Rice Interview With Ngathie Diop of Senegal TV
Interview With Ngathie Diop of Senegal TV
July 20, 2005
MS. DIOP: Thank you, Dr. Rice, and welcome to Senegal. As the Secretary of State, this is your first trip to Africa. What is the symbol of this first contact with Africa in general and Senegal in particular?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, it's very nice to be here as Secretary of State for the first time, but I was, of course, here with President Bush two years ago in Dakar and to Goree Island. It is a reminder of the tremendous bonds of kinship and blood and indeed even tragedy that America and Africa have shared in the past, but I hope a sign of the very hopeful future that we have together because countries like Senegal, which are governing wisely and investing in their people, have the support of the United States. We have just signed a technical assistance agreement that will lead to a compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation that will provide assistance to Senegal. And so the most important thing is to demonstrate that the United States is going to be a partner for Africa as Africa solves its own problems.
MS. DIOP: Dr., what are the most significant results of AGOA since its creation in 2000?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, AGOA has created jobs for many, many Africans, and we know that because we see the products that come to the United States: wood carvings from Tanzania, for instance, or sorbet from South Africa, tuna from right here in Senegal. And so it is creating jobs. Imports to the United States are up 22 percent in the period since 2003 and that's non-oil imports. So the purpose of trade is to open markets and to allow people to have jobs, and that is good for both Americans and for the people of Africa.
MS. DIOP: What is your view of the general situation of human rights in Senegal?
SECRETARY RICE: My view is that Senegal has been a country that has been devoted to the rule of law. I look at the very open press here and I know that even the most difficult issues and questions get debated in the press. And ultimately, the most important guarantor of human rights in a country is the rule of law and also a free and open press. And so we expect our friends, including our friends in Senegal, to govern according to the rule of law.
MS. DIOP: And what is the position of the U.S. Government about reforming the UN Security Council to allow Africa to have two permanent seats?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the United States believes strongly that there needs to be UN Security Council reform so that the Security Council will not look like it did in 1945 but is relevant for 2005. But it has to be also in the context of broad UN reform. We need to reform the Human Rights Council. We need to reform the Peace Building Commission. We need to reform the Secretariat and the management of the UN. And so our view has been that, yes, there should be expansion of the Security Council. We have talked about two or so seats, but we have some flexibility to talk about that.
But we need to also make sure that there is a full and open debate so that the issue does not become divisive in the United Nations and so that we do not lose attention on the other very important reforms that need to be made.
MS. DIOP: Dr., regarding the fight against terrorism, what do you expect from countries such as Senegal?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, in the fight against terrorism we are all united because the entire world of civilization is under attack. As we've seen in places all over the world, the terrorists know no national boundaries; they will go anywhere. And so we need our partners, like Senegal, to have safe ports and to have safe airports. We need our partners like Senegal to make sure that there is -- that border guards and policemen are not engaging in corruption and are therefore fighting terrorism, and of course that we have law enforcement and intelligence cooperation. And Senegal has been a very active partner in defense cooperation and a very active partner also in the counterterrorist fight.
MS. DIOP: Dr., I have one more question. We know that Senegal and the United States enjoy a good relationship, and President Bush and President Wade have excellent personal relationship. And as a Secretary of State, what do you envision as necessary to make those relations stronger?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I believe that by coming here -- and, in fact, Foreign Minister Gadio was recently in the United States, I saw Prime Minister Sall as well -- we will have continuous discussion between us about how to make our relationship stronger. But when you have a relationship that is based first and foremost on shared values, on a belief in democracy, a belief that people are at their strongest when they have choices, that's an awfully good foundation for a firm and strong relationship.
President Bush and President Wade have met a number of times. They talk on the telephone fairly frequently. Because the President, President Bush, admires President Wade's statesmanship. He admires his leadership in Africa. And I know they recently saw each other at the G-8. And so not only are Senegal and the United States strengthening our partnership, but we are putting that partnership to good work to solve problems in Africa and around the world.
MS. DIOP: Thank you very much, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and have a safe trip back home.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. 2005/T12-5
Released on July 20, 2005