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Rice Interview on Al-Iraqiya with Karim Hamadi

Interview on Al-Iraqiya with Karim Hamadi

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Baghdad, Iraq
November 11, 2005

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Madame Condoleezza Rice, we welcome you. My first question is you have said that you are not supporting any particular person or group in the elections, but who -- what type of government, what kind of government, you would like to have after the elections in Iraq.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it is up to the Iraqi people to determine what kind of government they will have. I do know that in the constitution what is enshrined is that it should certainly be a government that respects individual rights, that respects the rights of women, that respect the Islamic character of Iraq but also respects the rights of others to worship -- other religious groups to worship freely.

Certainly we would hope that it is a group of leaders that reach out to all Iraqis, that whatever the communitarian interests of Iraqis -- Sunni or Shia or Kurd -- that the government has to be for all Iraqis and that they will reach out across lines so that differences can be resolved within the democratic institutions.

And we know also that the Iraqis are committed to being good neighbors and it's why that it's important that Iraq's neighbors be good neighbors as well.

QUESTION: From your knowledge of the military operations that are going on in Iraq, how do you assess the situation militarily in Iraq? Is it things are getting better or are things getting worse?

SECRETARY RICE: It seems to me that you can see that in a number of cities, like Mosul for instance, which was a place that was very violent just a little while ago, or Talafar, that not only are these cities beginning to become livable again but Iraqi security forces are key to having defeated terrorists there and to now providing security. And that is the best sign that things are getting better because ultimately Iraq will have to be secured by Iraqis, not by coalition forces, which can help, but it's really Iraqis who must secure Iraq.

I think the security situation will for some time, unfortunately -- violent men will be able, in a cowardly fashion, to blow up innocent people. That is the nature of terrorism and we all experience it. But I do think that the foundation is being laid for a much more secure future for Iraq.

QUESTION: What you said is truth, but I would like to add to that that the security situation in Iraq is connected to nearby countries such as Syria. And then I'm going to add also to that, don't you think what happened in Jordan makes what the American officials and the Iraqi officials have been saying for quite some time that terrorism will spread to other countries is true?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, on Syria, Syria has an obligation to keep the people who are killing Iraqis from coming across the border to kill innocent Iraqis and all states are saying that to Syria now. And I hope Syria will, in fact, try and be a good neighbor and try to cut off the flow of insurgents and close down training camps that are in Syria.

As to what happened in Jordan, unfortunately, terrorists have been able and are able to carry out terrorist attacks and it doesn't -- it just happens to be that Jordan is a border state with Iraq. But of course, terrorists have carried out attacks in the United States, in Great Britain, in Madrid, Spain, in Bali and Indonesia -- all over the world. They are in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

The terrorists are quite capable of carrying out these attacks, but what they fear most is that there will be a Middle East in which their ideology of hatred will no longer thrive. And they know that when Iraq claims its place as a democratic and stable country, where Iraqis are able to overcome their differences through democratic processes, that their ideology of hatred will not have appeal because mothers and fathers don't want to send their children off to be suicide bombers; they want to send their children to university.

And so that is why the Zarqawi people have threatened Iraqis, and Iraqis have still gone out and voted. So the democracy that Iraq will build is the best answer to these violent people who, in a cowardly way, simply kill innocent Iraqis. Theirs is not -- the future is not with them. The future is with the democratic process that Iraqis are engaged in.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. We were hoping for more time, but thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.

###

2005/T19-9

ENDS

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