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Condoleezza Rice Interview With Ryan Chilcote, CNN

Interview With Ryan Chilcote, CNN

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Baghdad, Iraq
April 26, 2006

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, a very unprecedented move, both you and Secretary of Defense coming, why both of you?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we first wanted to bring a message that President Bush asked to bring, which is that we are ready to support this government and support it fully. But supporting it fully means that we have to make certain that the United States Government is really ready to do that, and so we are here to look at those issues that are at that nexus of political and military; there are many now. The security issues here even have both a political element and a military element. We are here to look at Defense Department operations and I'm looking at embassy operations to make sure that we're really properly organized to help this government hit the ground running, because clearly they are ready to show the Iraqi people that it's going to be a different day.

QUESTION: Coming up on the IAEA announcement, how concerned are you about Iranian influence on events here in Iraq, given a lot of issues including the relationship between the Government of Iran and this current government, the current prime minister?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, Iran is a neighbor and we would hope that they would have good and transparent neighborly relations. The Iraqis are patriots and the Iraqis are going to do what is right for Iraq. And I would just note that the prime minister gave a very interesting statement in which he said that he really thanks the neighbors for the role that they played during Saddam Hussein's regime in sheltering people, but that now it's time for Iraq to control its own affairs. And I fully expect that that's going to be the case.

QUESTION: Do you have concerns about the Iranian --

SECRETARY RICE: Well, of course, if Iran is engaged in non-transparent activities, there should be a concern. But I see nothing that suggests this Iraqi government is going to be anything but concerned about and carrying out the interest of the Iraqi people.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary.



Released on April 26, 2006


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