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Karen P. Hughes Interview on Radio TV Malaysia


Interview on Radio Television Malaysia


Karen P. Hughes, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Interview by Hanim Muhili
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
October 23, 2005

HANIM: [question not recorded]


UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: Obviously we do a large amount of trade already -Malaysia is America's tenth largest trading partner and America is Malaysia's biggest customer. So the trade that already exists means jobs for both of our citizens, jobs here in Malaysia and jobs in my home, in America.

HANIM: Can I ask you on something else?

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: Sure.

HANIM: Yesterday, President Bush has called on United Nations to quickly deal with that issue on Syria. On the murder of former PM Rafik Hariri? And they denied again on the reports. What's the White House stand at the moment on that?

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: As President Bush has said, we believe this is very serious, and the United Nations needs to address the issue of Syria's involvement as issued in this report, in that assassination.

HANIM: On bird flu now. How serious is it in the United States?

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: Well, it is something we take very seriously, because as you know, disease respects no borders, and it's something the United States wants to work with the world community to address. And we have convened a meeting of - I think more than 80 nations were represented at the State Department last week to discuss steps to deal with bird flu and to make sure that any time that it is suspected, that it is immediately investigated, immediately reported, and that appropriate steps are taken. Because it's very important, as I've said, that disease respects no boundaries. And it's something the world community must cooperate on to try to prevent this from becoming a pandemic.

HANIM: Any measures that have been taken so far?

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: Well a number of different measures. Reporting - the World Health Organization is working on reporting, and testing. And developing I know there's a look at developing the appropriate stockpiles of vaccine and appropriate counter-flu measures. And so a lot of that is going on. That is not really my purview; Secretary Mike Leavitt just made a tour of this region, talking about the steps that the United States and the world community are taking to deal with the issue of bird flu.

HANIM: Ambassador, just one more question. You'll be meeting our Deputy Prime Minister tomorrow. What are the main issues you'll be discussing tomorrow?

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: Well, I'm very much looking forward to meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and talking about American-Malaysian relations, which are very friendly and very important. As I said, Malaysia is a large trading partner, our 10th largest. America is Malaysia's biggest customer and so we have economic relations that mean jobs on both sides. We also have important security relations to work in the region. Malaysia is at a unique moment of opportunity because of your leadership of ASEAN and the Organization of Islamic Conference and the NAM group. And so Malaysia is at a unique leadership role, and I think it's very important that the US and Malaysia work closely together to cooperate on a lot of different measures from security to economic development to counterterrorism efforts.

HANIM: Will you be talking on the U.S. involvement in the security of the Straits of Malacca?

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: We will talk - I'm sure - we will talk about a wide range of issues, including security issues, yes.

HANIM: Thank you very much.

UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES: Thank you very much.

###

ENDS


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