Rice Interview With Charlie Wolfson of CBS
Interview With Charlie Wolfson of CBS
Abu Shouk Camp, Al Fashar, Sudan
July 21, 2005
MR. WOLFSON: Madame Secretary, you've been here a short time but still you've gotten a little sampling. Give me your overall impressions. And if something surprised you, one way or the other, that it's better than you thought it might be or worse than you thought, would you say that?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the effort of the nongovernmental organizations that are working here, the international relief effort is really something. I mean, these people are working daily, every hour to try and make life better for these people. And they are getting support from the international community. The United States itself has provided almost $700 million over the last couple of years to try to make life better.
But, you do come here and you say this can't be the future for these people -- a refugee camp. We have got to get the new Sudanese Government, and there will be a new Sudanese Government thanks to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South, to be more active and more forward-leaning in resolving the security problem, in negotiating a peace, because the ultimate answer is to have a peace agreement, the kind of thing negotiated in Abuja, so that these people can go home.
MR. WOLFSON: You mentioned the security situation. Everyone knows it's bad. Will there be any more monitors coming in? Will there be enough monitors to take care of the violence against the people in these camps, especially the violence against women?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the good news is that the Sudanese Government told me that they were prepared to accept as many monitors as the AU wanted to bring. And so I will talk to the African Union about what that means.
We do know that where there are monitors, there is less violence. And perhaps put together with some of the measures that we have been talking with the Sudanese about -- internal policing, for instance by women police, a monitoring mechanism that would help identify perpetrators and bring them to justice. Perhaps with more monitoring and more forces we can do a better job.
MR. WOLFSON: The Sudanese Government officials you met with this morning told you certain things. They've told them to Secretary Powell, your Deputy Mr. Zoellick has been out here three times. Do you believe -- is there any reason to believe them?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I told them that they have a credibility issue; that the international community was looking for action, not words. And there is a gap between what has been promised and what has been delivered. And so the only point that I would underscore is that it is now a new government. And it would be a wonderful way for that new government to respond to make this a Sudan for all the people, including these people of Darfur.
MR. WOLFSON: With all due -- just one more.
SECRETARY RICE: That's fine.
MR. WOLFSON: Madame Secretary, you know the statistics, you know how many refugees there are out here. My question is kind of an overarching question: Why did it take the international community, and I know they're doing good work now, so long to get organized? What does it say about the state of the problem, so many had to die, so many had to be in camps like this, for people to come and get relief?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, it is true that I think the international response, even in the UN Security Council where we waited months to get resolutions on peacekeeping and accountability measures. It's simply got to get better. It's got to get quicker. One of the reasons that we favor United Nations reform is that there are efforts there, like a peace building commission that might help prevent circumstances in which you get a refugee problem of this kind.
So yes, the international community needs to take a look at its processes. I do think the response has been better this time than at other times. Certainly, the generosity has been greater. There are a lot of organizations working here and they are doing great work. But the international community has got to figure out how to prevent more of these circumstances and not just to respond.
MR. WOLFSON: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. 2005/T12-10
Released on July 21, 2005