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Rice Interview With RAI Channel One TV of Italy

Interview With Franco Di Mare of RAI Channel One TV of Italy

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Rome, Italy
February 8, 2005

QUESTION: [beginning of live interview, speaking in Italian]

QUESTION: [in English] Welcome to Italy, Madam Secretary. I wonder if your enemies know about the meaning of your name?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh no, they certainly don't and you won't tell them, will you? [Laughter]

QUESTION: No, no, I won't tell them [laughter].

You're the second woman in American history to become Secretary of State. What is your impression of serving the long line of women going to vote?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think the progress for women over the last several years has just been remarkable. Perhaps most dramatic in Afghanistan, where women were unable to even go to a medical appointment without a male relative's permission and where girls were not going to school, and then you see women voting and participating in the political process. And of course in Iraq the long lines of women. This is a remarkable time for progress for women. And when women participate fully in their societies, they are better societies, they are more just societies and they are societies that tend to prosper better.

QUESTION: The Iraqi elections were a great success. The New Yost Post defined them [as] the "blue finger revolution." What is the next step to make Iraq a better place to live according with the fact that now there is still violence? You know about the kidnapping of our journalist Giuliana Sgrena?

SECRETARY RICE: Let me begin by saying that we absolutely condemn that kidnapping, and she is in our thoughts, as well as her family. We are coordinating closely with the Italian government to do whatever we can to help them so she is released soon. It is a terrible barbaric act that has been committed there.

Iraq is a place where there is still violence- there was violence yesterday- but the insurgents really lost at the election because they tried to make the Iraqi people fearful of exercising their democratic rights and the Iraqi people faced down their fears, faced down tyranny and went to the polls in large numbers.

Now they have to build an inclusive government, that can bring Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds and Turkmen all together, all minorities together in an Iraq that is respectful of and representative of all of the people of Iraq. They have about a month-long process in which they will choose a government, an assembly, they will then go on to write a constitution. So they have a long road ahead of them, but what a wonderful beginning.

QUESTION: So, it is not yet the time to withdraw your troops?

SECRETARY RICE: The Iraqis, I believe, want the multinational force there, because they understand that they are not yet ready to take care of their own security. But when they are ready to take care of their own security, it will be a very good day.

I might just note too, that Italy has been a staunch member of this coalition. Everyone appreciates what Italy has done for the liberty of the Iraqi people, and indeed mourns the sacrifice of the Italians who have been lost.

QUESTION: The most wanted man in the U.S. is Osama bin Laden. When will you get him?

SECRETARY RICE: I wish I knew when we could get him, but the good news is that he is no longer operating from bases in Afghanistan. He is on the run. We've captured or killed many of his top field generals. The organization has been hurt by the things that we have been doing. And of course we have a broad law enforcement and intelligence umbrella network that is following the al Qaeda all of the time, one in which Italy participates as a very active member.

QUESTION: The Holy Land is still waiting for the peace, you are just coming from Jerusalem and Ramallah, probably with some good news, we hope.

SECRETARY RICE: It is a good time for optimism in the Middle East, although, of course, we know that the Middle East is a place that still has a very long road to go.

I was very pleased in my discussions with Prime Minister Sharon and with President Abbas, that they both seem to see this as a moment for opportunity and we are very grateful to the Egyptian government for convening this summit in Sharm-el-Sheik and to the Jordanians for attending. Perhaps there will be some good news out of that summit, but we need to note that there is still a long road ahead. The United States, the EU, the Italian government, which has been very involved during its EU presidency, will need to help the parties a great deal.

QUESTION: A few days ago you said that Iran is not on your agenda. Is there any country who is on the American agenda right now?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, Iran is clearly on our agenda as some of the international agenda. It is just that we believe that there are diplomatic solutions that are still possible for the Iranian situation. But Iran has got to live up to its international obligations, not to seek a nuclear weapon under cover of civilian nuclear power. Iran needs to stop its support for terrorism. We were just talking about the Middle East and Iran supports terrorists and rejectionists groups that are trying to literally blow up the peace process and that must stop. And then finally, Iran cannot remain isolated from the region's positive trends. The Iranian people deserve better than what they are getting from the un-elected few.

QUESTION: What will be the difference between you and Mr. Colin Powell? You are being more Condoleezza, more Con Dolcezza, probably?

SECRETRAY RICE: I don't know, we are not supposed to tell anybody what that means, remember? [Laughter]

I admire Colin Powell greatly. He is a great friend. We have been for many years. He was a wonderful Secretary of State. I'd be delighted to do many of the things that he did. Everyone has their own style. But the important thing is that this is a wonderful Secretary of State who very much advanced the interests of the United States.

QUESTION: When you were born in Birmingham, in Alabama, Martin Luther King was still alive. In a famous speech he said, "I have a dream." What is the dream of that little child in Alabama, what is your dream?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh my dream is that little children in Birmingham, Alabama, and in New York City and in Rome and in London and in Baghdad and Kabul will all be able to have the same future. And that is a future in which girls and boys can be educated, in which they can live in freedom, and feel fully that their aspirations can be met, in which their parents can tell them that even though there was a dark past, as there was in Birmingham, Alabama where I lived, that even though there was a dark past, that there is a bright future. And that we here, in the transatlantic alliance, will be remembered by those children when they grow up as having helped to secure the blessings of freedom and liberty for all.

QUESTION: Thank you very much Mrs. Secretary.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.

[End live interview, resume interview on tape]

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, the elections in Iraq were a great success. What was your impression looking at that unbelievable line of women going to vote?

SECRETARY RICE: I thought that the lines of Iraqi women who had never voted, old men who came from the far reaches of Iraq wearing their best clothes because this was such a special day, this was a great day for freedom in Iraq, for freedom in the world and indeed for those who participated in helping the Iraqi people to be liberated, like the United States, like Italy. This was a clear sense that the Iraqi people understood the opportunity before them and were prepared to seize it. It was a great day. Iraq has a long road ahead of it to build an Iraq that is unified, an Iraq that represents all Iraqis, but their election was a terrific start.

QUESTION: Which is the next step in the relationship in Italy? You are going to meet Mr. Fini?

SECRETARY RICE: We have an outstanding relationship of course with Italy, with Prime Minister Berlusconi, with the Italian government. We have done a great deal together in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We everyday day do a great deal in terms of law enforcement and intelligence to deal with terrorism. We are involved in the G8 in some of the most important efforts toward the building of a broader Middle East that will be a reformed Middle East, where liberty and freedom can reign. We are involved, for instance, in something called, the Forum for the Future that brings together civil society groups and business groups from the Middle East to give people a way toward freedom. And the G8 of course, has been the site of much effort toward Africa, poverty reduction, the fight against AIDS. This is a very broad relationship with our good Italian partner, a strong member of NATO, and we look forward to putting that relationship to work even more as we move forward in areas like the Middle East, where we have a good chance now, I think, to move forward on peace.

QUESTION: Yes, you are just coming back from Ramallah and Jerusalem; do you have any good news?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I had good impressions of the seriousness of purpose, of Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas. They seem to recognize that this is an opportunity before them must not be missed. There is a long road ahead, and these moments of opportunity have passed before. But if we all work very closely to help the Palestinians reform their institutions, to fight terror, to help the Israelis so that their withdrawal from the Gaza can be completed successfully, I think we would back on the Roadmap and then to peace.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.

Released on February 8, 2005


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