverty is something
      that because of our moral obligation, we need to deal with. And the
      President has been active in this regard; American official
      development assistance has increased by nearly 50% in this period of
      time. We have put in place a huge AIDS relief program of 15 billion
      dollars over five years, so this is something that has been very much
      a part of the President's agenda.

      QUESTION: As we approach -- not quite there -- but alas, the end of
      our time -- with your fantastic schedule -- just a footnote about the
      fact that your journey from Mississippi [laughter] has been a
      phenomenal one and I wonder, as you look back over that life, what's
      the best advice you were ever given?

      SECRETARY RICE: The best advice I was ever given growing up as a
      little girl in the South, was really by my parents and the teachers
      around us. Our teachers in segregated Alabama were fantastic, and it
      was always that you don't make excuses, that you simply go and do.
      They used to say: "Even if you find yourself in circumstances like
      Birmingham, it should not limit your horizons." And we believed it.

      QUESTION: And that was the vital point?

      SECRETARY RICE: That was the vital point.

      QUESTION: Do you sometimes pinch yourself and not believe it?

      SECRETARY RICE: Of course, I think anyone in this position would. But
      I have been very fortunate to serve at a time, and serve a President
      who took on the challenge of September 11th, who has bold ideas about
      how we address the many pathologies of international politics. But
      from the perspective of someone who grew up in a segregated world
      where difference was accentuated, I think perhaps more than anything
      I understand the need of peoples to come together and not allow
      difference to be a licence to kill.

      QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much indeed.

      SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.

      Peter Dow, Group owner
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