Vive Le Canada

Rice, in Canada, Discusses Trade, Haiti, Middle East, Terrorism
Date: Wednesday, October 26 2005
Topic:


25 October 2005

Rice, in Canada, Discusses Trade, Haiti, Middle East, Terrorism
Secretary meets with Prime Minister Martin, Foreign Minister Pettigrew

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is discussing U.S. trade and defense relationships with Canada, as well as international issues including Haiti, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon and Afghanistan during meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew and other officials.

Rice, visiting Canada October 24-25, told reporters en route to Ottawa that she was especially interested in discussing Canada's involvement in Haiti. Canada is a member of the Core Group for that country and head of the Civilian Police Administration there. (See Haiti.)


"Obviously, we would like to have Canada participate in missile defenses, a defense system," Rice said. "But this is going to be a decision for Canada to make and the Canadians aren't -- I think are not ready to have those discussions. That's fine."

Following is a transcript of Rice's briefing en route to Canada:

(begin transcript)

U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
(Ottawa, Canada)
October 24, 2005

ON-THE-RECORD BRIEFING

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
En Route to Ottawa, Canada

October 24, 2005

SECRETARY RICE: Okay, I'm going to do this fairly quickly because I think we're going to be landing pretty soon. I'm looking forward to going to Canada. I'll have a meeting and dinner with Prime Minister Martin tonight and then I will be with Foreign Minister Pettigrew tomorrow and also we'll have a chance to meet some Canadian Parliamentarians.

We have a full range of issues with Canada. Obviously, we have a number of issues of common interest in the international system. I will particularly be interested to talk with the Canadians about Haiti. They have been a part of the Core Group on Haiti. When I was in Haiti, I met with the Civilian Police Administration that is headed by the Canadians and they've been very active there.

They have also been very active on Sudan. We've been trying to help Canada through the AU to get armored personnel carriers in for use of the AU forces.

So that, and of course the broad war on terrorism, especially Afghanistan, where Canada is considering a larger role when the turnover of NATO leadership comes later on next year.

We have a number of issues, bilateral issues. Of course, we are NAFTA partners, we are partners in the Partnership for Prosperity with Mexico, and so I'm certain that we'll talk about a range of trade issues as well. But we have a very broad relationship with our neighbor and our largest trading partner, and really on a number of issues. One of our strongest friends and allies in pursuing a number of issues in the international system.

We also have a strong defense relationship through NORAD and we're going to talk about -- we're in discussions about our defense relationship. So I think it will be a fairly wide-ranging set of discussions and I'm looking forward to it.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. On Syria, if I could take you there just for a minute, the Security Council begins part of its review tomorrow and then ministerial next week. Can you tell us at this point whether you expect, first of all, to be discussing Syria during this trip and where you see the resolutions going, whether you at this point expect to be pressing for sanctions?

SECRETARY RICE: We'll certainly have discussions of Syria and Lebanon during this trip. The Canadians are interested in the Middle East in particular and this is a major issue in the Middle East. We will indeed have the Perm Reps tomorrow to receive the Mehlis report and begin discussions on that. We believe that there will be a ministerial on the 31st -- that's not yet agreed but we're talking to partners about a ministerial on the 31st -- where we would expect to consider next steps.

Now, and I don't want to get ahead of the diplomacy here. There are a number of options on the table about how we move forward. I think the most important thing is that that next -- that resolution, if indeed there is one, and I suspect there would have to be some kind of resolution in response to the Mehlis report, that resolution would have to send a very strong signal to Syria that its non-cooperation is not going to be tolerated because the Mehlis investigation will continue and that it should not even contemplate trying to put pressure or trying to intimidate the Lebanese people.

We will at some point also have a report on 1559 from Mr. Larsen, and this is all about Syrian behavior so we'll need to take a look at the total picture as well. There are a series of events that are unfolding here.

QUESTION: Can you at least address the likelihood of sanctions?

SECRETARY RICE: We have just begun the diplomacy on this and I think we'll decide what is best at this particular point in time in order to compel Syrian cooperation with the continuation of Mehlis and to send a strong signal to Syria that they should not try and intimidate anybody because of what the Mehlis report says.

QUESTION: May I turn this to Canada? As you certainly know, the Canadian Government is -- I don't think I'm overstating by saying they are quite angry about the timber issue. They say that the time for negotiations has passed and the United States is ignoring court rulings. You know all this. What are you going to say to them about this and how is it finally going to be resolved?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the first thing is that I will say to them that I don't think the time for negotiation has passed. I think that there is time for negotiation. We would like to see a negotiated settlement to this. It is a very small percentage of our trade and it is important to keep it in perspective for all of the trade and all of the economic activity between the United States and Canada, not to mention all of the issues that are before us in U.S.-Canada relations and in the broader international system.

And so absolutely I'm prepared to discuss it. The Commerce Department is reviewing -- was told to review a particular mechanism that is used and they are doing that review. But I do think that we need to keep this in perspective. This is -- we are very, very large trading partners, there will be disputes, and we would like to see this one resolved.

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http://www.vivelecanada.ca

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