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Condoleezza Rice in Press Availability March 14th

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 14, 2003

Remarks by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in Press Availability
Outside Arab Television Studio
Washington, D.C.

12:34 P.M. EST

Q (Inaudible) -- the Palestinian prime minister have real authority?

DR. RICE: We assume that the Palestinians themselves want a prime minister who has real authority. Certainly, the people that are being talked about are people who have -- stature. And so we would hope that the Palestinian prime minister is going to be someone who really acts on behalf of the Palestinian people.

We think that this is something -- the confirmation of this person would happen very soon. And we're prepared at that point to have the road map to the Palestinians, to the Israelis, so that they can begin working and renewing the activity for peace. It's a very hopeful time.

Q And renewing activities for peace, does that mean more negotiations?

DR. RICE: Well, we think that the road map which is based on the President's June 24th speech, sets out a set of steps that if the parties can take them, leads naturally to a final outcome of a two-state solution -- two states living in peace, so that both Israelis and Palestinians can finally put aside their differences, put aside the violence. Terrorism needs to end. And then you can then have two states living side-by-side where people can live in peace and prosperity.

Thank you very much.

Q Thank you.

* * * * *

Q What can he, the President possibly accomplish with the people from Spain and Britain that he cannot -- face-to-face, that he can't do over the phone? These people are already with you. What is the purpose of this trip?

DR. RICE: These are the co-sponsors of the resolution at the United Nations. They have been co-sponsors from the very beginning. Face-to-face is sometimes the best way to do diplomacy, and the three believe that it was time to get together. And they're very grateful that they are going to be hosted by the Portuguese.

This is an opportunity to assess where we are. It is an opportunity to think about the ways in which the United Nations security process can come to a conclusion because it is time to bring it to a conclusion. They will look at all of the possibilities. And I will tell you everybody has been on the phones and will be on the phones this weekend. But it is time to come to a conclusion that says to Saddam Hussein, it is time for you to disarm or be disarmed; it is time for you to finally comply with Resolution 1441, which is one final chance to disarm.

Resolution 1441 wasn't one last final chance to be inspected, or one final chance to make a little bit of progress. It was one final chance to disarm. And they will chart a way forward, but the moment of truth is coming here, and it's time for the co-sponsors to get together and discuss it.

Q -- keep the deadline?

Q -- any sort of an agreement with the undecided countries, with Mexico, in order to gain their support?

DR. RICE: We're still talking, of course, to the undecided countries. But the key here is that we've been at this for a very long time as an international community -- 12 years. This is not a matter of the last four months; this is a matter of the last 12 years. And sooner or later, the United Nations Security Council has got to act or not act. And so it is time for the Security Council to resolve this. And the Presidents and Prime Ministers will get together this weekend and they'll talk about the way forward.

Q Dr. Rice, is the United States prepared to soften on its arms sales to Taiwan in exchange for China's cooperation at the U.N.?

DR. RICE: Our policy on Taiwan is very, very clear. We have a one China policy. We believe that there should be no unilateral change of the status quo. But the President, of course, operates under the Taiwan Relations Act, which commits the United States to helping Taiwan defend itself. And nothing changes in that.

Q What are they looking for? What are they holding out for?

DR. RICE: I'm sorry?

Q The undecided six on the Security Council, what do they want?

DR. RICE: We were just talking with people about -- look, this is a difficult decision. We understand that. But there is a certain responsibility that comes with Security Council membership, whether permanent or elected. And we're continuing to talk to people about that responsibility.

Last question.

Q -- in the Rose Garden --

DR. RICE: This decision about coming out with the road map is tied very closely to what the President considers to be positive developments in the Palestinian reform movement. That is that the Palestinian Authority the other day has created a prime ministership. We expect that it will be a prime ministership that has real authority. That is a step forward. There's a new Israeli government, as well. It's time to give that new Israeli government and a Palestinian prime minister, when he is confirmed, the opportunity to try and move forward.

Thank you very much.

Q Did Mexico ask for anything in exchange for their vote?

DR. RICE: Sorry. We're talking to everybody about their concerns, but this is about peace.

Okay, thank you.

END 12:40 P.M. EST

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