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Nicholas Burns Remarks at US Institute of Peace

Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs

Washington, DC
March 23, 2005

(1:00 p.m. EST)

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's a great pleasure to be here and to welcome those of you from out of town to Washington. I wish I could have joined this conference earlier today. Carlos is right. I'm on day three of my new job. I'm two and a half days into it. So I didn't have the luxury of time, but I am very pleased to be here. And I understand that what you're doing is important to the Department of State and to the U.S. Government as well as to the American people.

Carlos has been a friend for many years, and I could wax enthusiastic about him. I want to thank him for his comments about the Red Sox. I'm a native-born member of Red Sox Nation. I'll bet there are a lot of members of Red Sox Nation in this room. (Applause.) Thank you. And we did indeed find redemption, in our Calvinist tradition in New England, when we slayed the "Evil Empire" and then the Cardinals. It was a great autumn.

As I look out in this room, I see a lot of people with whom I've worked over the years at the White House and at the State Department. I asked Dick if this is the State Department-in-exile or the State Department-in-reflection in the U.S. Institute of Peace. But whatever it is, you're doing great work. I want to thank Dick Solomon and Dan and all of the other people, including Don Steinberg who is at the U.S. Institute this year, with whom I've worked in the past, who are doing so much to make your organization such a valuable instrument for the United States, in what you're doing in Iraq, in what you have done in Afghanistan and in so many other parts of the world.

I'm also a big believer in the gentleman who introduced me. He has a unique portfolio, a unique job. He was an outstanding American Ambassador to Ukraine, outstanding member of our AID community for a long time, and I think in his new incarnation I want to talk a little bit about that this afternoon. I know you've already heard from him. He really is a unique individual now in the U.S. Government, someone trying to bridge the State Department and AID with our military, as well as with the nongovernmental organization community, and I know many of you represent that community here today. So thank you, Carlos, for convincing me that I should be here. I didn't need much convincing, but I'm happy I'm very, very happy to do it.

I have a little bit of insight into what you've been talking about and in what you heard from Carlos today. I served over the last four years as U.S. Ambassador to NATO and before that as U.S. Ambassador to Greece during the Kosovo War, during a time when the United States was trying to figure out how to be effective in the Balkans. And of course, over the last four years, you've seen the new horizons for the U.S. in general, in where we're operating around the world, but for NATO specifically, with NATO going well out of area, to a new focus on Central Asia and the Caucasus, to new relationships with Russia and Ukraine, and now to new military operations in Afghanistan. And I think the NATO mission is going to grow appreciably over the next year in Afghanistan, and a new training mission in Iraq itself.

And I was thinking, you know, what can I offer in terms of any kind of wisdom to a group like this because all of you do a lot of what we're talking about for a living and I just dabble in it. But I think one of the most significant transformations in my own career in the State Department, going back over the last 25 years, has been the rise in importance and influence of the nongovernmental organizations. I know certainly during the Cold War when we looked at actors in the international community that were influential, people wouldn't have leapt forward to look at Save the Children or Catholic Relief Services or Medecins Sans Frontieres or the U.S. Institute of Peace, had it been under Dick Solomon's leadership at that time.

But under Dick Solomon's leadership over 11 years, the U.S. Institute of Peace, but more importantly I think the NGO community in general, has come to the forefront of international politics, and those of us in government have to be aware of that and have to think about this community as our partners. I think that's the only way to proceed. I know that's how Secretary Rice feels about it. And I think that part of what Carlos has to do is not just to bridge institutions within the U.S. Government but to bridge outward to the NGO community because wherever we go and wherever we are militarily in the world today, whether it's in Bosnia or Kosovo or Macedonia or Afghanistan or Iraq, we have to be effective in working with the community that many of you represent today.

I would also say that dealing with this challenge of reconstruction and stabilization is quite new but also now a front order foreign policy concern for our government. You've heard the President talk about that. You certainly heard Secretary Rice during her confirmation hearings talk about how important that is. And it's this intersection against the war on terrorism and the response to failing states that provides the breeding grounds for many of the global problems that are currently afflicting us: the dark side of globalization, whether it's international terrorism, proliferation concerns, trafficking in human beings, narcotics rings. And it seems to us that September 11th, 2001, in a tragic way, illustrated this link that is so important to understand in terms of world politics. It was Afghanistan, the second poorest country in the world, by our own measurements, that was the source of the most significant attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor.

So it's a truism. I know everyone in this room has heard it before and understands it and believes it, but it has to underwrite our own understanding of foreign policy within the Administration that it's not just strong states that we have to be concerned with; it's weak states and failing and failed states that have an indelible impact on the stability of their neighbors and the stability of our own country, and on our overall goals to promote security and peace and freedom in the world. This is a major shift, a major paradigm shift in the way we look at international affairs and it's one that -- if you look at the National Security Strategy Report of 2002, but I think more pertinently what the Administration has been saying over the last year, is of an increasing concern to us.

Since the end of the Cold War the United Nations has engaged in 41 peacekeeping operations around the world, and that's three times as many peacekeeping operations as during the previous three decades combined. And we've learned a lot from this era. Dan and I were at the Dayton peace talks together back in November 1995 when I was in Phyllis Oakley's old role as the Spokesman of the State Department, and we certainly learned in the Balkans -- in Bosnia, Kosovo and also in Macedonia -- that diplomacy must sometimes be combined with the threat of force or with the ability to use military force -- and I think to the good in Bosnia and Kosovo -- in order to be effective.

And what we've also learned is that after the fighting is over, or after peace has been imposed on a short-term basis by the United States military or by NATO or a coalition of forces, we've got to find a way to work together effectively on the ground to restore civil order, to restore basic services and to rebuild economies. And that's the other important thing that we've learned, I think, from the last ten years of peacekeeping in Europe and the Balkans and Afghanistan and now in Iraq, and that is that we've got to have what in NATO we call "unity of effort," unity of effort with the military on the ground and unity of effort with the NGO community and with other foreign actors, including, of course, the United Nations on the ground.

And that is, I think, where Carlos comes in, and where this idea that was worked so hard with the White House, that was worked with the U.S. Institute of Peace, as it was born as an idea more than a year ago, that's where they come in. And I want to commend the support of your organization, Dick, and also of Senator Lugar and Senator Biden, of Congressman Wolf and Congressman Farr, because they're the ones that convinced the Administration -- you're the ones that have convinced the Administration -- that we had to undertake the effort to create Carlos in his new incarnation.

In July, it was Carlos and an idea. And now in March of 2005, it's Carlos and a staff of 37 people, which is growing with detailees from USAID, from the Treasury Department and from the CIA. And it also includes a significant military component from OSD, from JCS and from Joint Forces Command down in Norfolk, Virginia and Admiral Giambastiani and what he's doing in his -- in the way he's revolutionizing that Command is critical to this effort.

And Carlos' operation is now creating for the United States Government tools for conflict management and monitoring to allow us to be more effective and even in coordinating our efforts inside our own government and for planning and for training. It sounds fairly workman-like, those words that I just recited, but they're actually the key ingredients for an effective military and civilian operation on the ground.

And our assumption is in starting out that the majority of our reconstruction and stabilization efforts under Carlos' leadership are not going to be in conjunction with the United States military or foreign militaries, but they will sometimes be with the military. And therefore, he is putting a lot of effort into forming the kind of relationships and doing the advance training and advance planning which is going to be critical to success on the ground as he moves ahead.

To that end, he is developing templates for civilian-military planning. And the interagency community, of course, needs to have the capability to determine which countries are of concern and to develop preliminary plans to deal with any hardcore contingencies.

Secondly, as the situation becomes more acute, he will have the capability to deploy a civilian stabilizing and reconstruction team to a combatant command, which is new, and which we have never had before in our government. And this would provide civilian expertise to our military leaders as they plan a military operation or as they execute it on the ground or as they attempt to deal with the aftermath of fighting on the ground.

It's everything we didn't have back in Bosnia in November or in December of 1995, as we sought to deploy 60,000 NATO peacekeepers into Bosnia. It's what we didn't have in June of 1999, when we sought to deploy 50,000 NATO peacekeepers into Kosovo. And it's certainly what we didn't have in 2001 in Afghanistan or in 2003 in Iraq. I know a lot my time at NATO over the last four years was spent going back over the trail in each of those operations trying to recreate the kind of synergies and teamwork between those of us in the civilian community and others in the military community and people in the NGO community to make sense of what it takes to construct an effective, international peacekeeping operation in these very difficult countries.

And as I've gone back to visit Afghanistan and Bosnia and Kosovo, I know our military leaders think every day at least as much of what they should be doing to communicate with their civilian counterparts as they're doing to communicate with the others on their military teams.

So this is an idea that we needed to create. And thank you for your role in that. It's a function that we need to have and I think Carlos is the kind of leader -- he's had the breadth of experience in USAID as ambassador to an important country, and certainly in the senior ranks of the State Department, to be able to pull this off. So we're counting on him.

One of the things that I do in my new job is to help to coordinate our regional policy across the world. And so, I work very closely with the Assistant Secretaries of State in our six regional bureaus and also with the Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs for the UN. And we meet every week. In fact, we're meeting at three o'clock this afternoon. Marc Grossman met every week with them for the last four years, and Tom Pickering before that, in order to try to coordinate what we're doing across the world because issues and interests and institutions collide and overlap.

And today, Carlos is going to join that group for the first time and he's going to become a member of that group permanently because we've got to integrate what he's doing into the work of what Ambassador Chris Hill will be doing -- he was just confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia -- what Ambassador Dan Fried will be doing if the Senate is good enough to confirm him as our Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, what Ambassador David Welch is doing as our new Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East.

So from a purely bureaucratic and institutional point of view -- and I'm sorry to maybe bore you with the intricacies of how we arrange ourselves in the State Department -- what Carlos represents in terms of institutional capacity and leadership is critical for our ability to be successful in the State Department, but I think in a larger sense, the ability of our government and our society to be effective as we intervene around the world as we've done over the last ten years, and surely will have to do in the future, with our allies and friends to be effective around the world. So that's the major message that I wanted to give you today.

Now let me get to the advertising. President Bush has requested $17.2 million in the FY 2005 supplemental budget request to jumpstart the development of Carlos' office, the one he told you about this morning. We need to have the capacity to act soon. We need to have an Active Response Corps of first responders, who we can send out to any country in the world and to work with our embassy staffs and the military.

For Fiscal Year 2006, the President has requested $124 million for this operation: $24 million for personnel and training and $100 million for a Conflict Response Fund. And the first phase of the fund focuses on building core leadership, building the ability to coordinate and building these response capabilities within the Department of State.

Secretary Rice, I can tell you, obviously, has met with Carlos during the transition and since she took office. She is fully committed to building this office and to making sure that it has the capabilities it needs to succeed. She believes in its mandate. She was instrumental in the creation of the office itself. And I know that she has great faith in him, and as she has talked about transformational diplomacy, again, in her confirmation hearings and in her first two months as Secretary of State, I think there is no better example of what she means by that than this office that we are talking about today.

The Secretary said, "The time for diplomacy is now," when she met with Senator Lugar and Senator Biden and the other senators in the Foreign Relations Committee, and I think she is showing in her first few months that she believes that and she's exercising it. She is today with President Bush down in Texas at Baylor University for the summit with the Canadian and Mexican leaders. She has just come back from a trip to Asia, where she visited Japan and South Korea and China.

She was before that in South Asia, in India and Pakistan, and I can tell you one of my last acts as NATO Ambassador, she came out twice in the month of February to Europe. And I think we have an opportunity now to build a much more seamless web of international relationships to help us move forward in the years ahead to tackle all these very difficult problems that are in front of us.

I know in Europe, having lived in Europe over the last eight years, we've been through a very important time in our relationship with European allies -- sometimes tempestuous, sometimes tumultuous. In NATO itself there were times in 2002 and 2003 when we were badly divided. I think that the Iraqi elections on January 30th, have helped to put the Iraq issue back into a place where we can have a much more constructive, certainly, dialogue, but also, I think, much more constructive partnership with the European allies in Iraq.

The majority of our NATO allies are in Iraq now. And I think as a result of the NATO summit every NATO ally, including France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Greece -- the countries that had stood outside the NATO effort -- all of them have decided now to be part of the NATO training effort in one way or another. And I think you're seeing, as Condi Rice travels through these regions, that there is an inclination on the part of the European allies to face forward with us and to look at Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, because we don't want to forget about our peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, and determine that we have to work together in a much more effective way to make them all work.

I found that spirit during the recent NATO and EU summits, which the President attended a month ago this week. And I think that is a harbinger of good things to come for the effort that Carlos and his associates are making. I can tell you that these international institutions -- NATO, the European Union, the United Nations -- and a lot of our European allies are now beginning to have the same conversation within their own governments and institutions that we've been having in the United States over the last year.

Carlos came out to Brussels in the middle of February and addressed the North Atlantic Council, presented the basic template for what he and his associates are doing, and there was a lot of interest in the French, German, British, Turkish, Greek, other governments to try to see if they should be doing the same thing in their capitals, if they should be trying to make the same connections between civilian and military capabilities as we are now doing. And I think that is very encouraging for the future.

NATO has developed -- and this is probably the most significant military reform in NATO in the last four years -- a NATO Response Force, and it's basically the capability to be able to put about up to 25,000 men and women, soldiers, into any military operation the NAC would decide within three to five days. Believe it or not, we've never had that capability in the 56 years of the NATO alliance, despite all the contingencies and all the threats that we faced from 1949 to the present date.

We have that capability now. And when Secretary Rumsfeld suggested this to NATO two and a half years ago he didn't have in mind NATO going out just to fight a military engagement. He had in mind NATO's ability to be useful in civilian disasters, in earthquakes or floods, or NATO responding to a humanitarian imperative in Africa or South Asia, as well as the more traditional military deployments, war and peace type of deployments that you can imagine. And we're just now arriving at a full operational capability for that NATO force and that, in a way, is an institutional template for what we are trying to do in the U.S. Government itself.

The European Union has developed its own battle groups concept and it essentially is the same kind of capability. The EU has a lower threshold, of course, for the way it would look at its potential use of EU military force, but the EU wants to have the capacity, particularly, in responding to humanitarian urgencies to be able to deploy a substantial number of forces on a more limited scale than NATO. And we find it very encouraging that the EU is now thinking of itself as an organization that does have broader responsibilities than just to pay attention to the member-states and that it wants to have the capability to be able to act in the world.

The United Nations is also, of course, now reviewing how it can be more effective. The Secretary General issued his plan for reform just a couple of days ago, and I think you have seen the reaction from the United States Government. We support what he's doing. We find a lot that was in that plan that we read in bootleg copies over the weekend and read on Monday to be intriguing and important, and we're going to be putting together an effort inside our own government now to think through how we can support that effort and what other ideas we might have to support a further building of an effective United Nations, as a peacekeeper and as an organization with which we can interact in the future.

So looking at what UN, what the EU, what NATO have done, seeing the interests, especially in our European allies and seeing what we've done here, I think that we're off on the right foot and we're heading down the right path. And I would just ask, as all of you interact with us over the next months and years, that you'll give us our support -- give Carlos Pascual your support -- for the challenges that are surely ahead of us.

Thank you very much for listening to me today. I'm happy with Carlos to stay for a couple of minutes and to listen to your ideas or to respond to any of the questions you might have about what I've just said. But thank you very much for listening to me.

(Applause.)

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: I just wanted to comment on something. Jim Kunder with USAID.

MODERATOR: Jim, the microphone.

QUESTION: I think sometimes when international observers hear us talking about getting more organized within the U.S. Government, they fear that it's more U.S. unilateralism. For those of us who have worked in this field, I think that the worst thing we can do to interact with our multilateral partners is do what we've done now, sort of fragmented interactions. I think if we get better organized, we're better able to partner with the multilateral organizations. But I'd be interested in any comments you have on that general arena.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I'd be happy to. Thanks very much for the question. You know, if you look at what we've been saying, what the Administration has been saying for well over two years now, we want to build an international community and be part of an international community with effective multilateral institutions. I just served at one over the last four years and I can tell you that nobody works harder than Secretary Rumsfeld to try to modernize NATO militarily to be effective in dealing with the new types of conflicts that we are involved in, in Afghanistan, in Iraq -- NATO is in both places now -- and certainly to remain effective in the Balkans.

President Bush gave a speech at Whitehall in November 2003 where he said, building on the National Security Strategy Report of 2002, we'd like to work with the UN to help it become more effective, we want NATO to continue its reforms, and we want to see the EU develop an institutional capacity to act in concert with us when that's possible.

At the NATO summits, the last two in which I participated, it was President Bush who put forward proposals for the most ambitious use of NATO as a multilateral instrument. It was a U.S. idea to have NATO go into Iraq. It was a U.S. idea to have NATO go into Afghanistan. It was a U.S. proposal to have NATO undertake an outreach, which we are now conducting, to establish military partnerships with Arab countries and with Israel -- the first time that NATO has ever done that. So I know what the criticism is. I've heard it for the eight years that I have been in Europe -- four under President Clinton, four under President Bush -- about U.S. unilateralism.

And I read the newspapers, as do all of you, and I engage in these debates. But I think if you look at the facts of what we have actually done, I think we have a fairly good record of supporting these three multilateral institutions that I mentioned today. And of course, you know, any look at U.S. national security interests will tell you, there are going to be times, as in the past, to Democratic and Republican Administrations, where the United States has to act in small groups or act in coalitions when we can't act in larger groups. Whether it's NATO, our most important alliance, or whether it's with other multilateral institutions, we're willing to do so. But the whole basis of what we're trying to do in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans today is to, in essence, multilateralize the efforts there, the military and civilian efforts there.

Yes sir.

QUESTION: Peter Gantz, Refugees International. Thank you, Ambassador, for your comments about Ambassador Pascual's office. The mention of the 17 million a couple times this morning reminded me and it strikes me that this is a sort of a community of support for the office so I'll mention this and hopefully not get booted out of the room for bringing in a dark comment. But the House only approved three million for the office, so I hope as this community of support for the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization interacts with others that they interact in a way that's supportive of the full request. It's a comment more than a question, obviously, but I think it's worth noting.

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I believe there's some comment on longstanding U.S. regulation and members of the Executive Branch are not allow to urge other Americans to lobby the Congress, so I won't do that.

(Laughter.)

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I'll just let your remarks stand as they are. Do you have anything you want to say?

(Laughter.)

AMBASSADOR PASCUAL: I think it was an accurate statement of the facts.

(Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Don. Yes.

QUESTION: Don Hays USIP, as of Saturday.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: I happen to believe that what Carlos is doing is long overdue. I spent two years at the UN working on peacekeeping reform and on other reforms and I've spent some time in the Balkans working in a multilateral setting. We don't have any training in multilateral diplomacy. We get it ad hoc. We have an institute that could be reshaped to do that. What are the thoughts on that at this time?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Carlos and I can team up on this.

Don, since I'm so new in my new job, I'm going to give you a perspective from my old job. This is one of the most important areas that NATO has tried to look at. You know, NATO has tried to look at our involvement in the Balkans, South Asia, and now in the Middle East over the last ten years, and say, okay, what went right and what can we do better? We know in NATO, among the 26 Allies, that we need to rebuild, and in some cases build anew, the institutional capacity to be more effective in peacekeeping.

Some of the European allies -- the Brits or, I think, the United Kingdom is probably the best example -- have really unique experience and capabilities from which we can learn. Admiral Giambastiani, someone I admire very much -- I think he's doing a terrific job at Joint Forces Command -- he is trying to do this now. He wears two hats: He is, of course, the U.S. Combatant Commander; but he's also the NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation. And he's trying to build training courses in the NATO context so that all of us can essentially do what you suggested, Don, and that is to build this in to our military training, not only for the Allies but also for the partners with whom we work.

AMBASSADOR PASCUAL: What I would just add is that we've begun a fairly intensive series of engagements with a whole range of multilateral and bilateral partners to try to get a better common understanding of key components of the stabilization and reconstruction period, where we need to build those capabilities and better understand how we operate with one another. Around that, we're starting then to identify specific training areas. We're then also looking at exercises that can put those training programs to actual practice. We're trying to do this in a way that looks at not just civilian capabilities but the integration of civilian and military interaction.

As Nick said, Joint Forces Command has been an important partner in thinking about this and there are several people from Joint Forces Command over here in this corner today, just reflective of the fact that they have been so engaged with us in all of these issues. There are a range of other institutions in the U.S. Government, from the National Defense University, the Foreign Service Institute, the Army War College at Carlisle, the Naval Post-Graduate School, and indeed Congressman Farr has been a big supporter of that, their participation from Monterey, the Naval War College, who have been working with us to try to develop this comprehensive training agenda and look at all U.S. Government resources that we can apply to it. And then from the civilian side, USAID has been a key part because they have a number of programs with their OFDA and DART teams and OTI teams in particular.

So the intent is to really try to look at the community, understand what kind of training capabilities are there, what already exists, identify key requirements, to sharpen those requirements by partners, link the two up together, try to make it as international over time as we can, and then link the training programs with actual exercise programs so that we can keep getting better at this as we go.

QUESTION: Mark Schneider, International Crisis Group. Thank you very much for being with us and also for hosting us in the next week or so. I have two questions. One goes to the point that you made about Carlos' office not merely looking at the issues in post-conflict reconstruction but also as intervening to try and prevent weak and failing states from becoming vulnerable and becoming failed states and therefore sanctuaries, et cetera.

I'd be interested in terms of whether -- what other thoughts you've had along those lines on where, perhaps, and this goes to the other point you made, where NGOs might be helpful on a continuing basis in sharing thoughts about situations where it appears to the NGO community that danger exists within a particular country. That's the one question.

And the second as relates to NATO. Right now, most of us engaged around the world, look at Darfur as the most serious humanitarian crisis facing the international community. There's been an inability to develop adequate enforcement mechanisms to move the policy forward, to restrict the government of Khartoum. The United States is proposing both a no-fly zone and an arms embargo and other mechanisms to support AU force. Have you thought about NATO as a possible tool for that?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Mark, thank you very much and I know Carlos will want to respond to your question as well.

I just want to say, thank you to what your group has been doing -- the International Crisis Group. You are of enormous help to me -- Gareth Evans was specifically, on Kosovo and Afghanistan. And I think your group is a good example of the interaction we have to have between government and the NGO community. And we'll be hosting, on April 1st, your group at the State Department -- in fact, I'll be hosting you -- and I look forward to that and look forward to the discussion that we're going to have.

I think NGOs ought to come forward and give us advice and let us know when you see problems brewing. I know in the case of Afghanistan, a delegation of NGOs came to me and came to the NATO Secretary General about six months ago to try and iron out some problems we had in the way that we were deploying NATO peacekeepers throughout the country in the provisional reconstruction teams and some of the problems that was causing for the NGO community, and I think we tried to respond to that in a constructive way.

I would just say in Darfur, the U.S. is working very closely now and the Security Council, in fact today, on the situations in Sudan, I know that our Ambassador -- our Chargés d'Affaires Ann Patterson last night spoke about our wish to proceed with resolutions to create a United Nations peacekeeping force in Sudan, and that resolution is being debated today at the United Nations.

We're looking, along with our allies and friends in the Security Council at the issue of sanctions.

So there's a lot of work being done this week to try to get at the question you asked on Sudan and we're very conscious of the problem in Darfur. It's a problem that both Secretary Rice and our Deputy Secretary of State Bob Zoellick have been working on over the last couple of weeks. It's had their full attention.

AMBASSADOR PASCUAL: I would just add a couple quick things. First, in our formal early warning system that I described earlier, we're actually including NGO input and reports into that formal early warning system. Secondly, to the extent to which you want to make specific contacts on particular country issues or any other issues for that matter, we're certainly open it and actually welcome it.

And indeed, one example of an issue-specific issue that we're working on very closely with the NGO community, raised by a number of NGOs themselves, and InterAction, is work between the NGO and military in non-permissive environments and how to deal with the concept of humanitarian space, and a number of you here have been participating in that. And together as result of raising these ideas, we began a process with USIP and now we have a formal process going where over the coming months we will be generating ideas that will help work through some of the problematic issues and questions. So whether it's country-specific issues or broader thematic issues that you think we should take a look at, let us know and we're certainly open to it.

AMBASSADOR PASCUAL: I think all of us here would love to spend more time with Nick but I know that he's about to get a telephone call from his boss in a second. And to save him the embarrassment of taking that telephone call on the podium -- (laughter) -- I'm going to suggest that we bring this part of the proceedings to a close.

And Nick, we thank you very much (inaudible)

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

Released on May 9, 2005

ENDS

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