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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Press Availability With Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni

Press Availability With Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
January 13, 2007

FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: Hello. Good evening. I would like to welcome again
in the region, in Jerusalem, the United States Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice. And this visit in Jerusalem is part of the ongoing mutual
effort to empower the moderates throughout the region in the struggle
against extremism and terror. And today, tonight, we will continue in our
consultations in order to find the best way to do it in a variety of
different fronts in Lebanon, Iran and of course the Palestinian Authority.
When it comes regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the goal is clear:
two states, two different homelands living side by side in peace and

The elections in the Palestinian Authority last year made the situation more
complicated, more dangerous and the requirements of the international
community from any Palestinian government are clear. Of course, part of our
responsibility is to give the moderate Palestinians a political horizons -
horizon -- while providing the Israelis security. In Sderot, a place in
which they are being attacked on a daily basis, and elsewhere. And this is,
of course, part of any process.

And I would like to thank personally Secretary of State for the
determination, understanding, and this is part of our mutual responsibility
to find a way for a better future for us all. Thank you so much.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you very much, Minister Livni. Tzipi, it's great
to be here again in Jerusalem. Indeed, this is a very important and
challenging time in the Middle East, but a time that I believe does have
promise if we exercise our responsibilities with creativity and with
resolve. It is a time when extremist forces are attempting to make it
impossible to have the kind of Middle East in which Israelis and
Palestinians and other people of the Middle East can live in peace and in
which democracy can make progress. But we're determined to resist their
efforts and also to strengthen the hand of those who wish to resist their
efforts, because I believe most people of the Middle East, in fact, do want
to live in a place where their children can grow up in peace.

We will discuss, of course, the strategic issues concerning Iran. I will
brief the Foreign Minister on the President's Iraq plan. And of course, we
will talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how to accelerate progress
on the roadmap, how to work toward a political horizon, because I think that
we both understand fully that for both the Palestinian and the Israeli
people, two states living side by side in peace is not just a dream, it's
something that we must make a reality.

And so thank you very much for having me here.


SECRETARY RICE: I think we're to take one question per side.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary and Minister Livni, why do you both think that
there is an opening and some promise in the situation right now between
Israel and the Palestinians given the fact that Israel's government has been
historically weak politically right now and there is so much conflict among
the Palestinians? What makes you think that there is some hope for an

And secondly, Madam Secretary, how does the escalating U.S. challenge to
Iran impact this conflict and the rest of the region?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, perhaps I can start on the second part of that.
Andrea, the United States is simply responding to Iranian activities that
have been going on for a while now that threaten not just to destabilize the
chance for Iraq to proceed to stability but that also endanger our forces.
And the President has made clear that we will go after the networks that are
producing explosive devices that are threatening our forces. It's a force
protection issue. We've also made clear that this is something that can be
done inside of Iraq. I think that General Pace made that clear yesterday.

As to the other announcements that the President has made, the United States
has long historic interests in the Persian Gulf and we have always,
President after President after President, sought to have a force posture
that makes clear that we can defend those interests.

We also, of course, continue to work with the international community to try
and arrest Iran's movement toward a nuclear weapon. The Chapter 7 resolution
that was passed just before Christmas is an important step, but it is also
important to recognize that efforts that individual states might make, like
the designation by the United States of Iranian banks, is also important to
denying funding to terrorism and to the pursuit of weapons of mass

As to why there may be an opening now, first of all, one always has to
remain optimistic and one has to exercise one's responsibilities to try and
pursue peace. I would just cite the very important speech that Prime
Minister Olmert made holding out a hand to the Palestinians, the very good
meeting that's just taken place between Prime Minister Olmert and Prime
Minister Abbas, the work that Minister Livni has been doing in Europe and in
the region to promote the formulation of a foundation for moving to a
two-state solution.

And perhaps most of all, I really do think that people want to try and end
this conflict. There are a lot of obstacles in the way, but the purpose of
diplomacy, the purpose of leadership, is to try to remove those obstacles so
that this conflict can finally end.

FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: Thank you. I mean, this vision of two states living
side by side in peace and security, it's not only the Israeli Government
policy. This represents the vast majority of Israelis and this is so -- 
there is no connection between the strength of -- the political strength of
any Israeli government and the need to explore and to find a way to promote
a process which will represent or will be based on two pillars. One of
course is the political horizons for the Palestinians and the other is
giving Israeli security. This is part -- and this is going to be the part of
any process.

And I do believe that if an Israeli government and if this government comes
to the Israeli public in this vision saying that on one hand there's a need
to promote this process of two-state solution, on the other hand it is part
of our responsibility and Israel will provide security to Israelis wherever
they are, so this is something that the Israeli public can not only accept
but also support. And I believe that this is part of our responsibility.
This is the reason that the Israeli public voted for us. And there is of
course -- there are new threats in the region and I can say and I already
said that the situation now is more complicated, but part of our
responsibility is also to see not only the threats but to see whether there
is also new opportunities.

And this vision represents not only the Israeli interest but the interest of
the moderates, Israel and the moderates among the Palestinians. And part of
this -- not only the Palestinians but part of also other Arab and Muslim
states in the region in the understanding that we share the same interests,
that it's not a zero-sum game in terms of helping Israel is
anti-Palestinian. And so even though there are new threats, I also think
that there are new opportunities. And it's not easy. It's going to be
complicated. But it is part of our responsibility to find a way to do it.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, given the suggestion that the Palestinian
Authority (inaudible) that they are ready to waive the first phase of the
roadmap, do you support their ideas? And for Foreign Minister Livni, are you
going to propose new ideas to the Secretary in steps on the roadmap?

FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: Thank you. The roadmap represents a situation that
was clear after Camp David. I mean, the idea of solving the conflict in one
conference we found out that this is impossible and there's a need to give
the Palestinian a political horizon but to cut the process into some phases.
And this is the basic principles of the roadmap. And but yes, I do and I was
not talking about jumping or skipping or bypassing some of the phases of the
roadmap, but I do believe that talking with the Palestinians today what are
the best steps that we can take and maybe to make some visions or some -- 
what we say the political horizon more concrete if this can help, so this is
something that we have to do. But there's a difference and we can
distinguish talking with the Palestinians and implementing parts one before
the other, and I believe that this is the difference maybe and maybe the
kind of misunderstanding that was in the understanding of talking or
implementing the phases in a different order.

SECRETARY RICE: We continue to support the roadmap as a reliable guide to
the President's two-state vision, in fact the vision now of all who are
signed on to it. One of the very great values of the roadmap is that it has
international support. It is the Quartet's document, it is Israel's
document, it is the Palestinians' document, and it has therefore I think a
very important function. And we should never as we look for ways to push
forward and to keep moving forward throw out the good work that we've done
before, and obviously the roadmap is very important.

I want just to note too that we have -- the President has always said that
he believes that one of the most important things that he could do in his
Presidency would be to make progress toward, indeed if possible establish
the foundation for a Palestinian state. And so nothing should get in the way
of the broadest possible conversations certainly between friends about how
to do that.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

QUESTION: As a -- as two single women, neither with children, do you
believe -- (laughter) --

SECRETARY RICE:[IMRA: Isareli account have Rice noting here that Livni is
married and a mother] So obviously she can make the decision. No, I'm sorry.

QUESTION: Do you think that being without children in any way hinders your
ability to understand the sacrifices of American families losing their
children in war?

SECRETARY RICE: No. And I also think that being a single woman does not in
any way make me incapable of understanding not just those sacrifices, but
that nothing of value is ever won without sacrifice. Andrea, I have visited
families, I have visited soldiers who have been injured, I've talked with
families of people who have lost their family members, and look, it's
something that every American feels and feels deeply and feels personally.
We also know that we have an obligation to children, whosever children, to
try and leave a world that is more stable, a world that is more democratic
and one in which they do not face the threat of terrorism that we have seen
explode literally as the United States was attacked on September 11th.

FOREIGN MINISTER LIVNI: Can I add something on a personal basis? Because in
our not formal conversation we discussed also the situation in Iraq and you
cannot imagine the feelings that the Secretary Rice showed on a personal
basis during these conversations. And I believe that this is something that
also the American public should know.

QUESTION: Thank you.


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