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Condoleezza Rice Remarks to Travel Pool In Hanoi

Remarks to the Travel Pool

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Hanoi, Vietnam
November 17, 2006

SECRETARY RICE: I just wanted to mention three things that have happened overnight. One is we're delighted obviously at the passage of the Indian civ-nuke (civil nuclear) legislation and I want to thank the members of Congress, in particular in the Senate Senators Lugar and Biden, for their hard work on it. This really does open up an extraordinary new era both in U.S.-Indian relations but also I think for the many interests that will be served from an economic point of view, from an energy point of view and from a nonproliferation point of view. Because as Mohamed ElBaradei I think has noted, having India now associated with the international proliferation regime through the access that the IAEA will now get, I think is just a very important breakthrough. And so in a relationship that has changed dramatically over the years of this presidency, this is clearly a landmark building on the agreement that President Bush and Prime Minister Singh made when he was -- when the President was in India. So that was one issue that I wanted to raise.

Secondly, I want to note that Kofi Annan -- and I talked to him last night -- has been working very hard in Addis on a proposal for a -- under Resolution 1706 for a mixed strategy on the peacekeeping force that would use both UN and AU structures to get a robust force into Sudan. And I think they've put together a good proposal. Andrew Natsios has been participating in those meetings and it's my hope now that the Sudanese Government will accept this proposal because the situation in Sudan is not improving and in fact it has the danger of getting much worse, and so it's good that there's a fresh proposal that can go forward.

And finally, I just want to note the passing of Milton Friedman, a great Nobel Laureate in Economics who was a personal friend of mine, a very close personal friend, at the Hoover Institution in Stanford. He was irrepressible. He was one of the smartest human beings I've ever known, but he was funny and warm and a great support to me both when I was Provost at Stanford, where he would constantly tell me, yeah, you just keep going on all those reforms and he was just terrific, to the many times I've talked to him since I've been in government. He was one of a kind and he was married to a remarkable woman, Rose, and she was his full partner. And I know that it must be very difficult for her because they were inseparable. Nobody ever talked about Milton without talking about Rose, and vice versa. So I've lost a great friend and the country has lost a one-of-a-kind leader and intellect.

QUESTION: On the Sudan force proposal, what happens next as far as getting the Sudanese Government to agree with this?

SECRETARY RICE: I think now that there is a proposal that has the backing really of all interested parties, it will, it's my understanding, soon to be introduced to the Sudanese Government. But Kofi Annan has put this together and I don't want to try to prejudge how he's going to decide to move it forward. I just wanted to acknowledge the hard work that was done and that it really is a new opportunity.

QUESTION: Is there a U.S. role though in essentially selling it to the Sudanese?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, of course. Andrew Natsios is there and has been in Sudan and I'm sure we'll do everything we can to support the proposal.

QUESTION: Do you think he'll go back --

SECRETARY RICE: Who? Andrew? At some point, yeah. I don't know. We'll have to see what the right diplomatic choreography will be.

QUESTION: Would it be fair to characterize this as a last chance for Bashir?

SECRETARY RICE: I don't think it's ever fair to talk in those terms, but I do think it's certainly a real opportunity to resolve what is an extremely difficult problem and to get back on a road where innocent people can be protected and where the Sudanese Government has a chance to make right with the international system.

2006/T25-3

Released on November 17, 2006

ENDS


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