Washington -- Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice’s upcoming trip to Europe will highlight the
enduring importance of trans-Atlantic relations and U.S.
efforts to partner with Europe to address common challenges
around the globe, U.S. officials say.
Rice plans to travel to Germany, Romania,
Ukraine and Belgium on December 5-9.
In Germany, during her first meeting with
new German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the secretary expects
to talk about Iran, Afghanistan, U.S.-European relations
and U.S.-German relations, according to State Department
spokesman Sean McCormack.
She also expects to talk with Merkel about
how to spread democracy to such countries as Belarus and
about how the United States and Europe can help the Ukrainian
people and the Ukrainian government consolidate the democratic
gains they have realized from last year’s Orange Revolution.
Rice “will be ready to talk to the
Chancellor” about the issue of secretly transported
terrorist suspects if it comes up, McCormack said, just
as she did with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
during his recent visit to the State Department. During
their meeting November 29, Rice assured Steinmeier “that
United States activities comply with all U.S. laws and the
Constitution and that we comply with our international obligations,”
according to McCormack.
In the Ukraine, Rice “is going to
be talking about the importance of the Ukrainian Government
following through on the spirit of the Orange Revolution
and that is to build truly democratic institutions that
engage in good governance, that serve the Ukrainian people,
in essence, consolidating all those gains that they have
realized,” McCormack said. The secretary also plans
to talk with the Ukrainian leadership about ways the United
States can support the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian
government in those efforts, he added.
In Romania, McCormack said, Rice will sign
a defense, security and cooperation agreement with the Romanian
government, as well as continue the dialogue on a broad
range of issues with this important NATO ally.
In Brussels, Belgium, in addition to participating
in a meeting of NATO foreign ministers December 8, Rice
plans to hold bilateral meetings with a number of her European
counterparts. A NATO-Ukraine meeting and a NATO-Russia meeting
are scheduled as well.
“I expect that they are going to talk
about the whole host of alliance issues, emphasizing the
importance of all NATO countries allocating the assets in
their budgets so that they can meet their NATO commitments,”
McCormack said. “I expect they'll talk about Afghanistan;
the issue of deployment of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan
as part of ISAF [International Security Assistance Force]
The secretary will be prepared to discuss
recent reports that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) secretly transported terrorist suspects to locations
in Central and Eastern Europe for interrogation via European
airports, according to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
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