Condoleezza Rice To National Summit on Africa
Address to the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
September 27, 2006
(10:30 a.m. EDT)
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much. And thank you, Bernadette, for that very kind and wonderful and warm introduction. I want to, of course, thank Noah Samara and the Members of the Board of the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa. I see many friends in the audience. Hope, it's great to see you here. I want to acknowledge also Jendayi Frazer's fine work and also that of Cindy Courville, who has been the Special Assistant to the President for Africa and will become the United States first Ambassador to the African Union. (Applause.) I am honored to have this opportunity to speak with you this morning. And I am pleased that so many members of the Diplomatic Corps could join us as well.
But there is one person that I am sorry to say isn't here with us, a man who cherished this Society, who cherished U.S.-African friendship, who cherished the potential of Africa as a continent of her people, and a man who was cherished by all of us, Leonard Robinson. Leonard was more than just a founder and first president of the Africa Society; he embodied the same noble and enduring hope for Africa, and for all of Africa's people, that has always formed the spirit of this Society – and that continues to keep this great organization strong. I am so honored that his daughters, Kemberley and Rani are here. Thank you for joining us. And I just know that Leonard's spirit lives on in this great organization and will continue to guide it.
The Africa Society has a transformational vision for Africa, and I want you to know that that is a vision that President Bush and I share. Together with you, we envision an Africa where peace is known by all, where freedom is shared by all, where opportunity is expanding for all, and most importantly, where responsibility is embraced by all. Because we stand together with Africa, America today is helping more people across the continent to build lives of hope and dignity than ever before in history.
Yet, far too many men, women, and children in Africa dream of a better life, but it's still only a dream. For these people, with too little voice of their own, you here are helping to carry their stories before the world's conscience. Your activism is helping so many people in Africa, but nowhere today is it now more urgent than to carry the story before the voice of conscience of the region, of the world, than in Darfur, the region of Sudan.
We have come to a moment of great consequence in Darfur. The Government of Sudan has launched a new military offensive. The security situation is clearly deteriorating. Innocent people are suffering and dying. The humanitarian situation, already tenuous, is at risk of grave worsening. And the hope of peace is now in danger of collapsing altogether.
Today, I want to talk about what needs to be done right now to address the urgent situation in Darfur, but first, I would like to speak more broadly about our policy toward Sudan – because ultimately, the two cannot be separated. You see, the situation in Darfur is a humanitarian crisis, to be sure – but it is more than that. It is a fundamentally political problem, rooted in the historic challenge of governing Sudan. To create the opportunity for real and lasting peace in Darfur, we must help to resolve the broader political problems within Sudan. So it is here that I would like to begin this morning.
Of course you all know Sudan as a gigantic country – the largest in Africa, and about the size of the United States east of the Mississippi River. The country is literally a crossroads of civilizations. The Blue Nile and the White Nile meet in Khartoum, connecting tribes, and cultures, and customs, and religions from every corner of Africa with those of the Middle East.
Secretary Rice addresses the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa, at the Academy for Educational Development. State Department photo by Michael Gross. Like so many other diverse nations, Sudan has never managed to create a just and effective state, which represents the interests of all people and the aspirations of all its citizens. The central government has never worked out a political agreement to share wealth and power fairly with the country's provinces. Instead, successive governments in Khartoum have horded the nation's wealth and power for themselves. Among the peoples of eastern, western, and southern Sudan, this injustice has created many legitimate grievances against the government. And as a result, Sudan has been independent for 50 years, and it has spent 40 of those years mired in violence.
The worst of these conflicts was the civil war between the Government of Sudan and rebels in the south. When President Bush came into office, this war had been raging for nearly two decades, and at the cost of more than two million lives. So the President committed himself and our government to helping to end it. He recognized that real and lasting peace would only be possible if the political roots of the conflict were fundamentally transformed. Our goal was to help Sudan build a unified, peaceful, and democratic country. And we worked to rally all parties to that purpose.
Wisely, in that case, the Government of Sudan chose cooperation and peace. Their good decision was supported by the courageous and visionary leadership of someone that many of you knew well, the late John Garang – and by the unfailing commitment also of two great Americans: former Senator John Danforth, whom President Bush empowered as his special envoy, and my predecessor, Colin Powell as Secretary of State. The result was a remarkable. A groundbreaking document was signed, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or the CPA.
Signed in January of 2005, the CPA is a blueprint for the democratic transformation of Sudan – one that attempts to resolve, for the first time ever, the country's underlying political problems. The CPA creates a new political framework – a Government of National Unity – through which to devolve power and distribute wealth from Sudan's central government to its marginalized provinces in the south. It could also serve as a model for the west and for the east. From the ruins of the war, the CPA creates an environment of security and stability, which is supported by 10,000 UN peacekeepers. This force is helping to create the necessary political space for reconciliation to occur in Sudan. It's a long and difficult process, to be sure, but one that can, and should, lead to freedom, peace, and development for all of Sudan's people.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement remains the political roadmap to a widely-shared goal of a unified, peaceful, and democratic Sudan. But as we were concluding the CPA, another conflict was erupting – this time in Darfur, in western Sudan. Like the long civil war between north and south, the conflict in Darfur is also political in nature, arising from the fact that the government in Khartoum has never shared wealth and power fairly with the people of Darfur.
The status quo in Darfur was old and unstable, and it had broken down before – first, in the 1980s, killing nearly 20,000 people, and again in the 1990s, claiming the lives of thousands more. The violence that began three years ago precipitated the third and by far the worst conflict in Darfur.
Citing attacks by rebels in the area, the Government of Sudan recruited a tribe of Arab nomads, known as the janjaweed, who have long resented the Africans of Darfur, due to land disputes and ethnic differences. Funded, armed, and encouraged by the Sudanese Government, the janjaweed attacked village after village in Darfur – torturing and executing the men and the boys; beating and raping the women and the girls. Those lucky enough to escape with their lives walked miles and took refuge by the hundreds in distant lands, in overcrowded camps in western Sudan or in eastern Chad. The courageous few who returned to their villages found their homes burned; their crops destroyed; their wells poisoned; their animals stolen or slaughtered; and all of their wealth, indeed their entire way of life, gone.
Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children have been murdered. Nearly 2 million more have been driven and displaced from their homes in Darfur – a multitude of people almost four times larger than the population of Washington, DC. The United States has called this tragedy by the only name that captures its meaning, the only name it deserves – genocide.
Last year, I visited one of the camps in Darfur, called Abu Shouk. At the time, it was home to tens of thousands of people; since then, I am told, it has grown larger. When seen from above, Abu Shouk is a sea of white plastic tents set against a brown and barren landscape. It would take hours to drive around its entire perimeter, but so many of the sights would be the same – the children who still flinch in fear at the sound of horses or helicopters … the mud huts that melt in the rain … and the many empty, staring faces, that reflect a kind of anguish that can only be whispered of.
In Abu Shouk, I met privately with a small group of women, who spoke of their rape, and the rape of their daughters. Their stories were harrowing and heartbreaking, but what was most chilling was the matter of fact way in which they spoke of their despair, as if it were a painful but unavoidable fact of their daily lives. I know that even now, to keep themselves and their families alive, many women in Abu Shouk, perhaps even many of the women I met, must walk for hours beyond the camp in search of firewood. They know that the janjaweed are still out there, but they walk alone anyway, making the calculation that it is better they be raped again than that their husband or their son be caught and killed trying to protect them.
As horrific as it is, I am told that, compared to most of Darfur refugee and displaced persons camps, the inhabitants of Abu Shouk are actually pretty lucky. Because for the people living in Tawila, or Kabkabiya, or Dar Zaghawa, the conditions are even more severe. Diseases like cholera and dysentery are more widespread. Violence and rape are more pervasive. And the ongoing fighting has made these camps, and many others, nearly impossible for us to reach.
>From the very beginning of this conflict, our most urgent priority has been to ease the suffering and ensure the safety of the people living in the camps. The United States has led the humanitarian response of the international community, and we have led through our actions. We have provided the people of Darfur with shelter from the sun and rain, and with food and water to strengthen them for the days ahead. Indeed, more than 60 percent of all the food that the World Food Program now distributes in Darfur is paid for by the people of the United States. We are also working to improve sanitation and to care for the sick, and the wounded, and the maimed. And for the many, many people – mostly women and girls – whose worst wounds lie deep beneath the surface, we are supporting the work of caring souls who can help them to cope with unspeakable trauma.
None of this would have been possible without our partners in Congress. In each of the past two years, the United States has dedicated more than $1.3 billion in assistance to the people of Darfur and southern Sudan. And today, I want to take this opportunity to thank Congress for its commitment and compassion on behalf of the American people. (Applause.)
I also want to recognize the absolute heroism of humanitarian aid workers in Darfur. From international institutions like the United Nations, to non-governmental organizations like the International Red Cross, and too many others to name, men and women of goodwill are serving and sacrificing in Darfur, often at great personal risk to themselves, and they are helping to save countless lives.
We will continue to bend every fiber of our being to ease the suffering of people of Darfur, but our goal is, and must be, more ambitious than that: We do not want the people of Darfur to live forever in refugee camps; we want to help them return home and to live at peace. The status quo that caused this war was flawed and fatal. It had broken down before, with horrific human consequences. So to prevent this from happening again – in a month, or in a year, or in a decade – and to chart a path to real and lasting peace, as we did for northern and southern Sudan with the CPA, we are working to address the political roots of the conflict in Darfur.
A breakthrough on this front came in May, with the negotiation of the Darfur Peace Agreement. This document does not create peace; it outlines the principles of peace, and creates a political framework to realize them – including agreements to share power fairly, to distribute wealth equitably, to cooperate on security, and to build trust and reconciliation. The Sudanese Government signed the agreement, as did the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Minni Minnawi. Two other rebel groups did not. Nonetheless, by outlining a new political compact between the Government of Sudan and the people of Darfur, the Darfur Peace Agreement could be a worthy and necessary complement to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
At this moment, however, the Government of Sudan has renewed its military offensive against the rebels, which is undermining the Darfur Peace Agreement, as well as our collective humanitarian efforts. As in the past, the government's new campaign of violence is targeting the people of Darfur, and it is they who are suffering most. Because of the lack of security, humanitarian aid workers are unable to reach hundreds of thousands of people in the camps. Without food, and water, and other assistance in the coming months, all will suffer, and many could die.
This tragedy can, and must, be averted, and President Bush is personally committed to this goal. Last week, in his speech before the UN General Assembly, the President reiterated his strong support for the people of Darfur, and he appointed Andrew Natsios, who is with us today, the former Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, to serve as his Special Envoy on Sudan. Andrew, thank you for accepting this task. (Applause.) Andrew has the complete trust and confidence of President Bush and of myself; he has a strong mandate to advance our goals in Sudan. He will get started because we have no time to lose.
At this critical time for Darfur, there are three additional steps that we must take.
First, we need an immediate ceasefire. The Government of Sudan must halt its military operations, and the rebels who are non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement must stop fighting and sign the accord. Though we will not renegotiate the Agreement, we are conferring with rebels who want peace. We are seeking to address their legitimate concerns. And we will support them if they choose peace. If the rebels refuse, then they will face serious consequences, including targeted UN sanctions.
Second, to help stabilize Darfur, to protect the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are now at risk, and to help all parties implement the Darfur Peace Agreement, the Government of Sudan must immediately and unconditionally accept a UN peacekeeping force into Darfur. (Applause.) We commend the African Union for all of its efforts. The African Union has taken the leadership role, as is only right. They have done so much to protect people of Darfur. We applaud the AU's decision to extend its mission, ensuring that not a day goes by without peacekeepers on the ground. But ultimately, 7,200 people cannot effectively secure an area the size of Texas. The African Union has done as much as it can under these circumstances, and it has now called for international support – not once, not twice, but three times.
Last month, the UN Security Council responded, and we passed Resolution 1706 – calling for the transition of the African Union mission to a larger, more robust UN peacekeeping force, with more than 20,000 new troops and police. One main source of opposition remains: the Sudanese Government. I would be quick to note, this opposition to the UN force has not been unanimous within Sudan. The Sudan Liberation Movement and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement support a force for Darfur.
We hope now that the entire Sudanese Government will understand that it faces a clear and consequential decision, indeed the same decision that it faced when we ended the north-south civil war. This is a choice between cooperation and confrontation.
If the Government of Sudan chooses cooperation – if it works with the United Nations and welcomes the UN force into Darfur – then it will find a dedicated partner in the United States. And as President Bush stated in his recent letter to President Bashir, we will be prepared to examine all aspects of our bilateral relationship – and to work toward our common goal of a unified, peaceful, and democratic Sudan.
But, if the Sudanese Government chooses confrontation – if it continues waging war against its own citizens, challenging the African Union, undermining the peacekeeping force, and threatening the international community – then the regime in Khartoum will be held responsible, and it alone will bear the consequences of its actions. The international community must make clear to the leaders of Sudan that this is the choice that they face.
The Sudanese Government says that it wants a stable country and a good relationship with the international community. But its behavior is creating the exact opposite: instability and isolation. The deployment of a UN force to Darfur would help to turn this around. It would secure the area, it would stabilize the country, it would benefit the Sudanese people, and thereby serve the interests of the Sudanese Government as well. UN peacekeepers are playing this role in southern Sudan already; they should do the same in Darfur and they should do so now. (Applause.)
If the Sudanese Government wishes to become a respected member of the international community, then it must act like one and behave responsibly. The time for stalling has passed; the time for action has come. We cannot, and we will not, accept Sudan's opposition to this important goal. Since the Sudanese Government will not save the lives of its own people, the United Nations must act.
With UN peacekeepers in Darfur, helping to protect innocent people and to implement the Darfur Peace Agreement, one final step will still be necessary – the transition from a humanitarian effort to a reconstruction effort, which can help the people of Darfur return to their homes and rebuild their lives.
This will be a monumental undertaking. Most of the victims of conflict in Darfur have little or nothing to which to return. They will need help to restore their stolen wealth. Water programs will be necessary to replenish people's livelihoods and reduce future conflict. The challenge facing Sudan's Government of National Unity is nothing less than the transformation of Darfur. Sudan will, of course, lead its own development effort. But we and the international community would clearly support them. And the world's generosity would be more important than ever –for many years to come.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Historical grievances and old patterns of violence need not, and should not, determine the future of Darfur. Nor should they determine the future of all Sudan. The Sudanese people have suffered too much pain, too much bloodshed, and too much death. Now is the time to build something better – a Sudan that is unified, and peaceful, and democratic, where all of its citizens enjoy the blessings of freedom, and justice, and development. The choice is before the Government of Sudan – but it must act now.
This is an urgent matter of life and death, and the international community cannot – and will not – remain neutral. The nations of the world must speak clearly, with urgency, and with one voice. It is not our intention to impinge on Sudan's sovereignty. But we will stand firm in our conviction that sovereignty is rooted not merely in control, but in responsibility – in every government's responsibility to its citizens and to the international community. The nations of the world have made it clear what we expect to hear from the leaders of Sudan; they know what they need to do. And so do we.
Our responsibility is to the weakest and the most powerless members of mankind. It is our responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves. If the idea of an international community means anything, it is this. And we must do what is necessary to honor our pledge.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MS. PAOLO: Thank you, Madame Secretary, for that very powerful and comprehensive speech. The Secretary has agreed to take a few questions. I ask, if you would like to ask a question, that you state your name and your affiliation and that you ask a question, not give a statement, in the interest of time. Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you. Good morning, Madame Secretary. My name is Vivian Lowery Derryck. I am here at the Academy for Educational Development. We really appreciate your outreach to NGOs, particularly through the Africa Society, and we are AED are happy to be able to provide a venue for this occasion.
AED and the Africa Society and others have really been involved in many efforts among NGOs and civil society to address some of the real problems that we see in Africa, and your coming to us in this way really does underscore this great American tradition of discussion and dialogue between civil society and our government. So we really appreciate this.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.
QUESTION: My question is about the role of the Chinese in Darfur. We see that they are really rather supportive of the government and certainly not providing any efforts to make the government respond to UN sanctions or to the AU. And we're wondering what is the U.S. position, vis-Ã -vis, in trying to encourage the Chinese to be more responsible.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you very much. I had an opportunity during the recent UNGA to spend some time with my colleague, my counterpart the Chinese Foreign Minister to implore him to do a couple of things. The first is to use whatever leverage and contact they do have with the Sudan Government, which are actually substantial, to make clear the demands of the international community and to get Sudan to understand that what the international community is trying to do is to not somehow take the sovereignty of Sudan but rather to help the people of Sudan who are not being protected. And so I asked him to do that, and he said that he would.
Secondly, we have been able to get Security Council resolutions with at least no Chinese effort to block them. It would be awfully good to have a Chinese willingness to support them because I do think that we need to speak with one voice. Perhaps I can say to those of you who read music, not just with one voice but in one register so that it's very clear that there are not multiple subtle messages being communicated to Sudan. And I think we have gone quite far in improving that capability.
We also had a meeting of the P-5, the Permanent Five, with Kofi Annan, where I think we had a kind of wake-up briefing from the Jan Egeland who runs humanitarian affairs, from the peacekeeping people in UN, and so we will make this an issue on our bilateral agenda with China. And I hope that others will too, because China does have influence and needs to use it before we face a major disaster.
MS. PAOLO: Yes, Judge Terrell.
QUESTION: Good morning, Secretary.
SECRETARY RICE: Good morning.
QUESTION: I am concerned about the rule of law. I work with the African Judicial Network and with Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer on an African Judiciary Commission for Africa. And so how do you see the role of the rule of law and the African judiciary in view of the AU court that's in the process of trying to get established affecting some of these critical issues in the Continent?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, thank you. I think there may be no more important institutional reform that can take place in the countries of Africa, on the Continent of Africa than respect for rule of law. Very often, though, when we talk about respect for rule of law, we don't recognize that sometimes just the instruments, the tools, the knowledge, the expertise to actually have a system that functions under rule of law, a judicial system, a police system, they're just absent in some of these countries. And so the United States has actually had as a part of its assistance programs a focus on trying to help people to actually develop the institutions of rule of law: the training of judges, the training of prosecutors, getting away from corruption of the police. And I want to thank you for being part of this effort, because we now are trying to do something continent-wide that would bring resources. And by this I mean not just money but resources like yourself, people who have been involved in rule of law to be technical assistants, to help train -- I would hope that we would have more exchanges at the private level between the bar associations and those in Africa that we could get students here who could spend some time; that we could get professors lecturing in Africa.
You know, I'll tell you a funny story. My aunt -- my father's sister -- was actually a professor in Liberia in 1961. She was a professor at Southern University and she went to Liberia, the University of Liberia, to teach. We can do that across the board with all areas, but the rule of law and law would be an especially important place to do it.
We have, for instance, in our Millennium Challenge grants one of the criteria is that you have good governance, govern justly, respect rule of law and, of course, fight corruption, and all of those go together. I don't think you can have a foundation, a firm foundation, for democracy and prosperity unless you have a rule of law both to govern the expectations of your own people that they're going to be treated fairly, and to create a framework in which investment and people who wish to actually put investment into the country can work. And so thank you for your efforts on behalf of this program that we're developing. (Applause.)
MS. PAOLO: Yes. I have to call on one male or they'll think that I'm really being biased here.
QUESTION: Thank you, Bernadette and thanks to the Africa Society for hosting this and thank you, Secretary Rice, for being here and for your leadership and for the President's leadership. I'm David Rubinstein. I'm the coordinator of the Save Darfur Coalition. And as you may know, we are a group of 175 organizations representing, all told, some 130 million constituents of those organizations all trying to speak with one voice -- or as you say, at least in the same register -- to call on the United States and also other governments around the world to bring peace to Darfur.
We have four very simple -- I'll keep my comments very brief -- four very simple things we're calling for: an end to the violence; sufficient humanitarian access; and access for humanitarian groups for accountability for those who've committed these crimes and for creation of the conditions for the safe, dignified and voluntary return of people to their homes, things that obviously the government, our government, your Administration has been in favor of.
You have been -- the United States has been a leader in providing aid and in providing the political support to get peace in Darfur and the international community has not come as quickly behind us as we would hope. And my question is very simply, do you believe this Administration and the State Department is doing all it can to bring the rest of the international community into this important effort and to do two things: one, to put pressure on Sudan to accept the force from the UN and also to provide the consequences to provide perhaps a no-fly zone to provide sanctions on the government and individuals in Khartoum and perhaps even to get NATO prepared in Chad and other places to let Sudan understand that this cannot continue? Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, thank you for your work. And of course, we have exactly the same set of goals in trying to resolve the problem in Darfur. The United States Government has been very active. And another person that I really should have thanked is my former deputy Bob Zoellick who spent an enormous amount of time, in fact, went to work on the Darfur Peace Agreement. And so it's had very high priority and very high attention.
Obviously we haven't yet been able to mobilize the international community as much as we need to and we're going to just keep doubling and redoubling those efforts. I think that Andrew's appointment will perhaps help us to do that.
When I was at the UN this week, we held a meeting of the Security Council plus interested countries of members of the Security Council, plus interested countries in a session on Darfur that I hosted with the Danish Foreign Minister. It was a subject in our discussions at the NATO Ministerial. It was a subject in our discussions at the ministerial between NATO and the European Union. We're trying very hard to raise the profile, if you will, in international bodies so that people really get mobilized. There is more that we are willing to do in NATO to support the AMIS force and certainly to support a UN force with planning and logistics. I mean one of the problems that any force has in Darfur, given its great size, is mobility. It needs to be able to really move and to act on intelligence. And so that has been a focal point of how we might be able to do that.
We think that these are at present the appropriate means to be taking. Now, we do have, of course, a resolution that permits sanctions on responsible people if necessary. I would hope that the message that is going out to Sudan not just from us but from every country in the world is that this is now a real fork in the road. There is a chance. Everybody would like to have better relations with Sudan. Everybody would like to see it a force for stability in the region.
It would make such a huge difference to the entire region if Sudan were to act responsibly. That route is open. But we're not going to sit by and allow this kind of death and destruction to continue and will use whatever tools are necessary through the UN to be able to stop that. And so we are putting in a big international effort. I hope that continuing to raise the profile, continuing to insist that this is a subject at meetings, I hope that an alliance like yours will really mobilize European NGOs to do the same thing. We need the voices of civil society in Europe, too, to have their governments mobilized. And so I would hope that we can really raise the international profile and get people to act.
MS. PAOLO: And the final question goes to Mel Foote, President of the Constituency for Africa.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. I first want to applaud the Bush Administration for your really outstanding support of Africa generally, and I think you're doing a great job, and we certainly want to applaud that.
My question -- I've spent a lot of time in East Africa, including Sudan both north and south, and I have been working on the peace process. I've come to conclude, though, that the problems in Sudan are only limited -- it's not limited to Sudan. There's a lot of problems including Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the whole region.
My question is, it gets beyond conflict; it gets into environment; it's gets into development. People are dying from malaria. They're dying from AIDS. They're dying from all kinds of things in addition to Darfur. So my question is does the Administration contemplate any massive relief effort that can lead toward permanent solutions in the Horn of Africa and East Africa. I think if you just deal with Darfur, you're still going to have problems. So is there any link with terrorism and all the other things that you're dealing with in terms of a comprehensive strategy to address the problems in the region?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you very much. And in fact, we see this very much as you do, that there has to be a comprehensive policy for Africa, and I believe that we have an effective one. We are pressing forward on a number of fronts.
Let me say, first of all, that it has been the belief of this Administration that Africa is not a target and recipient of U.S. policy but a partner, that the countries of the continent, particularly some of the leading countries of the continent and indeed the African Union -- I think we've probably had closer relations with the African Union -- should form the core of a U.S.-African partnership to deal with Africa's problems, because as -- I'll just give you a very good example of where I think this worked brilliantly. I was just with the President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. I can tell you that in Liberia, where several years ago we had pictures on the front page of The New York Times of 14 year olds carrying Kalashnikovs, we now have hope.
Now how did we get there? We got there because the ECOWAS, working with the African Union and working with the United States, took on the civil war problem in Liberia, resolved the conflict, gave it a chance for peace, oversaw a transitional process on elections, and now I think has to really support Liberia in its move forward. I think you can see a similar process with -- has come about in the DROC. So I use that as a model of how I think we need to approach these things.
Now the particular region that you're referring to is particularly difficult. Somalia and large ungoverned territories for a long period of time, we have been trying, despite the difficulties there, to support a transitional government that might be able to – a transitional authority that might be able to help the country come together. We've worked with all parties who are dedicated to fighting terrorism. That's very important. You cannot, to our mind, work with the United States and allow terrorists in your midst. But anyone who is willing to fight terrorism, anybody who is willing to be devoted to a more peaceful Somalia and to a Somalia that is whole, we're prepared to work with and we are working with.
I think that you will find that our strategies in terms of politics and conflict resolution have been successful in several places, and we're working in many others. But you're right, it's not just conflict resolutions, it's also development. This Administration has tripled official development assistance to Africa. In the years that we have been in office, it has tripled. (Applause.)
The President has, as you know, a $15 billion program, the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, and a malaria initiative, and a girls education initiative. We have been going to a lot of meetings where people talk about helping Africa. We always say to them, we think we are helping Africa with what we are doing. This President it dedicated to the future of Africa. He's dedicated to partnership with Africa. He has met with probably more African leaders than most American presidents, and he loves doing it and he will continue doing it, and in his first term made a trip to Africa. He cares about the development of this continent not just because of the humanitarian toll that we see but because this is a continent that -- and I'll say when it reaches its potential -- is going to have enormous weight and benefit for the rest of the world. And so I think you would find that we've been very active on all those fronts.
Thank you very much.
MS. PAOLO: Madame Secretary, on behalf of the African Society Board of Directors and our staff, I would like to present you with something to remember us by. Thank you for coming, for everything.
(A token of appreciation was presented.)
MS. PAOLO: Thank you for coming.
Released on September 27, 2006