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Rice Remarks with Libyan Foreign Minister


Remarks with Libyan Foreign Minister Abd al-Rahman Shalgam

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York, New York
September 17, 2005

(4:30 p.m. EDT)


SECRETARY RICE: I just want to take a moment to welcome the Libyan Foreign Minister, Mr. Shalgam. We have had a very good discussion of a path toward Libyan-U.S. relations that will lead us to better and better relations between our people, between our governments.

Libya made a historic decision to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction and I think that it is paying off for Libya in the sense that American companies are there, that we are having this meeting and that we are talking about how to continue and push forward our relationship.

But I also wanted to say, Mr. Minister, is that it has been a good thing for the world and for the international community to see the leadership of Libya and your leader in making this historic decision, and a decision that was taken for peace. And thank you very much for that.

FOREIGN MINISTER SHALGAM: Madame, thank you, thank you --

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, what's your take on the recent developments of Iran here?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I have not had an opportunity to read the speech of the Iranian President (inaudible) been in meetings all day, but it is very clear in conversations here that everyone understands what Iran needs to do. Iran needs to return to negotiations. It was in negotiations with the EU-3 when they decided unilaterally to leave those negotiations and resume its nuclear programs.

The problem is that Iran's behavior in the past concerning its IAEA obligations has left the world with a lack of confidence in Iran's willingness to live up to those obligations. That is why the EU-3 has talked to Iran about ways to meet its needs energy needs without access to the fuel cycle. That is why the Russians have structured their civilian nuclear Bushrer plant without access to the nuclear fuel cycle. And so I would hope that Iran would engage in realistic discussions with the rest of the world about what is possible. There's time for diplomacy but Iran needs to make a choice now to return to negotiations.

###

2005/T13-24

ENDS


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