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Press Conference - Presidencia with Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Minister Avil Ramirez Valdivia from Managua, Nicaragua

Presenters: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Nicaragua Defense Minister Avil Ramirez Valdivia
October 03, 2006
Secretary Avil Ramirez: Introduction.

Secretary Rumsfeld:
Thank you very much Mr. Minister. Good afternoon folks.
I’ve been attending the conference that the Minister mentioned. It’s been a very good conference. The Minister and his able staff have hosted a very successful conference I would say. I’ve met with the President a number of times and was pleased to speak with him again. I have a lot of respect for what he’s done during his presidency, in terms of supporting and encouraging free political systems fighting corruption and particularly for the work he’s done to help to bring the Central American nations closer together.

The problems we face in the world can’t be solved by any one country. It’s going to take a lot of cooperation among many countries and leadership has been important not just for Nicaragua but for Central America and indeed the hemisphere. Thank you Mr. Minister.

Moderator (original in Spanish, translation by Embassy Public Affairs):
First question from the daily La Prensa

La Prensa Journalist (original in Spanish, translation by Embassy Public Affairs):
Good morning Mr. Rumsfeld, good morning Minister of Defense. Mr. Rumsfeld I would like to know what type of lobbying the government of the United States will be developing in Nicaragua for the destruction of the Missiles SAM 7 before the possibility that the Sandinista Front and the candidate Daniel Ortega win the elections with the antecedent that the Government of Venezuela has acquired armaments with out an end. I would like to know what type of lobbying will the United States conduct to see the SAM7 Missiles destroyed.

Secretary Rumsfeld:
The United States and indeed a number of nations have been concerned about the availability of so called Man Pads or surface to air missiles. And have worked on this continent and on other continents to see that they are destroyed. I am very pleased with the work the President and the Minister have done. We recognize the fact that they have to work with their parliament and that the job is not complete. However we are appreciative of the work that’s been done thus far.

Moderator (original in Spanish, translation by Embassy Public Affairs):
Second question AFP

AFP journalist: (inaudible)
[Question about Cuba’s absence at the Defense Ministerial of the Americas Conference]
Secretary Rumsfeld:
This forum includes countries that are part of the Inter-American system that are free and democratic. I can’s speak for the organization but, clearly if Cuba were to be a democratic country it would be welcomed; at least by the United States.

AFP journalist: (inaudible):
[Follow-up question about effects of a regime change in Cuba]

Secretary Rumsfeld: Oh I don’t know. It would be pure speculation.

Third Question AP-Nicaragua

AP-Nicaragua journalist (original in Spanish, translation by Embassy Public Affairs):
Good morning. After the cold war I have come to understand the treatment Inter-American, the reciprocal assistance, has become obsolete. But the United State besides the worries it had before, I understand that it now has new worries in America. We would like for Donald Rumsfeld would tell us what they are and if the United States is prepared to be the forerunner in handling these preoccupations and in what form.

Secretary Rumsfeld:
I don’t know that I could give you a very satisfactory answer on that particular question. The reality is that a great many of the institutions that have been so important in our world were fashioned at the end of WWII and during the period of the Cold War. They may have served us rather well in many respects.

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