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Rice IV on Al Iraqiya With Ms. Alham Al Beiruty

Interview on Al Iraqiya With Ms. Alham Al Beiruty

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Brussels, Belgium
June 22, 2005

QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) Are there any new financial assistance to the Iraqi people, apart from the already mentioned ones like the (inaudible), Dr. Rice?

SECRETARY RICE: We will have a donors conference in a few weeks for Iraq. And the purpose of today's conference is to hear from the Iraqi government about their agenda and about what will be the needs of the Iraqi people. But I know that people are preparing packages of assistance for the donors conference which will take place in a few weeks.

QUESTION: What's your position on the drafting of the new Iraqi constitution?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, everyone is very pleased that Iraq has such a bright political future because it's so clear that Iraqis are working for that future. The constitution is going to be a chance for national reconciliation.

It is going to be a chance for all Iraqis to know that the future includes them, whatever ethnic group they come from, or whatever religious group they come from. And it's going to be an opportunity to enshrine the important rights of individual liberty, of women's rights, of the right to speak freely, of the right to worship as you please. That is what the constitution means. And we want to be as supportive as possible in the constitutional drafting process.

QUESTION: Why did the U.S. government ask the Jafari government in including 25 Arab Sunnis into the commission of drafting the constitution?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the number was not set by the United States. But we were encouraging Prime Minister Jafari's government to include Sunnis in the constitutional drafting process. The first committee had only two Sunnis; that was not enough. But the Iraqis as a whole now, Sunnis, Shiia, Kurds, have come together to agree on a number and -- a number of Sunnis that will be involved, and now it can be an inclusive process. Because the constitution has to be a document that all Iraqis feel a part of.

QUESTION: You said that the U.S. administration has (inaudible) negotiating with the Baathists and the insurgents. What do you have to say about this issue?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the United States is not negotiating with -- with those who are trying to harm Iraq. We leave it to the Iraqi government to help us understand how Iraq is going to come back together as a unified country.

There are people who may have been part of the insurgency or perhaps people who were low-level officials in the Baathist Party who I know that the Iraqi government wants to include in the new Iraq and to have it be a part of the political solution in Iraq. But there are some terrorists and people who were ranking officials under Saddam Hussein who really will never be a part of a new Iraq.

But this is again the Iraqi people have to make the decisions about how they move forward on their political future, and the United States will try to be supportive of those Iraqi decisions.

QUESTION: Regarding the trial of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. government is withholding some information on (inaudible). We would like to know such thing is the case? And also would the U.S. administration permit the Iraqi prosecutors to be given total freedom to investigate the case of Saddam Hussein?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the case of Saddam Hussein must be thoroughly investigated and it must be done in a way that the whole world knows that this was a fair trial for Saddam Hussein. We are assisting the Iraqi government and prosecutors in preparing this case, and sharing information and working together so that this case can be tried. We understand how important it is to the Iraqi people to be able to have justice done for what was really a horrible period in their history, when many Iraqis lost their lives and all Iraqis lost their freedom.

QUESTION: Did (inaudible) for the Iraqi investigators (inaudible)?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I'm certain that our people are cooperating with the Iraqi prosecutors as fully as they possibly can. And so we, as much as Iraqis, want to see Saddam Hussein brought to justice.

QUESTION: What if the Iraqi court dictate the execution of Saddam Hussein? What is the (inaudible)?

SECRETARY RICE: An Iraqi decision, because this will be an Iraqi court and an Iraqi trial. It just needs to be a free and fair trial.

QUESTION: What are your comments regarding the (inaudible) of Mr. Bush that the war in Iraq is complex or tough?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, clearly the situation in Iraq is difficult. But it is possible to be optimistic about Iraq's future and still to realize that there are many hard problems ahead. Iraq is emerging from decades of tyranny and that is not easy.

But we have been so impressed with the courage of the Iraqi people, the determination of the Iraqi people. And that is what we will support. And so even if it is hard, it is well worth seeing an Iraq that will be free and just and unified and democratic.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. 2005/T10-21

Released on June 22, 2005

ENDS


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