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So, without any further delay join me in welcoming what I think is our country's finest Korean diplomat, David Welch. Hello everybody Mr. George thank you very much for introducing this conversation this afternoon (indiscernible) again and I am usually censored but not that aggressively, then Mark thank you for having me here this afternoon and asking me to share some thoughts on our policy in the Middle East this season, friends in the audience, (indiscernible) always nice to see you again. And as I was walking up here and Mr. Johnson here had actually gone through all the Montana because he knows that in the Foreign Service and making sure, I'm taking care of their interest. Ladies and gentlemen on behalf of the Secretary of State, Condi Rice, I want to thank you for your interest in in the state department, Americas Foreign Policy and specifically I would like to thank you for your interest in in the issues in the Middle East. I I think World Affairs Councils throughout our country are hugely important. It's true that I would have liked a little more time here this afternoon but I consider this very valuable time for me personally. When we travel as government officials throughout the United States we try and stop them with our councils, wherever they are and to have a dialogue with citizens about the issues of the day. And most importantly to hear your thoughts and understand the concerns when you travel abroad such as some of - of you did in early 05' when I was Ambassador of Egypt, we also I think benefit from having Americans come to some places in Europe you are interested in begin to learn and then share that with your membership column. There is in my judgment no no better grassroots organization focused on the worlds among the world's issues and no greater asset to people [inaudible]. You will power our citizens you build support for my working you work at diplomatic engagements, you improve understanding of issues that are enormously complex and I hope that you encourage, that people oblige to take an interest in our country and build alliances across the global. I really believe in the mission that you all have set yourself bring in different ideas, different backgrounds, and equally sensitive issues. because I am going to kind of focus on the areas where perhaps the news hasn't been as good as we would like. By doing so I don't want you to walk out of this room thinking that David Welch came to you and and said everything and what's wrong, in the Middle East. There is a plenty of good going on and you know that gets obscured by the coverage of the day and sometimes is forgotten by citizens and even sometimes by our policy makers. But that said today I am going to focus on what are more commonly perceived to be - what we in diplomatic language call the challenges. The region today is at a crossroads. You know on the one hand we see forces seeking reform forces urging establishment to growth of representative institutions and people pushing for popular legitimacy. On the other hand there are forces that seek to maintain the status quo or even forces that are more dark - exclusionary and intolerant. This is I believe an epic confrontation and struggle and the outcome our response to it our actions as important national security implications from our country. And that's why we are here today because we think you have an interest in these things and of course so do I. I would like to touch upon four key areas and I have to say the one degree and under their conflicts today, I want to say something about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I wanted to say something about Iraq, Iran and Baghdad. And in each of these cases, I believe you can see some reflection of that clash confrontation or tension that I mentioned between on the one hand, responsible voices and on the other hand extremist exposure. On the Arab-Israeli conflict this president and his government are committed to the goal of two democratic states, one called Israel, one called Palestine living side by side peace and secure. President Bush is first American President to make it an abject national policy for the United States to have a state called the Palestine. To achieve that goal the international community has united behind something called the roadmap which is literally that a step step of sequential performance based actions placing obligations on both parties which would leave to a Palestinian state. Central to those are that the Palestinians must prevent terror attacks and dismantle terrorist infrastructure while the Israelis must stop central expansion, remove unauthorized outposts and be mindful of the consequences of military aggressions, what they are doing conductively. The Hamas Political Party won control of the Palestinian assembly after elections a year ago and formed the government. Today Palestinian people have seen the results of Hamas's failure to govern and its failure to promote the interests of Palestinians wherever they are. Hamas in government just as Hamas the political party has ignored the most basic and unanimous demands of the international community, these are very straightforward ladies and gentlemen (indiscernible) event and do in (indiscernible) here. What are those things? They have to renounce terror violence, they have to recognize that there is something called Israel and they have to accept existing agreements obligations and understandings, including the agreements that signed by the PLO itself. They have refused to do any or all of those things. And that refusal has led the international community to withdraw from the financial support of the Palestinian development. That certainly do we are mindful that Palestinians have needs and are not blame for the actions of their government. We remain United States remains the largest single donor of assistance to Palestinians. It's a considerable out of assistance, your tax paid dollars nearly $500 million have been dedicated to direct assistance, including almost $300 million in humanitarian assistance. Just as we the president took a decision and notified congress of our intention to spend almost $90 million to support efforts to reform the Palestinian security services. We have American army general (Keith Damon) who continues to work with the Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan on a security plan to reform the security services. This is the first time we will ever have assisted Palestinian Security issues, a traditional training program ladies and gentlemen its not equal assistance, we are not contributing to civil war chaos among the Palestinians, we are trying to build law and order there to enable responsible people of the Palestinian community to address the questions of violence and terror in there. We we have seen some progress and we we obviously hope for more and we are working for more. There is a ceasefire between Israel and and the Palestinians endorsed by President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert unfortunately this doesn't as you seen in the news end in anti-violence and terror, and there was considerable violence from the part of Palestine. There was also a positive meeting between Prime Minister Olmert of Israel and the Palestinian President President Abbas just a few weeks ago. My boss Secretary Rice recently returned from a trip to the region and at - during that trip we asked the Israelis and Palestinians to agree to a trilateral meeting including United States at the level of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Abbas, Secretary Rice so that we put little more venom in trying to reinforce the bilateral context that they have held upon. And I don't I mean you all being not reflected on this recently, but its been a long time since Palestinians and Israelis had constructive conversation about all they had In fact it has been six years since they have such negotiations and we think it's important to now try to give credibility, strength to that effort. Tomorrow here we will hosts a meeting of something called Quartet, its not a musical group, it's a United Nations, European Union, Russia and United States and we - this group there are all significant players supporting the effort between the Arabs and Israelis to go in peace and then we have new Secretary General of the United Nations and the European Union Honorable Presidency the German Presidency, so all group together here tomorrow and to continue our effort to support this by bringing together people in the international community and Secretary Rice will host this gathering, meetings and lunch tomorrow. I mentioned this - this issue the offset of course because it's the most galvanizing in Middle East and many people consider to be most important. I think prejudging others I think it will certainly work that the considerable investment (indiscernible) by the United States and we intend to do that. Iran is another subject that I would like to touch upon. We don't have any differences with Iranian people. We think they deserve to live - freedom without fear especially from their own government and they deserve to be within democracy too. We respect the nation. Our differences are with the regime there and particularly its current leadership seems to have cornered provocative and shocking statements. We have some really serious laws and policy differences with the Iranian Government. We have very, very problem with their nuclear program. We do not object ladies and gentlemen to them having a peaceful nuclear energy program, but because of the hard condition which we think is broadly shared in the international community that they are using this privilege for the sake of pursuing a nuclear weapon. We believe that some additional controls have to be established. Iranian regime also supports terrorism. It has an appalling human rights record particularly with respect to minorities especially religious and minorities here on is deeply aggressive against any effort from the peace process and interferes actively in trying to avoid these and it has unfortunately also played a very complex and dangerous role inside Iraq. The nuclear program is a strategic matter. To address the Iranian nuclear program we work very closely to the international partners within the United Kingdom, France and Germany who will lead Europe's negotiation with the bomb - this issue. The purpose is to get to abandon the pursuit of nuclear weapon. We we don't object of them having peaceful nuclear technology, but not a complete fuel cycle, because that presents the highest proliferation risks that had access to nuclear material, that's weapons grade then they broke (inaudible) nuclear bomb and we don't want that to happen. We brought Russia and China into this circle and working with them to try to resolve these concerns. We think that there is plenty of opportunity to do that in a manner that is peaceful and using diplomacy. We have good support as I said internationally. There is a resolution passed by the Security Council, those of you (indiscernible) some resolutions, Number 1707 which put into International Law, what are the requirements for Iran for its nuclear requirement? So far they have failed to be used requirements therefore we have begun to put in place some certain sanctions instead. If they were to move to negotiations then we wouldn't have to proceed those path. Shortly they declined to respond the International Atomic Energy (indiscernible) stand regard to Iran's compliance in the event which I believe is likely that Iran has failed to comply then we will consider taking new actions, perhaps in the Security Council. Iran is also the leading sponsors State sponsor of terrorism in the world. It gives money, weapons, training to several terrorist groups including Hamas, Hezbollah in Lebanon and certain Palestinian insurgent groups headquartered in Damascus, Syria. What is the most immediate threat and into the danger to coalition soldiers, they also believe we also believe they sponsor networks in Iraq that they are going to have and used improvised explosives the very high caliber technology against our troops. There are some senior Al-Qaeda leaders who are wanted for murdering Americans (indiscernible) lousy and the government there continues to conduct numerous abuses and doing summary executions, disappearances, torture (indiscernible) to treatment not to mention control of all elections and possessions of press and lack of any respect for the right of religious worship. Journalists are less entertained, activists are harassed, sometimes worse and then you can even undergo the penalty of a death sentence for having political views or worshipping in a different faith. We as Americans and as administration we support Iran's people's desire for freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, religion and we are we are ready to cooperate in any respect with our knowledge trying to find any possible way to bring them into compliance with Security Council resolutions. I like to also talk a little bit about Lebanon last week we were, the Secretary of State in a conference in Paris support Lebanon for significant contribution and pledges American assistance. We think we are doing this for purpose because we think that supporting the democratically elected government is vital to peace and stability in the region and the opportunity for Lebanese people. We will request from Congress very soon nearly $770 million comprehensive assistance program for Lebanon. As you know there was a war initiated last summer by Hezbollah Party which attacked Israel, captured some Israeli soldiers and the damages of the war had a very significant in Lebanon. So if you accumulate what we have done for Lebanon time since the war that comes to over $1.1 billion. This is a very significant amount of assistance it shows the importance we place on helping this country and Lebanese people. We want to all the Security Council Resolutions was there, especially the one that brought the war to a close last summer resolution 1701 and we have encouraged Lebanese Government to continue to maintain a military presence in the South Lebanon so this conflict doesn't ever escalate yet again. We also have excellent support for this policy from our allies in Europe, Germany, Italy, and France. Tikrit have contributed significant troops to the United Nations presence in Southern Lebanon making a very robust peacekeeping operation. We are concerned that the Hezbollah group will try to renew them and we there are reports of continued weapon shipments to them. There is arms embargoes established in this U.N. Resolution and we call upon all states to observe that. That's an obligation of the international law and particularly concerned about Syria and Iran that they should not be in a position that they provide weapons to Hezbollah which is prohibited in the international world. And we also want to support Lebanon in its effort to get to fight over former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, a crime that happened right about the time you all were visiting us in Egypt. You know Lebanon seen too much pain and suffering over the past nearly three decades and this program of political assassinations looks unfortunately to have reasons again not too long ago minister the government was killed by this people who stopped his car and then shot him. There is an international investigation underway to solve these crimes and in addition to that investigation the Security Council has agreed in establishing a tribunal to assist Lebanon in prosecuting whoever may be behind the crimes when the evidence is produced. I kind of would like to turn to Iraq now. You know clearly if you are watching everything in the (indiscernible). It is certainly an issue that has come to dominate our attention. Here in the administration very conscious of the enormous cause according to America of our (indiscernible). I hope that we are attentive to reasons that we ask Americans to share this effort. Is this a very delicate and hotly debated issue? I am confident that probably or at least as many views on it as there are people in this room. The situation there not exactly (indiscernible) and as the president has said the consequences of failure are enormous. President Bush proposed a new Iraq strategy which is based on several key elements especially that Iraqis take the lead what we do our best to support them, to help protect the Iraqi population. We think that that proposal represents the best chance to isolate the enemy's stability and security there and to create the space that's necessary for political and economic changes that could help rebuild the spirit, the sentiment among all Iraqis about the future. Baghdad is the center of this problem, not the only part of it but certainly the center and while Iraqi and the coalition forces will continue operations against the insurgents and the terrorists elsewhere, there is a necessity for some strengthening of the coalition forces to deal with this and particularly the growing sectorial violence and we now believe it represents a strategic threat. This is principally true in Baghdad. And what we proposed to do there is to help to clear some areas in the city, of those who are engaged in this combat for those areas and bring in the support economic and political to change that. This is not a military effort alone. It is a political and diplomatic and economic effort. In the state department we are talking about the strength of what we call provincial reconstruction teams, this is in effect out region to the provinces which will help local people and to provide better services, again to support those moderate forces out there. Our president's plan requires the Iraqi government to act aggressively. And it has to be committed to delivering economic and central services to all communities without any distinction among if they had to pass a (indiscernible) a hydrocarbon smoke because that's essential for attracting investors and to using this both national resources more creatively and responsibly, you have to strengthen national reconciliation and the Iraqis unfortunately are deeply angry with each other and too often to resort to mines. Iraqi government also needs to use its resources and it does have some to build that on development. They have been pledged to this task in this regard and we intent to hold them accountable to those pledges. Let me conclude with a few words on the promotion of democracy moving forward. As I said earlier the region is at a crossroads. And I know that some think that everything about the Middle East is in some sense bad, it's not as I said earlier to be true. But there are certain very serious developments gaps in this area. One of the most important challenges for the region is that the huge majority of the populations are young. In fact if you consider that the majority of the people are say under the age of 25 and then you look at the recent history of the Middle East, basically their average young persons from their memories are all on the (indiscernible) and they need to see hope in their future. Hope in an economic sense, hope in a social sense, hope in a political sense. But not everything is going forward, maybe because you all are paying a lot more for your gasoline and oil prices are high, regional economies begun to do bad. They are not just your economies by the way; there is significant growth out in most of the Arab countries. In Egypt for example, where I was ambassador when I arrived there, the record was in recent years, people were doing worse each year. This year there is positive economic growth for each Egyptian. There was a good reform team in charge there and I think that the prospects for economic growth in this - the biggest country in the Arab world are pretty good. And this means that as that economy grows the young people who come into the workforce each year have a better chance to get a job. If they get a job then a better chance to build the future for themselves and for others. More broadly I think a lot of those (indiscernible) starts in a given place. There is a general trend in the region to listening more to the voice of the people. Now here in the United States we are used to this we have to every couple of years our national representatives have to defend themselves of (indiscernible) to be heard by the voters. But it's not the common experience in the Middle East. Yet elections there are more frequent. So is international attention and domestic attention to those elections. Any time you have an election now in the Middle East there are international monitors all over the place there, domestic pressure groups that are interested in the elections it's very transparent. And this is good news basically. In Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar women can vote. Saudi Arabia, Iran and others showing different forms of reform, I am not saying everything has to be examined before each of these countries but it's important that overall there are steps forward. We think that this is enormously positive, it's the one reason why we invest in it, we think it means the something now for development in these societies but it has to pay off, however we direct for our securities work. Again to the extent that these reformers succeed, to the extent that there is a broadening of the political space, then those voices of extremism are not going to be as loud. They will have to struggle with their negative ideology against an ideology of hope. And most people want a good life; they don't want a life of violence and negativism. We will continue to approach through greater openness, transparency, we want these economic reforms, we want political reforms, we have to, as Americans, I think, support that trend. I realize that our country sometimes when you look at things like opening up for liberalizing trade, that public depression here maybe that there is a cost for Americans. Consider this that we are also sharing the benefit of our prosperity with others and everyone will realize a gain. I think that for these trends are there, there is also resistance to it. Trust me, for every voice for change there is a voice against it. And those factors that push governments to reform also frighten people and cause them concern and sometimes lead them in the wrong direction. We have to make this pay off for those who want the positive change. By countenance that at least those who don't want to succeed. This is why we have what we call a freedom agenda. It isn't because we are trying to sell our method of government to anyone. It is because having people greater security in their economic and political freedoms is a benefit to our security. Ladies and gentlemen let me just conclude by saying that I am glad to register in these issues. I think American foreign policy perhaps has got a little more attention than we all might have thought in recent years. Not - not always for happy reasons but I would like to think that this has also earned among our citizenry a certain respect for the importance of these things to United States and I like being introduced as a diplomat. I hope I do a good job at it. I happen to think that diplomacy is not a bad word. I don't think diplomacy means promiscuous compromise any of our interests. It is, trust me, an aggressive effort to advance our relations, priorities and do so in a responsible way, sensitive to the environment which we work both here at home and abroad. I think having a professional diplomatic word is an important part of that. Mark Johnson thinks that I have done a good job and that's a good thing. I hope you support your diplomats, they are as exposed, trust me, as some of our soldiers and we live and work in very dangerous places, in some cases. In the area of law for which I am responsible we have got some nice countries. But regrettably nearly 40 percent of the assignments that I have under my area of responsibility you can't take your family or your wife to, so recruiting for these places is a real challenge. I don't have to worry if I would do it they all volunteer. Thank you very much.