Secretary's Remarks: Remarks En Route London
Secretary's Remarks: Remarks En Route London, England
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
En route London, England
November 30, 2008
SECRETARY RICE: Given the lateness of the hour, I’ll happily just take your questions. But obviously, I’m going to go first to London for consultations with the British. This was a previously planned trip on our way to the NATO ministerial, but obviously, given the events in India, and the relationship between Pakistan and India -- we and Britain have very close ties. We have maintained very close contact. We’ve cooperated very closely on issues concerning Pakistan, concerning India. And so I think this is fortuitous that I’m going to be in London for these discussions.
I’m then going on to the NATO ministerial. And as you now know, we will depart the NATO ministerial a little early and go to New Delhi. The President has asked me to do that to express our sympathies with and our solidarity with the Indian people, and to express our absolute determination to help in any way that we can to help end this terrorist threat and to bring those who perpetrated this horrible crime to justice, to – because I would just underscore that we share the grief and the anger of the Indian people, but of course, Americans were also killed in this attack and they were killed deliberately because they were Americans. And that makes this of special interest and concern to the United States.
QUESTION: Do you – when – one of the militants who was arrested after the bombing has said that he was trained in Pakistan and was part of one of the two main Pakistani Muslim militant groups. Do you believe the Pakistani Government when they say there was absolutely no Pakistani involvement at all?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, what we’re emphasizing to the Pakistani Government is the need to follow the evidence wherever it leads, and to do that in the most committed and firmest possible way. And I’ve spoken with President Zardari. I’ve spoken with Foreign Minister Mukherjee. Steve Hadley has spoken with his counterpart. And on all scores, the Pakistanis have emphasized their desire to get to the bottom of this and to help in any way that they can. And so I don’t want to jump to any conclusions myself on this, but I do think that this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and cooperation. And that’s what we expect.
QUESTION: In your discussions with the Pakistanis, have they assured you that they have played no role in this at all as far as they know? And you said that you were going to be, you know, working together with the Indians to prevent this kind of terrorism threat. How are you going to do that? Do you – are you going there with any specific ideas for the Indians?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we’ve already had very good cooperation with India, and we have a number of U.S. Government agencies that are helping support in any way that we can the investigation. Obviously, information is the long pole in the tent when one deals with terrorist situations. But of course, we have been concerned about this for some time. The embassy bombing in Kabul was reason for concern. And so we will help and cooperate in any way that we can.
In terms of Pakistan, again, the Pakistani Government has said that it will be cooperating, it wants to cooperate, and that it’s prepared to follow the leads wherever they go. And that’s what we expect.
QUESTION: Do you think the Pakistani Government should send their head of intelligence in India as it was at first scheduled, and then abandoned?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, this is a decision for the Pakistani Government. But I do think that it is extremely important that there be the highest levels of cooperation between Pakistan and India at this point, and that means all institutions. And I assume that there is going to be law enforcement cooperation as well as intelligence cooperation in getting to the bottom of this.
QUESTION: Are you concerned that this could escalate Pakistan-India tensions to the point of actual conflict?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I’d just note that the lines of communication are open between them; that when I speak with the Indians, they talk about the very good initial statements from the Pakistani Government. They have talked on the telephone. This is a different relationship than it was a number of years ago. Obviously, they share a common enemy, because extremists in any form are obviously a threat to the Pakistanis as well as to the Indians.
So this obviously is a difficult task for this new Pakistani Government. It’s still early in the civilian government’s existence. But in speaking with President Zardari and in speaking with the Foreign Minister, they know that this is a time to step up to the task that they’ve got.
QUESTION: Do you have any updates on the number of Americans killed, and do you have any more details on that? There were still people who were at risk.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. And the latest that I have is what’s being reported. The number is six, I think, that was most recently reported. There are still unfortunately a bit of a – well, it’s no longer really a rescue operation, but an operation to identify and – but as far as I know, six. And the word that we’re getting is, to the best of our knowledge, all known Americans are accounted for at this point.
QUESTION: And do you think that this marks sort of a new era in terrorism in some ways because Americans were singled out, as were other foreigners? Are you afraid that this might escalate and that somehow, this was different from other attacks?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, clearly, Americans were targeted. Brits were targeted; foreigners were, in a sense, targeted by the very targets that they chose. But this terrorism threat has been very deep and growing for a long time. We’ve made a lot of progress against these organizations. But yes, I do think that this is an element that bears watching, and that gives us every more reason to make sure that we get to the bottom of it, and as quickly as possible. I think we should sit down --
MR. MCCORMACK: Okay, guys.
SECRETARY RICE: Okay.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.