Secretary Rice: Is Syrian Government Smart Enough to Change Behavior?

(State Department) In an interview with the New York Post on Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: "The pressure is rising on Syria. But it's not just U.S. pressure...what the Syrians have is a problem with the entire international community, the French, the Saudis, the Egyptians and others about what their role may or may not have been in the Hariri assassination." "Secondly, they have a problem with the Palestinian people because they sit there supporting Palestinian Islamic Jihad at a time when Mahmoud Abbas is trying to get the terrorist groups under control and trying to make reasonable relations with Israel. Third and in many ways, quite a great importance to us, they have a problem with the Iraqi people where they're letting their border be used to essentially kill innocent Iraqis. We've got to bring more pressure on the Syrians because the fact that, you know, they say, well, they can't control their border. Well, when they wanted to cut off the Lebanese, they did. They did it in a day." "The other thing is that these jihadists are not crawling across the border the way they do in Afghanistan or Pakistan....These people are coming in through Damascus airport for goodness sakes. So we're not talking about something that they shouldn't be able to stop. I think the combination of all of these pressures on the Syrian government puts us in a good position to press for change to Syrian behavior. But we'll see whether or not the Syrian government is smart enough to take that course."

2005-09-16 00:00:00

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