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Silverberg Interview With CNN -- Paula Zahn Now

Interview With CNN -- Paula Zahn Now

Kristen Silverberg , Assistant Secretary for International Organization
Affairs
Washington, DC
July 26, 2006

ZAHN: Thanks so much for being with us.

ZAHN: Now, most of the countries in the Rome talks called for an immediate cease-fire. That is not what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for. Are you saying that those other countries are wrong here?

A/S SILVERBERG: Well, what we're saying is that we want a long-term, sustainable solution to this crisis.

You know, no one thought that this diplomatic effort was going to be easy. We're trying to address some persistent and deep-seated problems in a complicated part of the world. But what we have agreed to now, coming out of Rome, is that everyone agrees we can't return to the status quo ante. We need a long-term solution.

Everyone agrees that will require an international force. And everyone...

ZAHN: All right.

AS SILVERBERG: ... everyone has made a commitment that part of the international force's obligation should be to help the Lebanese government control all of its territory, including the part occupied by Hezbollah.

ZAHN: So, when you talk about the goal of this sustainable effort, are -- are you saying that countries who want an immediate cease-fire aren't serious about disarming Hezbollah?

A/S SILVERBERG: What we're saying is that this part of the world, this region, has been through too much. The Lebanese people have been through a painful civil war. They have been through conflict. And they deserve an opportunity to have a long-term, sustainable solution.

So, what we say is, we don't wand a band-aid. We don't want a temporary solution. We want the kind of solution that is going to put Lebanon on the path to stability and democracy over the long term.

ZAHN: Am I to read into that, then, that these countries who support an immediate cease-fire aren't serious about fighting terrorism?

A/S SILVERBERG: I think that all of our partners on the issue, all of the people who are in Rome, are very serious.

We were grateful for all of their input. We're grateful for the agreements we reached on the international force, on the need for a long-term solution. We're working very closely with all of our allies and are grateful for their support.

ZAHN: You say you're working closely with your allies, but John King says that there's a distinct impression from many of the participants in the forum that Secretary of State Rice is perceived as an obstacle to that process.

A/S SILVERBERG: Again, I don't think anyone thought this was going to be easy. Everyone wants an urgent end to the crisis. And Secretary of State Rice made that very clear. The communique made that very clear.

But what we want is to address these underlying, deep-seated problems, the conditions that create the kind of conflict we're dealing with now. And that's going to require a lot of work.

ZAHN: Kristen Silverberg, we got to leave it there tonight. Thank you so much for being with us.

A/S SILVERBERG: Thank you.

ZAHN: Appreciate your time.

Released on July 27, 2006

ENDS


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