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Rice With Senegalese FM Cheikh Tidiane Gadio

Press Availability With Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Dakar, Senegal
July 20, 2005

FOREIGN MINISTER GADIO: I have made a statement at the closing of the session a little earlier. The Prime Minister has done the same thing. We're not going to repeat here. We want to save time. But I will say a few points that I have said before, and this is at the opening from the Prime Minister (inaudible). I said that Africans should really remove any (inaudible) in their relationship with the United States. It should not feel bothered by anything like that or what has been done in the last years.

I also noted that AGOA initiative was followed by other initiatives like MCA, two initiatives for health, against HIV, against malaria. And also the United States has helped the African Union with their Peace and Security Initiative. And I will add that if we have called President Clinton the first American-African President, we could call President Bush now, "President Bush, the African."

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. I want to thank Foreign Minister Gadio and Prime Minister Sall and especially President Wade for the wonderful welcome here. The purpose of this trip has been twofold: first, to come and renew our very strong friendship with Senegal, a country that is well governed, a country with which we have just signed an agreement that will lead to a Millennium Challenge compact, and a country with which it's pulling its weight in the world and which has peacekeeping missions in six different African countries and a very strong defense and counterterrorism relationship with the United States; and secondly, to address the closing session of the AGOA Forum. AGOA is making a difference in people's lives, along with development assistance and good governance and direct foreign investment. Africa is a continent that I am certain will recognize and realize its promise.

And I said that while African problems must be solved by Africans, the United States sees Africa as a partner here in the region and also to make prosperity and peace possible for the people of Africa. I believe that the United States and Africa have bonds of friendship and I said to the Forum that since Africans and Europeans came to build America together, I think it's possible to say that there, quite literally, would have been no United States of America without the sons and daughters of Africa.

Finally, I am certain that President Bush will proudly wear the title of "Bush, the African."


QUESTION: Welcome, Madame Secretary. Welcome to Senegal. The (inaudible) -- you know that the (inaudible) -- is now in the hands of the law here in Senegal and charged. Because you think that good governance is -- should be a criterion to be eligible for U.S. aid and AGOA, what do you think of this situation?

SECRETARY RICE: My understanding is that this is an ongoing investigation and it is being debated quite openly in the press, which I think is a good sign. Obviously, we stand around the world for rule of law and for an open system that is based on rule of law and expect that of everyone, including our friends.

MODERATOR: Ann Gearan, Associated Press.

QUESTION: (Off mike.)

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, there is a new government and I will start from the point that it could also be a new day if this new government, which comes out of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South, exercises its responsibility for all the people of Sudan, including the people of Darfur. And so we don't rely on words; we rely on actions. We have gotten some help from the Sudanese Government, but by no means enough, and we will continue to discuss the international system's, the international community's demands that Sudan respond effectively to the tragedy in Darfur.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, on the (inaudible) in Senegal for the (inaudible), you stated earlier that you're going to open a port trade hub here in Dakar. I would like for you to say a little more (inaudible) on that in terms of (inaudible). I mean, (inaudible) of the United States really to land here in Francophone Africa because all commercial hubs so far have been open and are English-speaking (inaudible)?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, free trade is in several languages. Africa speaks really both French and English, and we felt it was important to have a (inaudible) hub which will allow facilitation of cargo, which will help people to make more safe their transport of goods, which will provide technical assistance to people who are trying to transport. I can assure you that it has no other purpose than commercial, which is to make it as possible for people to engage in the trade here in Francophone Africa as it is possible for them to do so in Anglophone Africa.

MODERATOR: Andrea Mitchell, NBC.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary and Foreign Minister. Madame Secretary, you say this can be a new day regarding Darfur, but there is no sign that there is real progress, according to people on the ground. The fact is that the reason why there may be less violence is that 2.5 million people have been displaced, hundreds of thousands have died, women are still being raped when they leave the camp to go to draw water. What muscle is there, other than the fact that there are monitors being inserted, who will not intervene to stop the action? They're simply observing the action. What can you say to the world about this tragedy and about any determination the United States has to change things on the ground. And do you still believe, as the President said, that this is and was genocide?

SECRETARY RICE: The United States believes that by our accounts, it definitely is genocide. We've made that very clear. Colin Powell made it clear. That has not changed.

But I think that we have to recognize that we have worked hard and we have been able to avert some of the humanitarian disaster that was forecast, by the excellent work of nongovernmental organizations, with our USAID personnel, by opening up a third route to Libya. We have been able to get food into the country. We've stored food for the rainy season. The United States Congress has been generous in making available food assistance. The United States has -- I think it's more than 85 percent of food assistance to Sudan comes from the United States. On the humanitarian side, we are working very, very hard.

Second, it is true that when there is monitoring, there is less violence. And so the -- I think the deployment of additional AU forces, with NATO and EU support, is an important step forward.

And third, let us not forget that there is a Comprehensive Peace Settlement between North and South, which is historic. It ends a 25-year civil war. It brings South and North into a government of unity. That Government of National Unity now has an opportunity to use that framework to deal with the tragedy of Darfur.

So we are not where we were a year ago. We are in a different circumstance. And the United States has spent a great deal of money and a lot of diplomatic and other energy to try and bring this conflict to a conclusion. We also have the support and help of the African Union, but the African Union has the lead on this. We have tried to help. We will continue to try to help. But I think Africans believe that this is a conflict that is going to be best resolved on the ground by Africans.

The Foreign Minister has a comment.

FOREIGN MINISTER GADIO: What I was just going to say about Darfur is that Senegal has a very special position on the issue because, remember, the African Union, our country has been very vocal in saying that we don't like the fact that the African Union has asked the international community to allow it to be an African solution to an African problem, and in (inaudible) the logistics from our own government did not follow, and then we went from 70,000 when we were told to almost 200,000 there today, and we are told 900,000 displaced, now we are told 2 million displaced, and Senegal work in Abidjan at the African summit recently (inaudible) and said to the African Union that this is just not acceptable.

We have a good relationship with the Government of Sudan after (inaudible) witness the coming in to the government of Vice President Garang to lend our support to (inaudible) because the Sudanese situation is extremely complex, and we have to deal with, like the Madame Secretary of State, you know, you have to deal with the facts in the ground and see all the complexity of those, you know, relationships between ethnic groups and tribes and Muslims and non-Muslims and (inaudible).

Sudan is the largest territory in Africa and dealing with a lot of problems, but at the same time we told the truth to say that we are totally dissatisfied with the fact that the African Union has asked the international community once again to allow us to deal with this problem, not to send troops to stop, you know, what was called by us war crimes and so on, and then those militias are still -- they're active, you know, killing people, burning villages, raping women. Totally unacceptable.

And our government doesn't compromise on that particular issue. Through the African Union, that's the country of Senegal. But now there is UN Security Council, the European Union, the African Union, the United States -- we all should come together in a new way of dealing with the suffering of the people of Darfur, the population, especially men and, you know, people of a certain age, young men and women. We have to do something.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, and we can only do it -- the United States cannot do this alone, Andrea. It takes African Union will. It takes Security Council will. It took us months to get a Security Council resolution that talked about peacekeeping, that talked about war crimes prosecution and that talked about the possibility for sanctions. The United States has been at the forefront of pushing for these tools. The United States was at the forefront of getting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South. But we need everybody to make a maximum effort, including the AU and including the other members of the Security Council.

Thank you.



Released on July 20, 2005


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