News

    Rice Prepares for Middle East, Europe Trip

    Secertary of State Condoleezza Rice leaves Washington Friday on a week-long trip to the Middle East and Europe. She'll try to help assure a peaceful Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and promote Middle Eastern democracy in a policy speech next Monday in Cairo.

    Ms. Rice has been dispatched to the Middle East by President Bush to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the Gaza withdrawal, which the administration hopes will be a catalyst for renewed progress on the international road map to Middle East peace.

    But she also plans stops in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where in Cairo next Monday she delivers the keynote speech of the trip renewing the administration's campaign for Middle East political reform.

    Ms. Rice called off a stop in Egypt earlier this year in what was seen as a protest of the Hosni Mubarak government's crackdown on an opposition leader.

    But Mr. Mubarak has since cleared the way for multi-party presidential elections, a departure from a system that was essentially one-party rule.

    The Mubarak reforms have been faulted by critics who say the rules are too restrictive. But at a news conference here on the eve of her departure, Ms. Rice said they do represent progress. "Contested presidential elections is an important step for a country that has not had them before. It is also important that the Egyptian government recognizes that a lot of people are going to be watching what happens in these elections. A lot of people are going to be watching whether or not there is access to the government-controlled press for people who run for office. There will be, hopefully, international observers there to watch the electoral process. And an atmosphere should be created in which those who are running for office feel that they can freely contest for the presidency," he said.

    Ms. Rice said under questioning the revamped election in September in which Mr. Mubarak is expected to win a fifth term in office, is not in itself enough, but she said democratization is not a single event.

    The Secretary's trip, which will include an international conference to support Iraq next Wednesday in Brussels, comes amid opinion polls indicating sagging U.S. public support for American military involvement in Iraq.

    Ms. Rice insisted that strides is being made in democracy-building in Iraq and in creating effective Iraqi security forces, and while declining to give a time-line, she said that in the long-term the process will be an Iraqi, not an American undertaking. "It is a very different Middle east with Saddam Hussein gone, and now we're in the process of trying to help the Iraqis to put in place a viable and democratic state on the ruins of that old tyranny. Now I do think that we owe it to the American people to say again and again that this is not going to be an American enterprise for the long-term. This is going to be an Iraqi enterprise, whether you talk about who's going to provide security, or who's going to be involved in the politics, it will be Iraqi," he said.

    On other Middle East issues, Secretary Rice said the United States had not changed its view of the radical Palestinian group Hamas, which is listed by the State Department as a terrorist group, and has no political contacts with it.

    Reports that European diplomats have had meetings with Hamas, which has political and armed elements, have drawn sharp Israeli protests.

    Ms. Rice said she preferred to let the democratically-elected Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas deal with what she termed contradictions in Palestinian politics, and endorsed his stand that the Palestinian Authority should have the only armed forces in the areas it controls.

    Under questioning, the Secretary also said the United States has had very difficult discussions with Israel over its military dealings with China. She said Israel has a responsibility to be sensitive to American concerns that weapons sales to China might affect the regional military balance.

    During the Clinton administration, U.S pressure prompted Israel to call off a planned sale of an airborne command-and-control system to China. The United States is most recently said to be concerned about Israeli sales to China of spare parts for advanced drone aircraft capable of attacking ground anti-aircraft systems.

    Without being specific about the weapons at issue, Ms. Rice said she thinks Israel now understands the seriousness with which the United States views the matter and that talks will continue.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora