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14 May 2003

Rice Says Recent Attacks Show Need for Global Anti-Terror Effort

(NSC advisor briefs foreign journalists) (5680)

Recent terrorist actions have reminded the world once again that a
united global effort will be needed for some time to come in the
ongoing war against terrorism, says Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's
national security advisor.


Speaking with reporters at the State Department's Foreign Press Center
in Washington May 14, Rice said the recent bombings of western targets
in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -- as well as terrorist actions in Chechnya
earlier this week -- clearly show that "there is hard work ahead" to
curb terrorism in which all nations "must participate to the fullest."

The national security advisor said cooperation with Saudi Arabia has
been "very good" on such matters as stopping the financing of
terrorism, and "we expect to have even more intensive discussions" in
the wake of the recent attacks.

Responding to questions on North Korea, Rice said that "no one should
be willing to give in to the kind of blackmail that the North Koreans
have been practicing on the world for a number of years."

She reiterated that this is a problem between North Korea and the
world, "and that's why we've insisted on multilateral talks" that
include North Korea's neighbors and the most affected states. The
United States was "specially appreciative" of China's participation in
the Beijing talks, she said. However, "we believe that those talks
will only be really effective and fruitful" when South Korea, Japan,
possibly Russia, and others who are interested are involved in them.

In response to another question, she said there is "broadscale
agreement" that a non-nuclear Korean peninsula is in the best interest
of stability in Asia, and the United States believes "that a peaceful
resolution is possible and, of course, preferable."

Rice told a questioner that Iran continues to exhibit behavior that is
"antithetical to American interests," citing its weapons of mass
destruction program and the fact that it is "one of the chief sponsors
of terrorism." She noted that Hezbollah operates out of Iran, and "we
are concerned about al Qaeda operating in Iran."

In addition, she said the recent visit to Iran by representatives of
the International Atomic Energy Agency raised questions about Iran's
actions "under so-called civil nuclear uses measures" and the IAEA
"must be very tough in making sure that those questions are answered."

Asked about Syria, Rice said its policies and behavior "have been
problematic," pointing to its support for terrorism and Syria's
failure to account for its weapons of mass destruction programs,
renounce them, and "make it possible to verify that they've given up
any aspirations" to WMD.

"There is a path that could create conditions ... [for] a much better"
U.S.-Syrian relationship, she said, but this would require "some major
changes in Syrian behavior."

Rice also discussed U.S.-Indian relations, Mexico, the upcoming U.N.
Security Council vote on lifting Iraq sanctions, U.S.-Turkish
relations, Colombia, NATO, the Balkans, and the Middle East peace
process.

(begin transcript)

FOREIGN PRESS CENTER BRIEFING
WITH NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR DR. CONDOLEEZZA RICE
THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER
WASHINGTON, D.C. 
MAY 14, 2003

MR. DENIG: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the
Washington Foreign Press Center. Welcome also to journalists gathered
in our New York Foreign Press Center. It is a distinct honor and
privilege to be able to introduce to you this afternoon for a briefing
someone who needs no introduction, President Bush's National Security
Advisor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. She'll have an opening statement to
make, and after that she'll be glad to take your questions.

Dr. Rice.

DR. RICE: Thank you very much. I am very happy to be here. It's my
first visit to the Foreign Press Center, but I assume it won't be my
last, if I'm invited back. And I just want to talk for a few minutes
about the fact that we look forward, tonight, to welcoming President
Roh of South Korea. He will meet with President Bush late this
afternoon, and then they will have a private dinner together in the
White House residence.

President Bush is looking forward to his first face-to-face meeting
with the new South Korean President. It's a very timely meeting,
coming in the year of the 50th anniversary of the alliance between our
two nations. It is a strong, vital, multifaceted alliance that is of
mutual benefit.

President Bush will take this opportunity to thank President Roh for
his support during the liberation of Iraq. The two leaders will also
discuss issues of mutual interest, including the situation with North
Korea and multilateral issues like the war on terrorism and issues of
the world economy.

The President will look forward to this meeting. He has a number of
other meetings coming up. This is a time of intensive diplomacy for
the President and for the United States. But with those opening
remarks about the meeting today, I am happy to take your questions.

MR. DENIG: Very good.  Let's start right over here.

QUESTION: Giampiero Gramaglia, Italian News Agency ANSA.

Dr. Rice, are you satisfied with the level of cooperation you received
in the past and you are receiving now from Saudi Arabia in the fight
against terrorism?

DR. RICE: We have, indeed, very good cooperation with Saudi Arabia in
the war on terrorism, very good cooperation in a number of aspects of
it. We have been intensifying our cooperation, for instance, on
stopping the financing of terrorism. And we expect to have even more
intensive discussions and relations with Saudi Arabia. It was just a
reminder the other day that the war on terrorism goes on, that our
work is not done, that there is hard work ahead.

I might mention that we had also this week bombings in Chechnya, which
remind us that the war on terrorism is not done. This is a worldwide
and global effort, and everybody must participate and participate to
the fullest. But we have had good cooperation with the Saudi
Government, and I am sure that in the wake of this terrible incident
in Riyadh, that we will seek to intensify our cooperation. We can
always do better. All of us can always do better, and we look forward
to working with the Saudi Government.

QUESTION: T.V. Parasuram, Press Trust India. Recently, you met Mr.
Mishra, so did the President, and also the Foreign Minister India is
meeting Secretary of State. I was wondering, recently Mr. Mishra made
a suggestion that India, United States and Israel should join together
in the war against terrorism. I was wondering whether you view that as
a feasible thing, and how you generally view the war on terrorism.

There has been a feeling in India that the United States does not take
the war on terrorism against India as seriously as it takes the war
against terrorism against Americans. Is that a legitimate thing to
say, or how do you react to it?

DR. RICE: Thank you for the question. The President is very firm in
his commitment that terrorism, wherever it is carried out, against
whom it is carried out, is not a legitimate means for advancing a
political agenda. All terrorism is wrong. And, in fact, we have had
very good cooperation with the Indian Government in the war on
terrorism.

At the time of the attack on the Indian Parliament, more than a year
ago now, the United States spoke out very strongly about that
terrorism. The United States also has listed a number of organizations
that have been involved in terrorism against India, including
Kashmiri-based organizations that have been involved in terrorism. And
we will continue to speak out about terrorism wherever it might occur.

Let me just use the opportunity though to say that our relationship
with India is a broad and deepening relationship. It goes beyond
security matters. It goes beyond proliferation issues. It goes beyond
regional issues. And this President has been dedicated to
strengthening and broadening the Indian relationship to make it in
accordance with the fact with that India is the world's largest
democracy, that it is a country that has a potentially very important
role to play as a stabilizing force in the region.

We have had good cooperation and consultations on Afghanistan, for
instance, and we intend to continue to have this very good
relationship. The recent steps by Prime Minister Vajpayee and the
reciprocal steps by Pakistan are to be welcomed for what they may mean
for a diminution of tensions, and hopefully a road to peace for the
two parties, and we have had discussions about that and we stand ready
to help in any way that we can as the two parties try to reenter
dialogue.

QUESTION: Thank you. Dolia Esterez with El Financiero from Mexico
City.

Good afternoon, Dr. Rice. I have a quick question for you. After your
meetings last week with the Foreign Minister of Mexico, are you now
counting with Mexico's vote for in the Security Council for the new
resolution on Iraq? And can you confirm the reports that President
Bush will be traveling to Mexico in November, meeting with folks and
also to attend the Special Summit of the Americas? And what -- how
would you describe at this point the status of the bilateral relation
with Mexico?

DR. RICE: One question. Right. (Laughter.) It's one, yeah, though -- I
agree. I understand. I understand.

First of all, on a trip to Mexico, we've not yet finalized the
Presidential schedule for the fall. We are in discussions with
countries about what might be done to give a little push to the Summit
of the Americas agenda in the interim, but nothing has been planned
yet.

As to U.S.-Mexican relations, Mexico is a friend. The President and
President Fox have had a good relationship and continue to have a good
relationship. It is important to recognize that we have been through a
difficult period. Obviously, the UN process did not work out in a way
that we would have hoped, given the importance of this issue as a
security matter for the United States. It was unfortunate that we were
not able to get an 18th resolution against Saddam Hussein. We believe
that there was more than enough authority in Resolution 1441 and the
previous resolutions, but it would have been good had the Security
Council been able to affirm once again its willingness to defend its
resolutions.

But that is now behind us and we are now in a UN process, UN Security
Council process, that really has to be aimed at helping the Iraqi
people. That is all that we should be worried about at this point in
time. The coalition is on the ground. The coalition has certain
responsibilities as well as certain authorities to help the Iraqi
people get back on their feet and move toward their future, and we
expect all UN Security Council members, including Mexico, to react
positively to the need to lift sanctions. It cannot possibly be said
that it was all right to lift sanctions against Saddam Hussein, but
now that he is gone it is not a good thing to lift sanctions. This
simply makes no sense.

And so we have put forward a resolution for the lifting of sanctions.
We put forward a resolution that is pretty minimalist in terms of what
we need to be able to do to help the Iraqi people to establish a
democratic path, and so we expect cooperation from all Security
Council members, including from Mexico.

QUESTION: Amal Chmouny, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper. How genuine is
the statement by the American administration for Syria to withdraw its
troop from Lebanon? And where do you put the relation between USA and
Syria?

DR. RICE: Well, the relationship between the United States and Syria
has been problematic because the policies and behavior of Syria have
been problematic: the Syrian support for terrorism, particularly for
Hezbollah, but also other rejectionist organizations where it comes to
peace in the Middle East; the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, which has
long been U.S. policy that it should end.

And the Syrian relationship has been very difficult. Now, it doesn't
have to remain difficult. There is a path that could create conditions
in which this could be a much better relationship, but we are not
there.

We were very concerned about Syrian activities closing in on the end
of the Iraq conflict. It was obvious that people were escaping into
Syria. It was obvious that they were not being stopped. There was some
improvement in that after we raised the issue, but there is a lot of
work to be done. Syrian weapons of mass destruction programs have to
be accounted for, and Syria should stand up and renounce those and
make it possible to verify that they have given up any aspirations to
weapons of mass destruction.

But it is, frankly, a very difficult relationship and it is not one
that is likely to improve without some major changes in Syrian
behavior.

QUESTION: This is Umit Enginshoy with Turkey's NTV Television.

Dr. Rice, we are aware of the difficulties between Turkey and the
United States with regard to the Iraq war. From this point on, what
could you -- what measures -- what specific measures would you advise
the Turkish government to take to re-improve relations with the United
States?

Thank you.

DR. RICE: Well, I am not in the habit of advising the Turkish
government, but I can tell you that we are certainly aware of our
joint strategic interests with Turkey. This is a longtime ally. It is
an alliance that is based on friendship and interest, and I expect
that it will be well into the future.

We have a lot of work to do. Turkey has a very strong interest in the
establishment of a stable and unified Iraq. The United States has a
strong interest in the establishment of a stable and unified Iraq.

This is an area in which we can work together. We actually have worked
together pretty effectively at the end of the conflict, and I expect
that we will in the future. Turkey, I would hope, would be involved in
the reconstruction effort in Iraq, lending support to that, because a
stable Iraq will be a good neighbor for Turkey, and I am sure that
that is what Turkey wants.

We obviously are NATO partners. And the evolution that is going on in
NATO, which is really quite dramatic, as we bring in more new states,
as NATO has to redefine its mission in terms of the threats of the
21st century, which are terrorism, weapons of mass destruction,
potentially the nexus between them, Turkey is an important member of
NATO and ought to be very involved in carrying out that agenda.

We obviously have interest in dealing with the Cyprus problem. We had
made some progress on Cyprus. The UN General Secretary has made heroic
efforts to try and resolve that, and we would hope that Turkey would
put its weight behind a settlement of the Cyprus issue.

So we have many, many goals ahead of us together. Turkey is important
as a message to the world that democracy and Islam can exist side by
side, that they can exist in a way that is organic and is to the good
of its people. And so we will be working with Turkey.

Yes, we went through some difficult periods of time, but this is a
strong relationship. It's going to remain a strong relationship and we
look forward to continuing to work with it. As a matter of fact, the
President talked with President Sezer the other day to express his
condolences on the earthquake. And I believe that Prime Minister
Erdogan and the President are speaking today about the matter of the
bombing in Riyadh. So contacts continue.

QUESTION: Patrick Jarreau of Le Monde.

Dr. Rice, what is the purpose of the discussions in Geneva between the
U.S. and Iran? What is the scope of those discussions? Is it Iraq? Is
it proliferation, terrorism? And is Iraq still a member of the "axis
of evil"?

DR. RICE: Iraq or Iran?

QUESTION: Iran.

DR. RICE: Yes, right. Iraq, I think, is quickly not going to be a
member of the "axis of evil" any longer.

Iran continues to engage in behavior that is deeply troubling and
antithetical to American interests: Iran's weapons of mass destruction
program, its nuclear program. The United States has raised alarms
about this nuclear program over a long period of time. And now with
the IAEA visit to Iran, which seemed to raise a lot of questions about
what the Iranians were doing under so-called civil nuclear uses
measures, really those concerns have got to be addressed.

The IAEA needs to be very tough in making sure that those questions
are answered, because we believe that this is a disguise for a nuclear
weapons program. We have lots of evidence of that. And now the
suspicions that are there as a result of the IAEA visit, I think,
really give to the world new impetus to want to know fully what is
going on in Iran, and Iran should be responsive to that.

It is also the case that Iran is one of the chief sponsors of
terrorism -- Hezbollah operating out of Iran. And Iran cannot continue
to support rejectionist organizations as we try to pursue peace in the
Middle East.

Clearly, the Iranian Government also, which was elected by the Iranian
people in overwhelming numbers to fulfill their aspirations for
liberalism and democracy and for rights, has done nothing but
frustrate those aspirations of their people, and we stand firmly with
the Iranian people in their aspirations for freedom.

Finally, we are concerned about al-Qaida operating in Iran, and we
have made that clear from time to time to the Iranians. And we expect
Iran to behave toward the new Iraqi government as a good neighbor in a
transparent way. We understand Iran is a neighbor of Iraq, just like
Iran is a neighbor of Afghanistan. And of course it's going to have
relations with those countries, but they need to be transparent,
state-to-state relations, not relations that are aimed surreptitiously
at importing the Iranian form of government into Iraq.

So we have a wide range of issues that are very difficult with Iran.
We are not, in the discussions in Geneva, in discussions about broad
relations between the United States and Iraq -- Iran. These are only
discussions about very specific matters having to do with Afghanistan
and we expanded those at a point in time to do very specific
discussions having to do with matters in Iraq.

We are in the same neighborhood, so to speak, at this point in time,
and so it's important not to have any misunderstandings. But nobody
should construe the discussions that are going on in Geneva as
discussions that are meant to lead somehow to broad improvement or
normalization of relations with Iran. That is not their purpose. These
are very, very narrow in scope.

QUESTION: My question is -- excuse me.  She said yes.

DR. RICE: Well, I don't know who you were pointing to. He's got the
pen.

QUESTION: Yes. Dr. Rice, thank you. My name is Daniel Rocha from
WorldNet. I have a question on Colombia. How is the U.S. Government
cooperating with the Colombian government to rescue the three American
was kidnapped by the FARC?

And after the meeting with the President Uribe, is any new plan to
help the Colombian government to resolve that problem of the
narco-guerrilla?

DR. RICE: Well, we are very impressed with the administration of
President Uribe. There have been a couple of meetings. We've had
wide-ranging meetings with ministers there, minister of defense,
minister of foreign affairs, of course. The President is just
immensely impressed with the courage and the resolve of President
Uribe to take his country back, on behalf of the Colombian people,
from the narco-terrorists who operate there. And we are doing
everything that we can to support that effort through more effective
sharing of intelligence, through more effective coordination.

The problem in Colombia is a problem of terrorism against a democratic
state, and that means that a state like the United States that is
devoted to the war on terrorism has got to be an active partner with a
country that is trying to fight off that attack on democracy by
terrorism.

As to the hostages, we are hopeful that we will be able to do
something about that, but we stay in very close contact with the
Colombian government about how to handle that situation. The one thing
that we expect no one to do is to somehow negotiate with terrorists.
It only emboldens them.

QUESTION: My name is Ogata with Kyodo News.

Dr. Rice, one quick question about North Korea. Did the United States
Government already decide to continue the three-way talks with the
North Korea? And if not, what kind of economic sanction are you
preparing on the table right now?

DR. RICE: Our policy toward North Korea can really be summed up as
follows. No one should be willing to give in to the kind of blackmail
that the North Koreans have been practicing on the world for a number
of years now, especially not the United States.

And in order not to give in to blackmail, in order to do something
that is, this time, effective, the President believes that we have to
have a multilateral approach to this. This cannot just be the United
States. The North Koreans would like nothing better than for this be a
problem between the United States and North Korea. This is not a
problem between the United States and North Korea. This is a problem
between North Korea and the world, because North Korea has completely
shunted aside its international obligations not to do certain things.
Announcing from time to time that it's getting out of this agreement,
or that agreement is null and void, this kind of behavior simply
cannot be tolerated.

So this is an issue between North Korea and the world, and that's why
we have insisted on multilateral talks, multilateral talks that
include the neighbors and the most affected states.

So the Beijing talks, we believe, were useful. We were especially
appreciative of China's role. China, after all, has very big interests
in a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula. China has said that the
nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would not be in China's
interest. And so we were able to make common cause with China to
create a place at which we could begin this discussion.

Now, we believe that those talks will only be really effective and
fruitful when South Korea, Japan and possibly Russia are involved in
them -- and others who are interested.

If there are to be further talks, though, the attitude ought to be
more constructive. The North Koreans used the trilateral talks to
posture and to threaten and to try and blackmail. That is not the
spirit in which we would expect to conduct any further talks. But we
are not fearful of talks, and if we believe that they are useful at
some point in time, we would be more than willing to reenter them.

QUESTION: Kiyan Gud with Segye Times. President Roh Moo-hyun of South
Korea strongly objects to the idea of a preemption targeting North
Korea, but I hear you keep saying that all options are on the table.
So how can you reconcile the different perspectives on the North
Korean issue?

DR. RICE: Well, the United States and South Korea agree that a
non-nuclear Korean Peninsula is in the best interest of stability in
Asia. And they're not the only ones that agree. Japan agrees. Russia
agrees. China agrees. There is broad-scale agreement on this matter.

We believe and have communicated to all of our partners that there is
a peaceful resolution of this that is possible if we are all strong in
insisting that North Korea live up to its obligations. So we, too,
believe that a peaceful resolution is possible and, of course,
preferable.

The President never takes his options off the table in any
circumstance. And we have always said, on just going to the broader
matter of preemption, that preemption says only that you will not
allow a threat necessarily to hit you before you hit it. It has never
been the first option for the United States. This is after other
things have been tried. We do believe that this can be resolved
peacefully, but that is going to require everybody to be firm and to
be strong, and not to allow the North Koreans to blackmail us.

It is going to require that the North Koreans understand that their
only way into the international system is by peaceful means. It's
really rather sad because last summer North Korea was doing rather
well. It had the Japanese Prime Minister there, who was talking about
a path to normalization. You had intensification of the North-South
dialogue, the opening of rail lines, and the like. You had the
President of Russia there. You had the Foreign Minister of North Korea
meet Secretary Powell in Brunei.

North Korea was really doing very well in trying to enter the
international system. And then, all of a sudden, because they were
confronted with the fact that they were violating the Agreed
Framework, the North Koreans decided they were going to go back to
blackmailing people into letting them engage in peaceful relations.
It's not the way to behave, and the North Koreans have got to be told
that in no uncertain circumstances.

MR. DENIG: Lady back here please.

QUESTION: Hilary Mackenzie, Canada News Service.

Dr. Rice, could you comment on a report that the person, the commander
behind the attacks on Riyadh may have been Abdul-Rahman Jabarah, a
Canadian citizen of Kuwaiti origin, whose younger brother, Mohamed
Mansour Jabarah, was arrested in Amman last year, returned to Canada,
and is currently being interrogated in the U.S.?

DR. RICE: I'm sorry. I can't comment on those specific reports.
Obviously, this is an unfolding story. We are going to do everything
that we can, in cooperation with the Saudi Government, to find the
perpetrators, to find not just those who carried out the attack, but
those who planned this attack. Al-Qaida is obviously still operative.
It has been hurt. There is no doubt that pulling out important field
generals like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaida and others hurts
the organization. But we have always known that they were still
capable of striking, and we have got a lot of work to do and will
continue to do that.

MR. DENIG: Lady in the second row.

QUESTION: Dubravka Savic, Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti, on Balkans.
Given the fact that there is presence, U.S. and NATO presence in
Serbia and Montenegro, and that country is not part of any structures
like Partnership for Peace, how do you see prospects for that to
happen? And also, how do you see overall engagement, U.S. engagement
in Balkans?

DR. RICE: In the Balkans. Well, first of all, the Balkans is in many
ways the beginning of a success story, let me put it that way. If you
look at where we were several years ago in the Balkans, we have seen
the coming of democratic states. The violence has stopped. There is no
longer civil war. And the civil presence is beginning to make some
difference in the lives of the people. But there is an awful lot of
work to be done, particularly on the economic reconstruction.

And I was reading some material the other day about the need to really
intensify the economic reconstruction in these places because people
are still without work, and you want people to have hope, and on the
basis of that hope then to commit to a peaceful future. And so there
is still a lot of work to be done. I would not despair that the
Balkans are not yet a part of the structures that Europe has. I am
sure that they will be in time.

I think that there have been contact groups that have been very
effective in making certain that there are channels of communication
about security and other issues. I expect that through NATO, the fact
that there are new NATO members who make their homes in the Balkans
will make a difference to the Balkans' contact and proximity to NATO.
And, eventually, all of these countries should recognize that
President Bush's Warsaw dream that all democratic states should expect
that NATO would welcome them, that that is something to aspire to. But
it is an aspiration that has to be satisfied through actually making
changes on the ground. And so what I would say to countries like
Macedonia is that not yet; however, that does not mean not ever. And
if the hard work of reform is done in the way that countries like
Slovenia and Slovakia, or the Baltic states that have just come into
NATO, took on that mantel and did the hard work. They are now members
of NATO. NATO is an open organization. And when those countries are
ready, I am sure NATO will be ready for them.

QUESTION: Samir Nader, Radio SAWA. President Assad of Syria said in an
interview in The Washington Post last Sunday that he is not willing to
withdraw Syrian troops from Lebanon until the achieving of a
comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Is this acceptable to the
U.S.?

DR. RICE: I think this is something that we should not think of as a
sequence, you know. It is important that Syria be willing and ready to
end its occupation of Lebanon. The Middle East peace, if I can use the
question as an opportunity to talk a little bit about that, we do have
a tremendous opportunity now. We have an opportunity, thanks to the
victory of the coalition forces in Iraq, which removed one of the
really terrible tyrants and in one of the destabilizing forces in the
Middle East, we have an opportunity because there is a new Palestinian
leadership emerging that will, we hope, be dedicated to rolling back
terrorist organizations and recognizing that a Palestinian state can
never be founded on a foundation of terror, but only on a foundation
of democracy and peace.

And the President is intending to seize this opportunity to push the
process forward. We have published the roadmap. We are getting comment
from the parties. It's a good thing to get comment from the parties,
because, ultimately, the parties have to own the roadmap and have to
implement it. But we don't want to spend time negotiating it. We
really want to get people moving forward.

But, in that context, we would hope that Syria would recognize that it
is Syria's responsibility to become a contributing power to peace,
rather than one that detracts from peace by its position in Lebanon
and by what it does in the support of terror.

QUESTION: My name is Andrei Sitov with the Russian News Agency TASS.
First, thank you, Dr. Rice, thank you to the FPC, for this
opportunity. Obviously, the question about Russia. The upcoming summit
in St. Petersburg, will this be strictly a fence mending after Iraq,
or do you expect to move forward on a positive agenda? What,
specifically, would you have in mind? And do you expect any high-level
contacts before the summit and after the Secretary Powell's visit to
Moscow?

Thank you.

DR. RICE: Thank you. Well, of course, we have already had a number of
contacts. I was in Moscow. Secretary Powell is now in Moscow. The
presidents have talked on the telephone, and I am sure that they will
again. And there may be other high-level contacts as well.

St. Petersburg will be yet another opportunity to move the
relationship forward. Now it's true that we don't have that much time
in St. Petersburg. We are principally there to celebrate the glorious
300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, and we all look very much forward
to that -- especially, I, as a Russian specialist -- to be at the
300th anniversary of St. Petersburg is going to be like a dream. So
that's the primary reason that we will be there. But we will also
advance the agenda, I am quite certain of it.

I might note that the Moscow Treaty, I believe, was ratified by the
Duma today. It was ratified a little over a month ago by the American
Senate. So we are moving the relationship forward. We continue to work
hard in the war on terrorism and to have very fruitful cooperation
there.

We have common security problems. And, yes, we had difficulties over
Iraq. It's unfortunate. But I am hopeful that the Russian Government,
as I said about the Security Council, is now ready to move forward in
a way that helps to do what we need to do for the Iraqi people. That's
really the key. We all owe it now to the Iraqi people to get a UN
Security Council resolution that is in their interest.

And I have to say that the atmosphere in New York thus far, and the
atmosphere in capitals, as we have discussed the resolution, has been
quite good. It doesn't mean that there won't be continued discussions,
but the atmosphere has been good.

And so we look forward to St. Petersburg. We expect it to indeed
advance the agenda, and U.S.-Russian strategic partnership we believe
is on track.

Thank you very much.

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)