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Rice IV Traveling Party Press Corps Reporters

Interview With Traveling Party Press Corps Reporters

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Abu Shouk Camp, Al Fashar, Sudan
July 21, 2005

QUESTION: Given what you heard in Khartoum this morning and given what you've seen here today, do you see any indication that these people are going to be able to go home in the near future?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we've got to make every effort because these children need to grow up at home, not in a refugee camp or (inaudible) as hard as people are working to make the (inaudible) so they can go home. And I do think that some of the issues about violence toward women have got to be dealt with. The Khartoum Government has promised it is going to speak out about it. That it's going to recognize the problem. We will see.

But it is a new day also in that the comprehensive agreement, which is going to create a Government of National Unity, does bring into the government people from the South who suffered in conditions not unlike this -- people from the South -- and suffered great brutality. And I hope that the attitude of the Khartoum Government as a whole will be one that is more active about this.

We heard that cooperation is better from the Khartoum Government in terms of humanitarian access and the like. But obviously, the real answer here is to move forward on the security issues and on the peace issues. It was very good to see the Rwandan soldiers coming in. I happen to know and worked before with General Okonkwo from Nigeria who also was the lead General for ECOWAS in Liberia. He's a very capable General. The AU is mustering forces. NATO is airlifting. The EU is ready to airlift. I'm sure others would -- the United States is contributing -- Canada.

So there is an international effort. I think we just have to ask how we can accelerate that international effort so that these children can grow up someplace else.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you've really see two sides of the Darfur conflict today; what you've heard from the Sudanese officials in Khartoum today and what you have seen here. And you (inaudible) the Khartoum Government (inaudible) credibility. Is there also in your mind, now that you've been here, sort of, a reality check? What did you see here today that sticks with you anything encapsulating this crisis?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think people have known that this is a devastating crisis for so many people, and the United States has called (inaudible).

I've seen -- of course, one can't help but have a different perception here because you're among the children or with the women with whom you talked about how hard life is here. You also have to be enormously impressed with what the international non-governmental organizations are doing, the relief workers, the humanitarian organizations, on a daily basis.

But obviously, the effort to accelerate the bringing in of AU forces so that security can improve, we do know that in places where there are security monitors, the violence comes down. I want to look at what the Sudanese Government has said it's prepared to do in terms of violence against women; to see what more we can do there. And I can promise you that I will be talking to a lot of my foreign minister colleagues about what I saw here.

QUESTION: Thank you.


Released on July 21, 2005

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