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Rice's Trip To Highlight Importance of Trans-Atlantic Relations

Secretary of state to visit Germany, Romania, Ukraine, Belgium

Posted: December 3, 2005

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] mission.”

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.

For additional information on U.S. policy, see Europe and Eurasia.




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