Transcript: Cynthia's McFadden's Interview With Condoleezza Rice

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sat down with "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden on Nov. 28, 2007. The following is a transcript of the interview.

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: Madam Secretary, since we saw you last night, I know that more negotiations have been going on, more meetings. What can you tell us?

SECRETARY OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, this morning the president hosted first the Israeli delegation and Prime Minister Olmert, and also President Abbas and his delegation. And then they had a brief meeting together.

It was principally to say to them, let's not now have delay, let's really get there and start the negotiations. Both sides, I think, were thrilled about yesterday because it gave them a kind of international boost, and now they'll go.

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I've also today met with the Palestinian negotiators, and I'm going to meet a little bit later with the Israeli negotiators, just to hopefully help them get off to a good start.

But the action now goes back to Jerusalem, where they must negotiate.

MCFADDEN: You've also made an announcement about appointing General Jones. Explain what his role is going to be.

RICE: Well, the long pole in the tent for all of this will be to make certain that the establishment of a Palestinian state can really help the security environment for Palestinians, for Israelis and for the region, because the creation of a Palestinian state is a new factor in the Middle East. It will need its own security forces, but it will also need security arrangements that will have to in part be negotiated.


General Jones is the perfect person to look at this new circumstance of the creation of a Palestinian state and to say, how can Palestinians, Israelis and the region cooperate now to make certain that the creation of a state enhances security rather than detract from it?

And I'm thrilled that he's agreed to do it. He is -- we, of course, can assure him in his job with the Chamber of Commerce, but he is going to be able to bring to there his experience as the former Marine commandant as the former supreme allied commander of Europe.

So it's a great appointment.

MCFADDEN: It is part of the issue. I mean, in order to move forward in a region where trust is in such an issue, feeling secure on both sides is important.


RICE: It's extremely important. And it's important that citizens of the Palestinian territories, soon to be a Palestinian state, we hope, that they believe that they have the proper security forces to be able to provide security for the Palestinian people.

We often talk about security for the region, but we have to start first with security for the Palestinian people. And then, of course, Israelis, who will be withdrawing from the West Bank when this agreement is done have to be certain that they are not compromising their security.

After all, their withdrawal from Lebanon, their withdrawal from Gaza caused security problems for Israel. And that's a memory that Israeli citizens have and that Israeli leaders must respond to.

And so, they will want to make certain that the creation of this Palestinian state will enhance the security of Israel.

MCFADDEN: And besides providing General Jones, will we also be providing military observers on the ground?

RICE: Oh, well, we're nowhere near any such decisions, and I don't really think that American boots on the ground are going to make sense in this conflict.

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