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Secretary Rumsfeld Stakeout with Traveling Press

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
December 02, 2003 12:55 PM EDT
SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  We are almost completed.  I’ve got bilaterals left.  We’ve had a very successful meeting, set of meetings. 

 

            We’ve made progress on the NATO-Afghanistan relationship.  It’s pretty clear to me that either the requirements for the NATO-ISAF role have been filled or they are close to being filled.  There may be one or two minor pieces left.  There have been discussions about expanding NATO’s role in Afghanistan and we expect that there will be some both NATO and probably non-NATO Provincial Reconstruction Teams that will end up being established over a period of time. 

 

            The Chemical and Biological Battalion was created. 

 

            There was some very good discussion and preparation for the Istanbul Summit in preparation for that. 

 

            The issue of the usability of forces, if you think back the discussions here on defense reform over the past years have been resulting in considerable progress with respect to many of the countries undertaking the kind of reforms that are necessary to get the maximum benefit from the national investments that are being made and the collective benefit for the Alliance.  Those reforms are well under way in most countries.  The issue of usability, which Lord Robertson and others have been discussing, is an important one.  Something that, needless to say, we have been discussing in the United States trying to make sure that the forces that exist are in fact deployable and usable because NATO has – what is it?  2.1 million non-U.S.?

 

            AMBASSADOR NICHOLAS BURNS:  2.4

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  2.4 million non-U.S. forces have a relatively low percentage that is actually usable.  Usable in the sense that we are actually talking about that they can be deployed and sustained in any important way.  That has to be fixed and I personally believe that everyone’s attention has been achieved and that the countries are focusing on it and that the leadership in the Secretary General’s chair has been effective on that.  I’m hopeful that when we get to Istanbul that that issue will be front and center among others. 

 

            There was a lot of good discussion today about modernizing the Partnership for Peace program and updating it, adapting it to fit the 21st century.  It has been a very good thing.  It’s a success story without question.  The linkages between the original NATO countries, the Invitees and these partnership nations are something that is good for everybody.  Without question.  It’s good for the partner countries and the discussion reflects that.  But it’s also good for the NATO countries.

 

            We had good discussions on the NATO Response Force and implementing it.  It has been very good progress since it was first proposed…gosh, about a year ago?

 

            AMBASSADOR NICHOLAS BURNS:  A year ago by you in Warsaw.

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Yes, in Warsaw.

 

            AMBASSADOR NICHOLAS BURNS:  September 2002.

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  The NATO-Russia meeting, the NATO-Ukraine meeting and the NATO-Euro-Atlantic partners all were useful in the sense that it keeps connecting the NATO nations with Russia with Ukraine and with non-NATO European countries in a way that is helpful. 

 

            One manifestation of that help is the number of those countries that are helping us in the global war on terror, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  We’ve got very good Allied support in Iraq.  Some I guess 18 of 26 countries now are there.  The ones that are there have I think – I shouldn’t say this – all, most if not all have pledged to stay on to work to sustain their contributions and to not be dissuaded by the fact that there have been some high profile casualties that have been taken by some of the coalition countries. 

 

            We discussed the possibility of a larger NATO role – if you want to go off-the-record on that ….

 

            QUESTION:  (Ivanov meeting)

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  It was short.  It was typical.

 

            OFFICIAL:  (inaudible)

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Oh, okay.  If you want to go back on-the-record.

 

            OFFICIAL:  Please.

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Talked about Georgia.  Did not talk about…I don’t believe that came up.

 

            AMBASSADOR NICHOLAS BURNS:  No.

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  No, it didn’t.  Talked about military to military cooperation.  Talked about the NATO meetings.  Talked about a technical agreement between the two countries that’s been under discussion.  Talked about exercises, missile defense, and various things.

 

            QUESTION:  The question of the leaders of the separatist territories or the separatist states, because they’re in Moscow right now.

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I asked about that.  I don’t know if I should get into the details of this meeting on the record.  But, off-the-record, he said  ….

 

            QUESTION:  Iraq question – reports that Ibrahim Alduri was captured, but there’s no confirmation of that.  Do you know?

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I haven’t heard it.  Has anyone here?

 

            OFFICIAL:  No, sir.

 

            QUESTION:  Because that would be a big capture.

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I just haven’t heard it.  I’ve been in meetings.

 

            QUESTION:  Are you concerned about the influence that some of the leading Shi’ite clerics are having on Iraq in the plan the new U.S. Coalition Authority plan to turn over the sovereignty…

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I would call that a Governing Council plan that the Governing Council and the Coalitional Provisional Authority worked back and forth and ended up with because my understanding is that it was approved by the Governing Council.

 

            QUESTION:  It was.  But there seems to be some opposition coming from the religious leadership…

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  That’s true.

 

            QUESTION:  that has once again thrown in doubt whether or not this will (inaudible)

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Course any issue that goes before our Congress there is opposition to.  There is rarely one hundred percent of everyone agreeing with everything.  It just doesn’t happen in life.  What it will mean and how it will shake up is something that Ambassador Bremer is worrying through, but I can’t prejudge it.

 

            QUESTION:  On Georgia, Secretary Powell today at the OSCE emphasized the importance of Georgia’s territorial integrity.  I was wondering if that was a point you made with Ivanov.

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I did, I believe, yes.  I can’t remember, but I always do.  It’s a subject we do with…

 

            QUESTION:  Any assurances from him, Russia?

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I’m not going to get into that.  It’s not fair to him to have a private meeting and then start pulling out a piece and saying he said this or I said that.  It’s just not the way it seems to me that meetings like that work.  But, obviously, every time the subject comes up about the U.S. position that Colin properly characterized is discussed.


            Did you all go down and go to the demonstration in the Grand Platz on AIDS?

 

            OFFICIAL:  No.

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  You didn’t.  You’re just too tired.  You just couldn’t handle it, (inaudible)?  I’m told there was a big demonstration down there last night.  I wanted to go down and walk around there.  Do you all go down there and look around?  I always enjoy walking around down there.  It’s such a spectacular sight.

 

            OFFICIAL:  What are you doing tonight?

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  I hope to take a walk down there if I can.  I always enjoy it.  And I’m going to have dinner with a Belgian friend.  I hope.  I hope.  Unless something else comes up.  I never know.

 

            What was your reaction to the meetings? 

 

            OFFICIAL:  Kind of dull, but…

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  Dull?  If there isn’t war or something, you’re not happy?  Is that it?  It has not been dull.  It has not been dull.  It’s been interesting.  Those countries around that table are engaged in defense reform, they’re engaged in looking at Europe and trying to figure out how they connect with Europe and they’re wrestling with governmental reform.  They’re wrestling with economic reform.  It is an enormously exciting time for those countries.  And for Europe, larger Europe.  Dull would be the last word in the world that I would pick for what’s happening in terms of the energy and the interest and the difficulty of what’s taking place.  It is really an important set of experiences that they are all going through.  First time we’ve had a non-military minister of defense of Ukraine here.  Ukraine makes this enormous decision (inaudible).  There are big things happening.  This isn’t like watching hair grow.

 

            JOURNALIST:  Was that a bald joke, Mr. Secretary?

 

            SECRETARY RUMSFELD:  You’d have a hell of a time.