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Condoleezza Rice is National Security Advisor to U.S. President George Bush. Her comments are excerpted from remarks late last week (June 12) at Los Angeles Town Hall.

By Condoleezza Rice


(Palestinian) Prime Minister (Mahmoud) Abbas recognized at Aqaba that terrorism is not a means to a Palestinian state, but a deadly obstacle to it. He pledged to use his full efforts to end the armed intifada and to work without compromise for the end of violence and terror. He also pledged to make Palestinian institutions, including security services, more democratic and accountable.

Of course, we have seen yet again the familiar scenes of bloodshed and violence caused by those who would use terror to destroy the hopes of the many for peace. The terrorists will not succeed. This is a time for all who are committed to peace to speak and act against the enemies of peace. President Bush remains committed to the course set at Aqaba because it is the only course that will bring a durable peace and lasting security. This president keeps his promises. He expects all the parties to keep theirs.

The new Palestinian leadership is in the process of trying to reform and strengthen security services that have, frankly, not been devoted to fighting terror, but have been unaccountable and unwilling to fight terror.

And so there will need to be a period of the strengthening of those security services. And we have encouraged the Palestinians to talk openly with the Israelis about that process, and we are prepared, as are other countries in the region, to help the Palestinians to strengthen those security services.

There is not going to be any pass for any Palestinian leadership on fighting terror. It is absolutely the case that we believe that terror, wherever it is found, wherever it is practiced, has to be rooted out and destroyed.

... It was (Israeli Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon who said recently that the time has come to divide the land between Palestinians and Israelis. He said at Aqaba that he understood that it had to be a contiguous and viable Palestinian state. The principles are coming into place that will make it, we believe, not easier, but more possible to resolve some of the longer and more difficult final status issues about final borders.

But final borders are really not the only thing that constitutes a state. And one of the breakthroughs of Aqaba was to say to the Palestinians the character of the state is going to be extremely important in getting to a resolution of the final status issues. If itfs democratic and transparent and peace-loving and doesnft aid and abet terrorists, that is going to make it much easier to sit down with an Israeli partner and talk about how to divide the land.

We will eventually be able to deal with the final status issues because there will be partners who have developed some trust, who have developed a working relationship and who can imagine living side by side with each other -- something that is not so easy in the Middle East.


The Iranian regime needs first and foremost to deal with the aspirations of its own people. Iran is one of the few places in the Middle East where people have actually had a chance to express those aspirations. And when they have an election they express quite clearly that they aspire toward pluralism and democratic development. That is absolutely clear.

The elected government of Iran, however, has not managed, or does not want to -- I donft know what the full story is -- deliver on that promise and has instead allowed an unelected few to continue to frustrate the aspirations of the Iranian people. The United States has to stand with the aspirations of the Iranian people, which have been clearly expressed.

We also have to make very clear to the Iranian government that we cannot tolerate circumstances in which Al Qaeda operatives come in and out of Iran. We cannot tolerate circumstances in which Iran, with a different vision of what Iraq ought to look like, tries to stir trouble in southern Iraq. And we must, as an international community, be resolved to say to the Iranians that the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, is not acceptable.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reports there are indications that Iran has been doing precisely what the United States has thought that it was doing, which is using its advanced technology, its advanced know-how, to do under its civilian nuclear programs things that could lead to a nuclear weapons program. Thatfs just unacceptable. And the Iranians are going to have to come to terms with that, and the international community is going to have to come to terms with that.

Iran is a key piece in the Middle East. But we do believe that if you have a stable and democratic Afghanistan and a stable and democratic Iraq, and if you can associate with the aspirations of the Iranian people, which are clearly toward democratic development, sooner or later the Iranian leadership is going to have to listen.

(c) 2003, Town Hall/Global Viewpoint. Distributed by Tribune Media
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For immediate release (Distributed 6/17/03)