Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wow, These are really good Questions

From Condi Rice's press conference today:


QUESTION: Can Mahmoud Abbas really negotiate on behalf of all of his people if he's effectively only representing half of them?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, let's remember that Mahmoud Abbas is the President of all of the Palestinian people through the Palestinian Authority. He is also the head of the PLO. These are the institutions of the Palestinians as a whole. We are focusing today and in the days to come on helping this new government to find its footing and to begin the work, the very difficult work, of making life better for the Palestinian people and that is our focus today.

Yeah, Charlie.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, how will you ensure that the money that goes to the
Palestinians in Gaza gets to the people and isn't siphoned off by Hamas since you obviously have no one there to supervise that?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we have some experience, of course, working with UN relief agencies and with nongovernmental agencies and we will work through UNRWA in this regard. Obviously, it will be very important and we will do everything that we can to make certain that the monies get to the Palestinian people. But we have a long history of working through agencies of this kind.

It's been some time since we had a presence in Gaza in any case. And so we will use many of the same goals -- I would hope that -- as many of the same means. I would certainly hope that the -- that people in Gaza would understand that it is important for the international community to be able to respond to the humanitarian conditions there.


QUESTION: Madame Secretary, Fatah leaders have been corrupt in the past. By resuming aid, do you think that there's a danger that you're propping up a system and leaders that have been proved to be corrupt and a system that has been proved in the past not to work?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, we have been very strong advocates of political reform in the Palestinian political space, including Fatah reform. And that needs to proceed and I'm certain that it will, but I think if you look at this government and particularly, if you look at its prime minister, you see someone who has a reputation for integrity, who has a reputation for having accountability.

I remember when he was finance minister even under the old government when Yasser Arafat was still in power. He was the one who went forward to try and publish the budget on the internet so that people could see transparently what was being spent by the Palestinian Authority. So this is someone who has a reputation for integrity, and I think can be relied on with appropriate controls and appropriate authorities to make certain that funding is used for the good of the Palestinian people.

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