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Secretary Rumsfeld's Press Availability Enroute to Morocco

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
February 12, 2006

Secretary Rumsfeld's Press Availability Enroute to Morocco



     SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Algeria.  We had a very long visit with the President.  He has been through a lot in that country, and people look at it from the outside.  He described it from the inside as to what took place and how they fought off the terrorism problem and the problem with extremism and the numbers of people that were killed, beheaded.  The task of persuading the Algerian people that their future was in a forward-looking economically prosperous democratic system as opposed to violence and extremism, his description of it from the inside and the process they went through and the reality that to succeed in such a struggle is not a military matter alone or even primarily, but that it's economic, it's political, it's cultural, and I was musing as he talked about the fact that so many people looking at it from the outside had so many ideas and critiques and opined on this and opined on that, and it was very different from where he was and from what they were doing. 

     It's instructive for us to recognize that the struggle we're in is not unlike the struggle the people of Algeria went through, and that it takes time, a long time; that it takes patience; that as he pointed out, it requires constantly adapting to the different circumstances as they evolve.  It requires a heavy political and economic and cultural content.  I think that people thinking about what Algeria went through and thinking about the long struggle they're in is a useful lesson.

    I know there are plenty of people who have looked at the history of Algeria's struggle against terrorists and who learned things from a military standpoint, but I think it's also helpful to recognize the multi-dimensional aspect of it.

     Morocco is a country that's, we had a Treaty of Friendship in the late 1700s.  It's a very very old friend and ally.  Morocco is currently a major non-NATO ally.  We are cooperating with them in the Mediterranean Dialogue with NATO.  We have a very strong bilateral relationship and have for many many years.  I've been there a number of times dating back to 1971 for various reasons.  Went there when I was Middle East Envoy.  We have in them a good partner in the struggle against extremism.  Certainly they are a thoughtful, constructive, moderate voice in this part of the world.  They have been for many many years and we value them.

     QUESTION:  Can you say just a few words about what you want to accomplish with the Moroccans?

     SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Well, I'm looking forward to discussing with them the Mediterranean Dialogue and issues.  They are going to be a participant in the Active Endeavor exercise.  I always have found it helpful to have the benefit of the perspective of His Majesty.  I met with him when he was in Washington a couple of years ago and used to meet with his father, his predecessor, the King.

     QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, after your talks in Algeria, what are the prospects for greater arms sales or sales of military supplies to Algeria?

     SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Well, it came up only in a minor way.  I'm not on a weapon sales mission.  I don't have any idea how it will all sort out.  They have things they desire and we have things we can be helpful with, but I leave that to others.

     QUESTION:  I understand they've been reluctant to sign an end user agreement for some things that you'd like to sell them.  Did you discuss that at all?

     SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  It came up, and it is, any time someone is in the process of doing something new they look at it carefully and they're discussing exactly how that would work and it is a bit complicated, and dealing with the United States government sometimes is not easy.

     QUESTION:  Do they have any particular insight on how to get out of the Iran nuclear problem?  Do you think they can be of any particular help in that regard?

     SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I don't know.  I hate to speak for them.  They have a position and they have always had a relationship with Iran.  They, I believe, either are on or going on the board of IAEA and they've not been supporters of nuclear weapon programs.

     QUESTION:  I was thinking because of their longstanding relationship with Iran, whether they had any particular insights or could be particularly helpful.

     SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  As I say, we discussed it but I'm not inclined to be discussing their insights. I leave that to them.

     QUESTION:  So if arms sales were only a minor issue, in what way is the United States going to strengthen its military relations with Algeria?

     SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  There are all kinds of things one can do apart from weapon sales.  Weapon sales are a very minor part of United States interaction with other countries.  We share intelligence, we cooperate in exercises, we have been able to gain insights from the Algerians about the importance of having a multi-dimensional approach to the problem of extremism.  Clearly the Iraqi situation and the Afghan situation both require multi-dimensional approaches.  So there's a lot in the world besides weapon sales, James.

     QUESTION:  Thank you, sir.


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