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Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

#6 - JRL 7062
February 14, 2003
Russia and the United States: dealing with challenges together
Author: Andrei Shchitov
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]


Question: Have you and the president ever wondered how come we are saddled with all this?

Condoleezza Rice: We have to deal with what we see around. We are lucky in that we have good partners helping us accomplish what is planned. Russia has proved itself a brilliant partner in the war on terrorism. Generally speaking, events are numerous, the world is frequently chaotic, but we have everything we need - the world has everything it needs, I mean - to overcome the difficulties. Determination alone is needed.

Question: Iraq. Will Friday be the decisive day?

Condoleezza Rice: It will be an important day. We will listen to inspectors again [Hans Blix will deliver a report to the UN Security Council - Gazeta]. We do not have any doubts that Iraq behaves the way it has behaved all these 12 years - defying the United Nations and deceiving inspectors... Tomorrow, we will hear out the inspectors on cooperation with the Iraqis. It should be a constructive cooperation. There are some stiff questions we want answers to. What happened to the anthrax stocks the UN has reasons to believe Iraq possessed? What happened to botulism toxins? To VX and stun gas stocks? Baghdad has not been giving answers, providing information, or helping. This is an important day, if I may repeat it, but this is a diplomatic phase currently, the period of consultations... What counts is that all of us, members of the UN Security Council and particularly permanent members, should see to it that resolutions are honored. We cannot permit the Iraqis to go on defying Resolution 1441, and they have been defying it every day ever since its adoption. The UN Security Council should say "Enough!" and insist on implementation of the resolution.

Question: Does it mean that you are prepared to veto the idea of additional inspections?

Condoleezza Rice: I do hope that it will not come to that. The problem is not in additional inspections or inspectors. We would not have needed new inspectors had Iraq cooperated. We have 108 inspectors in Iraq there, and they are not detectives out to seek out something. The Iraqi should pronounce their disarmament, show that they are disarming, and inspectors are supposed to control the process.

Question: When the day comes, are you going to make a public statement? Or will it be just a quiet word to allies, including Russia?

Condoleezza Rice: We will see what the president says. For the time being, we continue consultations over how the UN Security Council should perform its duties. Needless to say, we intend to go on with consultations with our friends and allies in the future too.

Question: Could the Iraq situation damage Russian-American relations? Where is our relationship going?

Condoleezza Rice: We should prevent any damage to bilateral relations because of the Iraq situation. We should be in agreement on Iraq for that. Both countries should understand that this is an important integral part of the war on terrorism and of the problem of dealing with weapons of mass destruction. After all, we are talking about the regime offering shelter to terrorists including terrorist Zarkawi whose deadly network goes on murdering Americans and Russians. We know for a fact that Zarkawi launched operations against the Russians in Chechnya and in the Pankisi Gorge. It follows that we should fight challenges of this sort together. In other words, dealing with this challenge together will only facilitate our relations.

Question: Your words confirm that the United States recognizes the problem of terrorism which Russia faces in Chechnya. Will this recognition be formalized? What do you think of Aslan Maskhadov nowadays?

Condoleezza Rice: We are adding terrorist groups to the list in accordance with the law. You know our firm conviction that a political settlement of the crisis in Chechnya is the only possible solution. Political processes should make it clear who should participate in the peace settlement. We were happy to see Russia seeking legitimate Chechen partners for cooperation. Military means will never amount to anything. Still, facilitation of a political solution is all we can achieve, and all we can hope for.

Question: How do you perceive Russia - as part of old Europe or new Europe?

Condoleezza Rice: First and foremost, it is a part of Europe.

I'm convinced that the American-Russian relationship is a 21st century relationship. These are relations based on awareness of real threats to the world and stability, based on seeing terrorism as the worst threat to all of us.

Russia and the United States have actively discussed our cooperation with Iran and the ways of preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons through it. We discuss Iraq with Russia as a member of the UN Security Council. As far as the UN Security Council is concerned, we should make sure that any country defying its resolutions should not be allowed to get away with doing so.

I'd like to say that as far as North Korea is concerned (this country also concerns us), we need better and more active cooperation with its neighbors, Asian countries. Russia is not just a European country, it is Asian as well. We do not think that the United States should be left to deal with the problem of North Korea all alone. The prospect of North Korea developing as a nuclear state is a serious problem for Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, and the whole world. We were disappointed to see Russia abstain when the IAEA was voting to send the North Korea problem to the UN Security Council. It is of paramount importance nowadays for Russia to take a more active part. North Korea is wrong. All of us should be ready to say so out loud.

Question: Does Washington want a different regime in Pyongyang?

Condoleezza Rice: As far as North Korea is concerned, we want it to stop posing a threat to the world and stability and start honoring its obligations under the nonproliferation treaty and the accord on the nuclear-free status of the Korean Peninsula. There are many accords which Pyongyang has defied. We would like to do something about North Korea's exports of nuclear technologies. It is now the world's leading exporter of nuclear technologies.

We care about the North Koreans and think that we should handle the problem together. We should not pretend that it doesn't exist.

Question: A few words about NATO. How serious is the damage done to your relations with France and Germany? Do you think it may result in rearrangement of the Alliance?

Condoleezza Rice: It was a bitter day for NATO when one member, Turkey, asked it to consider what it needed for defense in a conflict and three other members turned down the request. NATO is a collective defense organization of democratic nations. So I do not understand how these countries could say "no". I hope they will change their minds and open the way for defense planning for Turkey. But this is a strong alliance. It became even stronger because of NATO eastward expansion and improving relations with Russia. The Alliance still has to do a great deal to meet the threats and challenges of the 21st century, but it is strong. I think we will get it back on the right track again.

Question: Why do you consider it necessary to define the national greatness of America through military might, as you have done in the national security strategy? You advised Russia to do something quite different.

Condoleezza Rice: We do not define American national greatness through military might. Military might is just an element of greatness. America's strength is in its society. This is a great multiethnic democracy where citizens mostly live with the principles of tolerance, where all religious faiths are recognized, and where even minorities are treated fairly. Had it been necessary to emphasized a single factor defining America's greatness, I'd have said that it is the opportunity for the people to grow and advance. This is what America's greatness is about. Military might is just an element.

Question: If something goes wrong in Iraq and something terrible happens, will you and the White House accept responsibility?

Condoleezza Rice: We all are responsible for what has been happening in Iraq. We are responsible for having allowed Saddam Hussein to promote his arms programs for the past 12 years. We and the UN Security Council are responsible for the situation where the people of Iraq have lived under sanctions - just because we failed to do anything about Saddam Hussein.

Question: Are you discussing his hypothetical exile with any post-Soviet countries?

Condoleezza Rice: We are not discussing it with anyone. However, I'd say everyone would have welcomed his decision to leave Iraq.

Question: Back to Russia, if you don't mind. Are you sure that the Moscow treaty will be ratified soon and the Jackson-Vanik amendment will be repealed?

Condoleezza Rice: I have no doubts that the Moscow treaty will be ratified. I only hope that it will happen soon.

As for the Jackson-Vanik amendment, we are working on the matter. We all know that our president wants it repealed. We should see to it that no obstacles arise to impede the process of repealing it. The disputes over poultry last summer complicated the situation enormously. I hope that our persistent efforts will soon yield results.

Question: Now, an unpleasant topic. Recently, you were quoted as saying that the Soviet Union should have been dealt with the way Iraq is about to be dealt with now...

Condoleezza Rice: I said nothing of the sort! If I'm not mistaken, I was asked about Soviet nuclear weapons - and I replied that we should have made a response when the Soviet Union first produced a nuclear bomb, in the Stalin era. It doesn't mean that we should have invaded the Soviet Union. That would have been a crazy idea. I know my history. Believe me, I have never said anything to that effect.

Question: Everyone knows in Russia that you specialized in our country. How is your Russian?

Condoleezza Rice (in Russian): I speak Russian less and less frequently... I read a lot. Sometimes, I speak Russian with whoever speaks the language here. And of course, I speak Russian whenever I go to Russia..

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