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Condoleezza Rice Interview Metro TV's Hari Ini

Interview With Fifi Aleyda Yahya of Metro TV's Hari Ini (Metro Today)

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
November 8, 2006

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, how will the change of leadership in the U.S. Congress affect President Bush's foreign policy particularly in security and defense issues?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the first thing to say is that the United States has just gone through another democratic election and these changes take place. They very often take place in the second half of a President's last term. They did with Ronald Reagan in 1986. And what the President has said is that this gives an opportunity now for a new spirit of bipartisanship for Americans, Democrat and Republican, to work together to solve some of the more difficult problems that we have in the country, but also to work together on common solutions in foreign policy.

I talked today with a number of the Democratic leaders and pledged to them my support and my willingness to work, and they've done the same. And so I think you will find that America will come out of this election, as Americans always do, dedicated to victory in Iraq and a more stable and stronger Middle East and also to dedication to our many important relationships around the world including those in Asia.

QUESTION: What does the United States think about Indonesia doing it right about war on terror?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, Indonesia is a really very good story in many ways. First of all, we have an excellent relationship with President Yudhoyono and his team. We have watched Indonesian democracy in action and that Indonesian democracy is also a very good partner in the war on terror. It is no secret that there are groups that are operating in Indonesia. It's a difficult place to fight the war on terror because it's an archipelago with so many islands. But we have very good cooperation with Indonesia in the war on terror, good cooperation in terms of training, in terms of intelligence sharing, and a very fine partner. And so we are very pleased with our relationship on the war on terror.

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QUESTION: What does the United States think Indonesia can do a better job on?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we can all do a better job, not just Indonesia but the United States as well. We are fighting this war on terror and really I think we didn't get mobilized as an international community until a few years ago. And so we're just learning how to fight back against these terrorists and their ideology of hatred. I would note that Indonesia is doing a good job, of course, of hunting down terrorists and bringing them to justice including terrorists who have really committed some great atrocities against innocent people.

But Indonesia is also important in the war on terror for another reason, which is that it is an example of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state, a Muslim population that is among the largest in the world and, yet, where people live in peace and harmony and in democracy. And that is an equally important part of the war on terror, that people are able to fight the ideology of hatred with an ideology of hope.

QUESTION: Related to the President Bush upcoming visit to Indonesia, what will be in his agenda when he meets with President Yudhoyono?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the President will obviously talk about our cooperation in the war on terror, but we have a much broader relationship than just the war on terror. We have increasingly strong military-to-military ties. We have an increasingly strong economic relationship. Indonesia is a threshold country for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, meaning that we are recognizing Indonesia's ability to govern wisely and to, therefore, receive special assistance from the United States. And I know that when the President was in Indonesia the last time, he very much enjoyed his multi-religious and multi-ethnic conversations with religious leaders that demonstrate why Indonesia is such an important example of how people who are different can get together in peace, not in violence.

QUESTION: What do you mean by special assistance for Indonesia?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the Millennium Challenge Corporation is money that goes to countries that are -- meet certain criteria in terms of governing justly and fighting corruption. Indonesia is a country that is making progress in those directions, and so we will work with the Indonesians to make them eligible for this Millennium Challenge program, which we think is a very good way to deliver assistance

QUESTION: How concerned is President Bush about his image in front of the Islamic countries?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the President recognizes that we've had to do some very difficult things. The United States has made difficult decisions, not all of them popular. But the United States has enormous respect for Muslims and for Islam. It's a respect that would never equate Islam and the Islamic faith with the kind of terrorists that we see. Those terrorists are trying to subvert Islam. It's the kind of respect that comes from the fact that the United States has itself a large Islamic population, very well much a part of the United States, very much American. And so we share Muslim values because they're a part of our own values.

And finally, the President will talk about his respect for Islam, this great faith of peace and our desire to work together so that all religions can live in peace.

QUESTION: And what are steps to be taken or planned to be done by President Bush's government to improve that image in the Islamic world?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, going to a place like Indonesia I think helps because the President has an opportunity to meet with leaders. He has an opportunity to show our working relationship with important countries that have large Muslim populations like Indonesia. Also I think the President hopes to get across his message that we are very dedicated to a different kind of Middle East. The President is, for instance, the first American President to believe that there should be a Palestinian state. And so we have a lot to show that the United States cares about people of all faiths and is determined to overcome some misconceptions about American policy and about American views.

QUESTION: What gives you the hope that the U.S. relations with the Islamic world is going to get better?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I'm hopeful because when I'm out in the Middle East or when I was in Indonesia I see that we want the same things. We have, indeed, the same values. We care about democracy. We care about the right to worship as we please. We care about the right to educate boys and girls. I went to a wonderful Islamic school when I was in Indonesia the last time where boys and girls were together in this Islamic school working on their science projects and learning science. Every mother and father wants that for his or her child.

We also are people of faith, Americans are, and people who care about families. So we want so many of the same things that I just know that are our relations are going to reflect that.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. 2006/1030

Released on November 13, 2006


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