Rice Rejects Dialogue with Iran, Syria

[State Department] Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday: "We have to base our regional strategy on the substantially changed realities of the Middle East. This is a different Middle East. This Middle East is a Middle East in which there really is a new alignment of forces. On one side are reformers and responsible leaders who seek to advance their interests peacefully, politically, and diplomatically. On the other side are extremists of every sect and ethnicity who use violence to spread chaos, to undermine democratic governments, and to impose agendas of hatred and intolerance." "On one side of that divide, the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and the other countries of the Gulf, Egypt, Jordan, the young democracies of Lebanon, of the Palestinian territory led by Mahmoud Abbas and in Iraq. But on the other side of that divide are Iran, Syria, and Hizbullah and Hamas. And I think we have to understand that that is a fundamental divide. Iran and Syria have made their choice and their choice is to destabilize, not to stabilize." "And so with all respect to those who talk about engagement with Syria and Iran, I think we need to recognize that if Iran and Syria wish to play a stabilizing role for their own interests, then they will do so. If on the other hand, they intend to offer a stabilizing role because they believe that in our current situation in Iraq we are willing to pay a price, that's not diplomacy, that's extortion."

2007-01-12 01:00:00

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